by Giselle Renarde
I'm much more patient than I used to be. Much less irritable, too.
something happened earlier in the week that really set me off: my
computer started acting up. Maybe you can relate. There's something
about electronic devices not doing what they're supposed to do that's
I can handle a lot of intense
stuff pretty calmly. I have certification (albeit lapsed) in crisis
prevention and intervention. Does that mean I never have out-of-control
moments myself? Nope. I had one just a couple days ago. We'll get to
Last week I was at Michael's (the craft store)
when a man burst through the door screaming and swearing. Customers RAN
from this person, who was obviously in crisis and perhaps has mental
health issues. While he screamed that he'd lost his towel and he was
having a very bad day, a staff member asked if she could help him. She
spoke clearly and casually, without a hint of fear and without that
demeaning therapist voice people sometimes use when they don't know what
The man asked for a product the store
didn't carry (not a towel, by the way). The staff member made a
suggestion about where he might find it, which inflamed the man because
he'd already been there. He shouted about all the stores he'd visited.
Nobody had what he needed.
The staff member listened
without rushing him or interrupting. She eventually suggested a store he
hadn't tried, and he left without escalation. The situation was handled
extremely well. When you're speaking with a person in crisis, things
can go really bad really fast. Here, they didn't.
Around the same time, my computer started acting up. Slowing down. Not responding.
Annoying, right? I'm no expert, but I
couldn't figure out what the problem was. I started running scans. Scan
after scan after scan. Nothing seemed to be working. The solutions I
implemented to resolve my possible problems only exacerbated them.
can't remember exactly what set me off. After five days of getting
zero work done because all my energy was going into resolving this
issue, I had a bit of a mental health event myself. The helplessness of
not being able to fix my stupid little problem culminated in an
explosion of screaming, swearing, crying, rocking, and punching myself
in the head (a new one, for me). I'd lost my towel. I was having a very
It was a true crisis moment, brought on by... computer problems?
When I was a teenager, I remember a teacher trying to warn me off my ex because he'd once kicked the crap out of a photocopier.
something about technology. It brings out my inner rage in a way
humans never can. I used to have a printer that could provoke similar
reactions, though never as intense as this event. This was a bad one.
I've never hit myself before. That was new and painful and actually
My computer's still not working properly.
Mostly, programs randomly choose not to respond for reasons that remain a
mystery. When this happens, I get up and walk away and do something
else for a minute. I know I have to take a breath and distract myself
or risk another meltdown.
A close friend suggested
seeking professional help, meaning an IT person. That made me laugh,
because when my girlfriend made that same suggestion she was talking
about a healthcare professional.
I think they're both right.