Sunday Soapbox: Self-Pity

>> Sunday, December 27, 2009

*Steps on Soapbox*

You want to know what irks me more than anything else in the whole world?

Myself when I get all whiny.

There are several reasons for this (for my getting irked, not whining), not the least of which is that, as someone who has been clinically depressed in the past, I know it can readily become a spiral into depression - and it's a long road out of there. And it's a nightmare for those around you. It is also as pleasant to be around as four week old body odor.

It is also easy, when in poor-little-old-me mode, to attack those around you (or exaggerate their actions/lack of actions) and just have a piss-poor perspective in general. When I do that, it's easy to get the wrong idea, like the family I visited wasn't worth the trip - they are or I wouldn't do it as often as I do it. It's laziness more than anything else that keeps me from doing it MORE often, like I should. I'm lucky I have so many relatives as close as they are (no part of the trip was more than a five hour drive away) or have so many remaining. My grandmother's been hanging on for quite some time and I'm lucky to have her. Same with my husband's grandparents, who are utterly charming and a delight.

It's also easy, as I mention every problem I've ever had with my family in the car, to get the notion that it was unmitigated hell. My kids, despite the occasional carsickness, are really good travelers. I've been lucky since none of them have been screamers or bally-hooers. Ever. And the carsickness is a rarity (and we take steps to ensure that). I remember evacuating for Hurricane Rita - 32 freaking hours in the car, often with air conditioning in the blistering hot to conserve gas (and we got down to fumes twice) - they were wonderful and patient and, truthfully, they still are.

If my teenage daughter isn't particularly good company in the car, it has to be noted that she's far in the back and really doesn't have the opportunity. If she complains - and she does - she also takes care of the two kids in the captain's chairs between us and accepts her fate to be relegated to the relatively uncomfortable, remote and hard to get in/out of back seat so we can retrieve her siblings from their baby/booster seats through the sliding doors. And she's pretty content to read and listen to music.

Truth is, I'm the one who was miserable to be around on the trip. I'm the one jealous because I have to drive instead of reading or watching movies or whatever. I got into the mode of feeling put upon and sorry for myself. And, if my husband wasn't the best company, I was definitely the worst. I'd probably want to sleep rather than deal with me, too.

I have a lot to be grateful for, a great deal When I get caught up in my own misery, I lose sight of that, of what I have to enjoy. And sinking into misery, particularly for little reason, is a sure-fire way to keep it going. Rose isn't the only color sunglasses out there, believe me. I'm not alone in spending a bit wallowing in my own pity and sense of ill-usage (sometimes, I think it's a national pasttime), but I can't fix it for any but myself. Since it's self-inflicted, it can only be cured by oneself, usually with a healthy dose of perspective.

Free advice, though, if you think you have it worse than everyone else, take out a prescription for perspective. Chances are, you don't and the one most likely making you the most miserable is yourself. I'm going to fix that in my own case right now.

*Steps off soapbox*


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