The Spectrum


“So how was this week for you?”

“It was…surprisingly good.  I’ve actually been feeling really normal for the last few weeks.”

“Define ‘normal’.”

“Well…not, you know, crazy.”

“And what is ‘crazy’?”


Therapists.  Always with the questions.


Crazy, meaning manic cleaning sprees and compulsive decluttering (RIP, toys and clothes that I found on the floor in my mad dash to toss anything superfluous), and that overwhelming feeling that my space does not feel ‘right’ and that chair needs to go.  Right now.  I have to throw it away.  There are too many pillows on the couch.  I need them gone.  There’s a plate in the sink WHY IS THERE A PLATE IN THE SINK WHY IS EVERYTHING FALLING APART THE HOUSE IS A MESS I CAN’T TAKE IT

That kind of crazy.

Crazy, like the rootless anger surging just below the surface, searching eagerly for an outlet.  Crazy, like the lighting-quick switch flip that takes me from semi-rational to out-of-control rage, as though some cruel demon has decided to take my body for a spin.  Crazy fists pounding, broken glass.

Crazy.  Pacing the same quick path around the apartment, my mind stuck in a mad monologue that keeps going going going without reprieve.  Crazy, when every sudden movement or sound makes my body tense; when everything seems so loud and someone is talking to me but the words are just filling my head, making no sense, and I can’t remember how to answer.

Crazy–reading the harsh judgment in every gaze I meet, flooding my mind with the invented criticism of others.  My heart beats faster and I go on the defensive, encasing myself in walls because everybody is bitches* today.  Paranoia, convinced that my neighbor thinks I’m a negligent mother and is going to call CPS because one of my children is crying.


And then there’s the other side.  The endless tears with no source but the bleakness that has permeated my mind.  The numb, blind staring–mind unable to cope, body unable to move.  The heaviness, the utter bodily weariness, yet the dread of sleep because the thought of a new day is too much to bear.  The kind of days when the slightest request feels like an impossible demand, and being asked to find a shoe or push a swing can reduce me to tears.  Eating on autopilot, mindlessly munching not because there is any hope of filling the void, but because it’s something to do and doing things is so hard right now.  Knowing how pathetic, how teen-angst all of this sounds on paper, yet feeling so hopelessly lost that it doesn’t matter.

The isolation, feeling lonely so lonely and wishing hoping praying for something, someone, to come and relieve me of this despair. But God is not a genie, apparently, for no midnight caller appears to bring comfort.

And yet, in spite of all that, those days (weeks, months?) of ‘normal’–sad but not immobilized, angry but not out of control–those times when you get to step off the ride and just cruise along for a while…

Those times are glorious.



*’Everybody is bitches’ is my favorite phrase for those days when I just can’t stand to be around people.  It amuses me when little else will.  I want to put it on a t-shirt.



What is your ‘crazy’?


5 thoughts on “The Spectrum

  1. Sometimes my crazy is suddenly feeling anguished because my hair won’t sit flat or my eyeliner is uneven or my arms look fat in this outfit and EVERYONE IS GOING TO NOTICE.

    Sometimes my crazy is questioning Michael’s belief in my intelligence when I mention that hula hooping burns almost as many calories as jogging for the same amount of time and he doesn’t believe me right away. (But I used the internet! Why would you question me? OBVIOUSLY YOU THINK I AM TOO STUPID TO USE THE INTERNET.)

    Sometimes my crazy is taking a single, innocent, offhand statement from a friend or loved one and letting it blow my self-worth the smithereens.

    Sometimes my crazy is an impotent rage when I am so furious with Michael and he doesn’t react the way I want, feeling trapped in the space with him and being unable to control his responses, and lashing out in ugly ways until I am so ashamed of myself I just cry for hours.

    Love you. Goin off the rails on this crazy trainnnnn

  2. My story is slightly different. I am so grateful to be older and to have been able to stabilize and come to terms with my rollar coaster emotions. Much of what you and Emmaline describe is so familiar! The simmering rage that boils over, the tears for no reason, sometimes hours of tears at night, the lashing out at loved ones seemingly out of the blue for no real reason, the endless remorse which brought more tears. And being so sensitive to every thing that you just know that no one likes you, cares about you, that you have no friends, that everyone thinks you are….fill in the blank

    From experience I can tell you that the remorse for those awful emotional days and lashing out will always hurt. And you pray it didn’t permanently affect your loved ones. I had someone take me aside once and attempt to help in a kindly way – he asked me what I thought the problem was. I thought about it, and in desparation I blurted out ” I am hard to live with”. He said, “Then change!” I thought, “how dare he, he has no idea what I am going through and what I am feeling!” I was furious!!

    Now, with perspective and hindsight, I know what he meant. And he was right. I wish I had followed his advice sooner.

    I hope and pray that anyone else dealing with this can find their way clear of it somehow

    • Thank you for your perspective. I, too, would have been furious if someone told me to change! I used to think I would be such an easy person to live with, but I have since learned that is not the case. 🙂 I suppose it is a process of growth for all of us.

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