I want to be real with everyone: I am not perfect.
I know… shocking, isn’t it?! I kid, I kid…
But I do want to talk about an incident I had the other day while running an errand with my family. My husband was driving, I was relaxed in the passenger seat, and my daughter was content in the back. After a few minutes, before we get to a major intersection, an ambulance rounds the corner, and we do the mandatory slow down and move toward the edge of the road in order to stay out of the way of the emergency vehicle.
I see my husband throw his hand up at the driver behind us because apparently he was tailgating us, annoyed that we were slowing him down. At this point, I have no reaction, really. I have no reason to. AND THEN. The guy speeds up in the right hand turn lane, and gets next to us. He shoots us a nasty look (I can’t remember if he said anything) but I give him the finger. That probably should have been the end of it. But, no.
The guy gets mad, and rolls down his window to say something, and I do the same. Words were exchanged. Nasty words. The worst of the worst cuss words. I dropped the C U Next Tuesday word, if you know what I mean. IN FRONT OF MY DAUGHTER. And I was the PASSENGER. I wasn’t even driving!
My daughter immediately gets super upset and yells at me to “NEVER DO THAT AGAIN!” while holding back tears. I am surprised at myself. In my moment of anger toward this man, I completely forget that my young daughter was in the backseat; I was too busy seeing red. I begin to apologize profusely to my daughter and husband. And I cry for the next hour.
I cry because I am disappointed in myself for setting such a nasty example for my daughter. I cry because I feel like my husband is embarrassed. But mostly I cry because that is not the person I want to be. It’s not the person I am most of the time. I preach to my child often about kindness. I talk with her about the appropriate ways to convey our emotions. I truly try to live my life by the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
I strive everyday to be happy, to be grateful, to be kind, to be patient. But I fail. And during that moment, I felt like I failed big time.
I’ve told my friends about what happened, and most of them just laughed it off or told me not to be too hard on myself. I’m trying to be gentle with myself, and make an effort to find better ways to control my anger and impatience. I talked with my daughter and explained that what I did was not okay, that people get angry sometimes, but I should have reacted differently, especially since she was with me.
I am on medication for depression and anxiety, and it is supposed to help with these type of uncontrollable emotional moments, but it is clear that my particular medication isn’t working. On top of exercise, meditation, writing, me time, and social time, I will talk with my doctor about trying something new. I am not ashamed one bit of this mental illness, only of the times that I react in a way that I don’t want to. But I will keep trying to do better.
Can you relate? Ever had a moment of road rage? Do you suffer from mental illness? I’m a big proponent for real, shameless, positively-directed talk about mental illness and its side effects. Sharing is welcome here.