I have a bad temper. I lose it on a fairly regular basis and end up ranting at people who may or may not have anything to do with my anger. I’ve always had this temper, according to my parents. Apparently when I was little, maybe 6, and participated in a kind of cute little kid beauty contest, I made a face and angry animal sound at the audience because they laughed at me. According to my mom, they laughed because they thought I was cute. Whatever the reason, I’ve never liked being laughed at since.
Maybe I could assume my parents’ stories of my temper were exaggerated, but there’s this video of me in South Dakota when I was 8. We were at one of those big slides, the blue ones where there are rows of slides all connected. One end has the slowest slide, the other end has the fastest, and the ones in the middle range in between. I’ve never liked going down big steep slides. They scare the hell out of me because I just feel like I could catch air going down and fly right out of them.
So I took the slowest slide. There were kids whooshing past me on all the other slides. I think a couple might have passed me more than once while I was drifting down my snail slide. Maybe it only seems that way now, when I remember it 21 years later. If it weren’t for that video, I wouldn’t remember this at all.
Once I got to the bottom, my mom, who was holding the camcorder, made some kind of comment about me and the slow slide. It involved laughing, and I did the face and angry animal sound again. Proof that I did, indeed, have the temper they told me about. I kind of scare myself when I watch it now. How does an 8-year-old have such a bad temper? But I did. And still do.
The last few days have been aggravating for me. My husband has a chronic disease that involves expensive prescription medicine. He was running low, and about two weeks ago started the process of getting his prescription transferred to a new pharmacy. He also has new insurance, so there was some big snafu about how we didn’t cancel our old insurance (even though we did) and how the new was showing up as secondary and blah blah blah, the end result being that the pharmacy wouldn’t charge our new insurance.
But, they reassured me when I explained how my husband needs this medicine to not go into a coma, I can always buy a vial without insurance if it’s that bad. It’s only $707.
We got it all worked out yesterday after spending hours on the phone with our new insurance, old insurance, prescription insurance, and the pharmacy, but I lost my shit before that happened. Day before yesterday I had a meltdown in the pharmacy. “Meltdown” for me can be either an emotional meltdown, which involves a lot of crying, or an anger meltdown, which involves ranting at people who may or may not have anything to do with my anger, as mentioned at the start of this post.
This anger meltdown may have been my worst ever. Ranting wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to break something. As I was leaving the pharmacy, I kicked over some cans of Raid on a shelf. I’ve never done anything like that in my life, and I’m ashamed of it. How childish and rude. The pharmacy tech who ran after me and told me off, the man I’d been angry with, didn’t have to clean that up. An employee of the store had to do it, a woman who had absolutely nothing to do with the whole thing. My temper tantrum made her day worse, and she did nothing to deserve it.
I’ve tried so many times to control my temper. I’ve made promises to my husband that I’ll be better in the future. I think having the baby has helped calm me down, but this was different. I thought my husband was going to have to go to the ER to get his medicine, something that we would not have been able to afford. I was terrified that something was going to happen to him because we couldn’t afford to get him treatment. I suppose at that point you just do it and worry about the bills later, but it shouldn’t happen that way.
Still. That’s no justification for the way I acted. Our system is so screwed up that we couldn’t get medicine that we had a prescription for, even though we have health insurance and the pharmacy had everything they needed, because of some dumb computer glitch that no one wanted to take responsibility for. That makes me so angry that when I think about it I almost start ranting again, even just sitting here at my computer on a calm, quiet Friday morning. But I need to learn to control it, before I get myself arrested or something.
If I focus too much on the things that make me angry, I get overwhelmed to the point where I want to kidnap my husband from work and take him and our baby and go to some forest, or the mountains, or a desert and hide where no one will be able to find us for a good long while, until the urge to scream at everyone who pisses me off goes away. That’s probably not a very healthy feeling, but it’s one I get every few months. Or maybe once a month. The frequency depends on how many things are triggering my crazy button.
I’m sure the desire to get away from everything strikes everyone every now and then. It strikes me so often that I wonder if I’ll ever just settle and be happy. Harnessing my temper is probably the best place to start. So I’m making those promises again that I’ll work on it, that I’ll just calm down when I get angry, that I won’t let myself get carried away, that I’ll stop before the ranting can kick in and take over my brain.
Maybe it’ll work this time. After all, I’m almost 30. I’m an adult now. Responding to stress the same way I did when I was 6 is not really okay. And those poor cans of Raid. They don’t deserve my wrath.