Lately, I have been wasting mine. I wake up, and the first few things I do are checking my email, checking Facebook, Quora, visiting forums that I am a member of, and listening to a couple of songs on Youtube.
I have been breaking my own rules for the past couple of weeks. Something really terrible happened… Something I had no control over, and ideally shouldn’t have suffered over. But then, I am not a demi-God, and I do tend to deviate from my own plans from time to time, especially when things get really hard on a personal front.
I won’t say what it was, but just to give you a glimpse into how hard it was for me emotionally, let me tell you what I did. I downed seven bottles of Jack Daniels’ within a period of 24 hours, and this was one day before my flight.
During this drunken phase, I let a lot of people see me bleed (figuratively), wrote drunken emails to people I mustn’t have written to, called up someone who I would have never called when I am that vulnerable, and even issued a death threat to someone. I held this particular someone responsible for my suffering, even though it wasn’t really her fault. She just said, “Make it painless.”
In the last two weeks or so, I have also managed to get myself into a lot of trouble. Legal, as well as physical. I got engaged in a fight with a mob of people. I also got arrested once. Got beat up too.
So it’s not unreasonable to say that the last two weeks have not been the best two weeks of my life.
Having said that, this is GO TIME for me. Which is to say, that the month of February is a very busy month for me every year. From January 1st through May 31st, I work like a man possessed. This is because it’s the best time of the year to get a hold of anyone. It’s the best time of the year to get things moving. It’s the best time of the year to get clients, recruit people, hold events, get deals done, finalize alliances, and grow the business. No one is on a break or vacation during the first five months of the year, and I make the best use of this time.
During June I stop working to take a month long break.
Then from July 1st through October 10th it’s GO TIME again. Once again, this is the time to get everything done, business wise. Then the holiday season starts again. From Thanksgiving right through to New Year’s Eve, something is constantly coming up in people’s lives. Also, in India, there is Diwali, Dussehra and a host of other festivals right around the year end.
So again, form October 11th through December 31st, I stop working. Completely.
And given how all this emotional distress took place during the Go Time, I had to find a way to still keep going.
And I did!
See, it was Sunday, the 17th of February when I got drunk.
And on Monday the 18th I had a flight to catch. Early morning, no less. When I got on that flight, I was still massively hung over. I felt like throwing up. I was also completely dehydrated, and hadn’t slept in almost 60 hours.
Plus I always get sick on flights.
I suffer from a rare brain condition… My right ventricle is disproportionately larger than my left ventricle, and this causes me to have some severely painful headaches from time to time. The doctors tell me there is nothing they can do to treat it. They also tell me to ensure at least 7 hours of good sleep every night. And to stay away from stress at all costs.
Now, stress alone causes me painful headaches. The attack is sudden, and causes a debilitating amount of pain to me. So much so that I often find it unable to move a finger. Everytime I get the attack, I find myself praying to God that I lose consciousness, just to be relieved of the pain. It never happens, though. I never pass out.
This is also one of the reasons why I don’t drink… EVER!
I know that being drunk can trigger an attack.
And so can a flight.
Now, that day I was drunk, AND under a lot of mental stress, AND on a flight AND hadn’t slept in almost 60 hours. I was almost convinced that I would get an attack.
Miraculously, I didn’t.
I made it to my destination without a painful seizure, and I am still in awe as to how that happened.
But as I checked into my Hotel room at Noon, I was still severely distressed. This wasn’t a good condition to be in, considering as how I had less than 18 hours to catch up on my sleep, deal with the Jet Lag (They are the worst when you fly east), deal with my emotions, and prepare a shitload of reports before meeting up with my client next morning.
Trouble was… I still couldn’t get myself to sleep, even though I had been sleepless for almost 72 hours by then. My emotions just wouldn’t let me get to bed. I was restless, and I needed a cure. And I needed it immediately.
In my desperation, I went out.
I know! Crazy, right?
But desperate times call for desperate measures. And desperate I was. Despair deceives the desperate.
I walked into a small coffee shop right outside my hotel, and ordered a cappuccino. It’s funny how when your mind is fixated on something, ANYTHING you do brings back the memories of the object of your fixations.
Cappuccino did just that. The cup arrived, and it was as if it brought a heavy dose of stress with it. I downed it in a gulp, paid for it, and walked out. I went to a local apparel market to buy something for me. They say shopping is therapeutic. “They” are morons. I spent about a hundred dollars on shirts that I will probably never wear in my lifetime. But it seemed to have no effect on me whatsoever.
Then I tried manning up by talking myself into it. I started with some down talk:
“You need to Man Up, little girl!!! You need to take care of your emotions, go to bed, and then take care of business. Period. This is GO time. This is no time for you to act like a silly 14 year old school girl crying over a fight with her BFF. This is time to work out, eat right, sleep, and get to business.”
Suddenly, it struck me. Maybe what I needed was to crush my muscles under a TON of weight.
I immediately went to my hotel room, threw my bags inside, put on my workout gear, and marched straight to the gym.
And for an hour and a half, I crushed myself under those weights. The final few reps of Bench Press were so hard that I was literally roaring. Not groaning… I was waaaaayyyyy past groaning by then. I was literally roaring, and my roars were echoing through the empty gym.
After about 100 minutes of grueling working, I got to my room, fell flat on my bed, and fell asleep. I only woke up next morning at 4 AM.
By this time, I was well rested. The dangers of getting lost in my emotional downswing were too massive to ignore. So I deemed it would be best to start working immediately.
That’s exactly what I did. I hurled myself at work. Six hours and a quick breakfast later, I was at the client’s office. I must confess I wasn’t in my peak form, but still, the day passed rather uneventfully. Thank God for that!
The evening was more difficult though. I was tempted to drink, especially since I had some of the finest brands right in front of my eyes all the time. And I couldn’t get that one tragic event out of my mind. I worked out and worked my muscles to utter soreness. But sleeping wasn’t as easy. I had to take a pill.
The next day it was just the same.
It actually went on for the entire week. I would wake up, hurl myself at working, go to the office, get to the hotel in the evening, and be tempted to drink. Then, I found myself unable to sleep.
At the end of the week, I knew something had to be done.
See, the trouble was that I was hurt. Or that I was angry. This anger needed a channel. I couldn’t allow myself to swallow the anger and become massively depressed. I couldn’t do anything to deal with it as assertiveness had failed. So it had become pretty clear that my needs would NOT get met. I was low on emotional well-being, and I was completely alone. Normally I never have trouble finding friends to be with, but I was in no condition to go out and socialize.
The anger was seething just beneath the surface, and it had reared its ugly head a couple of times when the client argued with me. I found it pretty hard to stay calm and act rationally.
And it appeared that there was nothing I could do about it.
The best way to deal with it is to get your needs met. And the way to get your needs met is through channeling that anger into assertiveness.
But assertiveness had failed me this time, and I was low on well-being. Which is to say, that it had become obvious my needs would not be getting met.
The other way to deal with anger is to swallow it, and what that does is make you depressed. This much anger would have caused a massive amount of depression, and I just couldn’t let that happen to me.
The other bad way to deal with anger is to let it out on someone. Or something. And seeing as how my condition was worsening day-by-day, I had to let it out. Crushing my body under the weights at the gym wasn’t doing it. I even went to an empty rooftop and shouted my lungs out. Didn’t help much.
I needed to kill!
And I needed to kill fast!
Here’s what I did.
On Saturday, I bought an old sofa from someone who was selling it cheaply. I bought a sword, a heavy metallic sword. I rented an empty workshop for a day. All this took less than $100.
I went into the workshop, and took my anger out on the sofa. I literally smashed it to pieces. With the sword in my hand, I tore that thing apart. I let it all out. I shouted, yelled obscenities, roared, and tore it apart. Gave up on the sword after a while, and started tearing it with my bare hands.
The next thing I knew, it was already evening. I had destroyed that sofa (and that sword), had torn it apart, cried my eyes out and passed out. When I woke up, it was past 7 PM, and I felt SO RELIEVED.
It was as if a massive burden had been lifted off. Like I had been carrying a mountain of stress in my brain, and that I had set it down somehow.
Everytime you are angry and your needs don’t get met, your anger gets bottled up somewhere. In my case, a few things had gone wrong simultaneously, and my usual method of being assertive to get my needs met wasn’t working.
The poor sofa had to bear the brunt of my brute anger. But it let me channel my anger out. As I woke up, the world seemed to have refreshed itself. Like a computer program, everything seemed faster and more responsive. I found myself smiling first time after almost 10 days of continuous frowning. And as I walked out, and took the Skytrain to get back to my hotel, many people saw me, and smiled back.
It was like regaining my mojo.
I came back, had a hearty dinner and went to my bed.
Babies don’t sleep that well!
Since then, I have been slightly relaxed, even though this is GO TIME. I have not been working hard, and I have been taking very good care of myself. My body, my emotional state etc.
I have made quite a few friends in the last six or seven days. I have also managed to impress myself at multiple occasions on the professional front.
Now, it’s still early morning as I write this, and I have been up for nearly an hour and a half. I am still in Bangkok.
My life is now back on track.
I have been working out and eating right. I am very happy and relaxed. I am writing after almost 20 days. (Yes, all those blog posts were written well in advance and scheduled for a month. This one is not going to be scheduled, though. This one will be published right away.)
Tomorrow morning, I will start working full steam ahead. Just like I do during the GO TIME. Especially now that I am completely healthy and have recovered almost completely from that traumatic and tragic experience. It took me two whole weeks to get my life back in order.
Yet, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Firstly, because it gave me clarity.
I now know what I need to do.
It is rather unfortunate that I cannot share the details of what happened, and what I will do next. At least not yet. Maybe 10 years from now, I will write about it. Actually I HAVE written about it, but I am not publishing it right now. Maybe I will publish it in the future. Won’t be the near future though.
Secondly, and more importantly, it taught me a very valuable lesson.
Not someone, but some THING.
Let it all out. Spend a little money. Buy an old article, preferably wooden. And get breaking. Destroy it to pieces. That sofa was destroyed to such an extent that if you could see it when I walked out, you wouldn’t know those were the remains of a sofa.
Anger management is important. Be smart, and don’t bottle your anger inside. And be smarter than me, in that don’t take it out on a person. I tried to take it out on people, and got beat up and arrested as a consequence. Don’t repeat my mistake. I know I won’t.