23 February 2015

More About Tailspins

It was way back in June 2014 that I last wrote a piece on emotional 'tailspins'. Here is the original link. At the time I promised you a follow-up, so here it is!

One of the triggers that precede 'tailspin' incidents in me (times where my emotions start going awry) is a high degree of overwhelming input. Far too much happening in too short a time, too many moments of high drama, and insufficient time between incidents to effectively work my way through it. I start becoming increasingly insular, starting patterns of social isolation (I start finding excuses to keep away from people) because it's just too painful to take any more input! Prevent me from getting some quality 'me time' and pretty soon I start to 'tailspin'.

One of the things that I've been trying to do in the past few years is to try and identify what’s happening to me before it becomes a problem; before I start hitting that emotional 'tailspin'. It's often a question of continual self-examination: How am I really feeling? Why can't I admit that to others? And so on...

Knowing My Limits
Pushing a boundary or two in my calendar is not an unfamiliar thing. I can sometimes fit in something else, even on a busy day, so why not? Emergencies happen, I just have to deal with them. The difficulty comes when things are already a bit manic, when things just get a little too much to handle. I want to say no (as much for self-preservation as anything), but it's not possible without letting someone down that I care about.

On such days, I end up feeling drained, overtired, ratty. Sure, I pat myself on the back, I've made it through, it's the end of the day - however, tomorrow's coming. A brief respite, at least. Then the problem is knowing how long is enough for me to recharge. It varies so much - particularly on those times when I'm keeping some wierd hours. I know what is normal for me, but it is getting tougher to judge if that week has been unsettled, with too many extras.

On extreme days, when my need for periods of solitude becomes vital, I'll end up doing a few things that are quite out of character for me - ignoring phone calls, running away from people's requests, finding any and all opportunities to retreat from personal contact. The fear is those desperate attempts at vital solitude will soon become out-and-out isolation. I'll end up a hermit!

Stopping the Spiral
I am aware that I need to break out of such a cycle. 'No' doesn't work very often (ever tried it?), but there are other ways. Prayer is particularly effective for me. Maybe it’s forcing yourself just to go for a walk to the shops, something a colleague once called a 'microholiday'. Meeting up with a friend for coffee - provided that there is no ulterior motive...

Do something, whatever it takes for stop, and reverse the 'tailspin' spiral.

Comments welcomed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Colin,

I've recently said 'No' to something and I feared the worst. I thought the others involved would turn on me and try to make me feel guilty.

Instead, they took it on the chin and thanked me for being candid with them. Within a short space of time they began to formulate plans B, C and D etc.

I hope this helps.

Good Wishes.

The Artful Dodger.