The other day I was talking to one of my very best friends about a recent incident that happened at work. Some little thing that blew up into a big thing and is making me quite upset, anxious and angry about my job. I’m not a drama queen. In fact, I hate drama. So when things like this happen I feel compelled to try to make sense of it. Is it me? Is it them? What the hell happened?
I also told my friend, the way I feel these days is reminiscent of when I was younger and had a bad case of cystic ovaries. My hormones were so out of whack that the slightest offense would send me into a rage. You know the feeling: when you can feel your blood pressure skyrocket and all the blood in your body rushes into your face and you start shaking so much you feel like you just want to explode into a screaming rant while throwing expensive and breakable objects against the wall…?
Well, at least she understood. Since she is an ICU doctor on the front lines of the epidemic, I completely believed her when she told me about a thing called “COVID rage.” Apparently, the stress and isolation caused by the pandemic and related quarantine, change of work environment, added responsibilities, anxiety about the future, health and money worries, etc., and so on, can trigger these attacks of anger that are out of proportion to the circumstances that caused them.
I don’t know about you, but the last five months living in quarantine have been painful. As an extrovert, I thrive on the company of people (like-minded, to be sure). All of the things I enjoy (and some that I don’t), I enjoy more when I’m with people. Take eating, for example. For me, eating is a social activity. One of my favorite things to do is go out to eat. Even if it is just me and my husband, being in a place that is buzzing with activity makes me feel better than just sitting at the dining table at home. It is being surrounded by life where people are interacting with each other.
The same is true for me and exercise. I hate exercising at home. It is boring and tedious. It doesn’t matter that you may not talk to anyone at the gym. It is the fact that you can if you want to. My favorite activity is tennis, which, obviously, you can’t play by yourself. It isn’t just good for me physically, it is good for me socially.
Of course, this rage reaction is probably also associated with my age. As I’ve gotten older, I have become much less tolerant of things (like drama). And, as a New Yorker, I am also more apt to express that to whoever is doing the thing that is triggering the rage in me. Yeah, maybe hormones are involved in that, too. I don’t know.
What I do know, is that this kind of stress and anxiety are not good for you, or me.
Perhaps I should heed the advice of my dear doctor friend, get active — exercise to exhaustion so you literally can’t give in to the rage. You are just too damned tired. Of course, for me, exercise is a social thing….
Shit. I’m screwed.