My eyeshadow came out exactly how I wanted it to today.
I was so angry earlier today that I was stabbing a pile of paperwork with my letter opener in order to keep my voice even while talking to a colleague on the phone who was being wildly unreasonable. You might be giggling to yourself reading this, thinking "Gosh, I wish I could get away with that when I was cranky!" Thing is, it's not particularly funny from the inside. I can't actually get away with it as such - people do freak out. I have had coworkers scurrying out of my way all day since then, and no one will meet my gaze. They'll forget eventually, and go back to treating me like I'm normal, because they can shed moods and memories like they shed outfits. But I really, truly, couldn't help myself. I had no choice. I was so, SO angry, that it was a matter of stabbing something until the conversation was over or letting words out of my mouth that would get me fired.
Days like today I'm pretty jealous of people who are able to shrug off moods and emotions if they're not helpful. I can't always do that. Some days a mood takes hold of me and clings with sharp claws and leathery tentacles and simply will not be moved. If it's an angry mood, like today, it feels as if something vicious and bloodthirsty has taken over my mind, and it spends all day trying to get my body to do what it wants. I catch myself curling my lip like a growling dog if I relax too much. Getting anything done apart from getting through the day without hurting anyone is so hard it sometimes feels impossible. It takes almost all the energy I have to stop my fists from bunching into angry balls, and I actually have to consciously focus on keeping my jaw as relaxed as possible because otherwise I will bite my tounge and cheeks raw and give myself a migraine from clenching. Everything said to me that could possibly be taken in anything approaching a negative way gives me an almost uncontrollable urge to snap, "What do you mean by THAT!?"Everyone is infuriating, and the little stupid things that people everywhere do every day - not getting back to me in a timely manner, speaking to me as if I'm stupid, making things my job that aren't my job - all pile up instead of being shucked off like the mental debris they are. It's a similar state to depression in that nothing positive can penetrate the horrid, hard cocoon that builds up around me. The people around me are very good about attempting to cheer me up, and when I'm depressed this can sometimes melt the sad into something that will drip off me eventually. But when I'm furious, their tentative, frightened smiles just make me want to bite their hands off. Eventually it builds up until I just want to tear the people around me into little fucking pieces.
I can't trust what my brain tells me on days like these. Whenever I hear
people whiffling about "trusting your instincts," I can't help but
cringe a little inside. No one wants me to trust the instincts I have on
days like these. It's pretty disorienting, knowing your brain is lying
to you, but not being able to get out of it either. Days like these I
need an interpreter - I can't express myself the way my instincts tell
me to, because then I would be a) out of a job and b) have even less
friends than I already have. Once I notice a mood like this settling in,
I have to work from the assumption that if I WANT to say something, I SHOULDN'T.
This mood is much more dangerous than when I'm depressed - depression just settles over me and makes me useless, quiet, and sad. Useless, certainly, but at least I'm subdued. These furious moods can create havoc if I don't keep a handle on it. If I let the wrong words out, let a little too much fury leak into my tone, I can be dealing with the consequences for weeks. Living in a mood like this requires such total self control I often come home with sore muscles in my hands and jaw from holding them still all day. I find myself talking in an unfamiliar voice, deliberate and low and steady, like someone soothing a child. I have to concentrate on making words come out properly, because my jaw is so tense I have to consciously make my mouth form the shapes needed to express myself intelligibly. I start walking with my hands behind my back, because when they're tucked away like that, I don't have to worry about them clenching obviously.
You're probably wondering what on earth this has to do with my eyeshadow, and that's a fair question. Apart from concentrating on keeping my jaw as relaxed as possible, and keeping my fool mouth shut, the other thing that helps on days like these where I can't just lock myself away from possible victims is noticing the little things. Not in the trite greeting card sense - I mean really deliberately and carefully noticing. I did a course of mindfulness therapy a couple of years ago, and the habits I picked up from this are the only mind tricks that help sometimes. My favourite mindfulness mind trick is to pick something small, insignificant, that makes me smile, and concentrate on it - I try and find just one thing I can be happy with, and concentrate on it as hard as I can until the din in my mind dies down a little. It helps if the thing has no particular purpose, but to be pretty. If it has a purpose, then it can be good or bad at what it's supposed to do. It can be not doing what it's supposed to do as well as it could - it can be dissapointing. But if it's something that exists to be pretty, and it is pretty, then it's so entirely successful at what it's meant to do that even my ultra negative brain can't hate on it.
Today, this thing was my eyeshadow. My day is shit, and I still want to tear everyone's faces off. But my eyeshadow looks great. It's sitting exactly how I wanted it to, and the colours compliment each other perfectly. It changes in the light when I move my head, from green to blue to purple, little flashes of mica sparkle. It's beautiful, and simple, and exactly how I want it to be. It doesn't make my mood go away - the monster is still howling for blood in the back of my mind. But by filling my mind with gorgeous blue and green specks of colour, I can push the monster back far enough that I can think straight, and get through the day.