moody overwork and guilt

"candid" armslength?
Originally uploaded by Liz Henry.

When I’m stressed and moody like this I worry that I’m not being a good parent or good for, good to, anyone around me… I’m either working hard or I’m stressing about working hard or I’m desperately pursuing relief from all of that.

Then I drift over to Moomin to play some parcheesi… and try to mask my guilt and how antsy I am to get back to work on my project. 20 minutes later I’m back at my desk.

I keep telling myself it’s temporary, but what if it’s not? What if ambition and love of work means that I will never quite change gears back out of this frame of mind?

I want to eat chocolate and curl up in bed or in the sun, and read Pern books, and burst into tears for no good reason…

That makes me think about moods. For example, is it good in general for me to be communicative about them? I operate on the theory that if I’m like this, it’s good to warn Rook and say that I’m moody and stressed and he should avoid me for a bit. But is that a good thing? What if really… I’m always saying that? Or what if it’s like I’m asking for a free pass to be an asshole, because I’m in a mood?

I do notice when other people do this. Especially with anger. When other people make a big point of warning me they’re angry and about to get angrier, that can be okay, but often is a red flag that they’re about to act like a complete jerk and they expect to be absolved from it. It’s also a threat, that they want you to know their anger is dangerous and you have to tiptoe around it. That’s not right.

On the other hand, sometimes my own mom would get in a state where it seemed like the rules changed. And there was “friend-Mom” who was in a good mood and there was one set of really slack rules for that. But the same behavior would not cut it, if she were stressed, tense, had a headache, etc. And it took me a long time as a kid to figure that out. So I have actually tried to explain to Moomin that I’m working extra hard and can’t play so much, and marked the end of my project on the calendar.

“Moods” and stress to me are not an excuse… they are a sign that something is wrong and needs adjusting in my life. So I’m accepting this mood and this slight craziness until my thesis is done, but after that, I am going to make sure I don’t keep pressuring myself and that I spend more time relaxing with Moomin and Rook and Chula.

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