In the world of cinema, dynamite is set off with a nice long fuse. Be it a trail of gunpowder that gets shot during an action scene (The Mask of Zorro), or a rope / cable made of something flammable set to light by a match (in the manner of Wile E. Coyote), there is generally sufficient time for the audience to sort out what the problem is before everything gets blown to high heaven.
Before I had a baby, I had that kind of fuse. It wasn't an especially long one, but it smouldered in a helpfully cartoonish way so that people within range of the impending explosion could set about the work of either diffusing the situation or running away to safety.
My fuse has changed. I'm on a hair trigger now, with a system that easily and silently overloads, more like the electrical system in an old house than a package of TNT. Ask for just one volt more than I can give and there's a violent bang before everything is plunged into darkness. I blow up and shut down, becoming completely uncooperative and unhelpful, leaving others to struggle in the chaos. My company now comes with a risk of emotional electrocution -- the burning sting of expressed but uncensored thought.
I hate reacting like this to the world, and to the people who share my world. Ben gets the worst of it, as is tragically the case with those we love most of all. My brain is definitely the messiest part of our marriage, and while we've been coping passably until recently, things are getting worse.
So, I'm getting help.
My team of family doctors is keeping an eye on my body and blood, my professional counsellor is walking me through some of my internal drama, and as of yesterday, I also have a psychiatrist who has suggested I introduce medication to treat what he has confirmed is a Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). When my doctor suggested this diagnosis two years ago, she used the phrase "a mild case." No such wording was applied during my two-hour consultation yesterday.
When my baby wakes up from his nap, I'm going to take a long walk down to my local pharmacy and fill a prescription for a drug called Cipralex. In colloquial terms, I was told that it should feel "like a warm blanket for your soul. It will help you move from ready-fire-aim to ready-aim-fire, emotionally." I so need that. I need my fuse back, and I (and those around me) need a bit more warning before the shrapnel starts flying. I hope this is a positive change for all of us.
And I hope that saying so openly will help you to be gracious with me -- and with others around you who seem irrationally / erratically irritable. Maybe they have more going on inside their heads than they can handle; maybe they are fighting down their anger and trying to spare you from harm; maybe it's just been one hell of a day. Lead with mercy, love your people.
And yeah, if you need them? Take your meds.