By Lisa Stadler
I know my TMS is working, because the color orange no longer makes me viscerally angry. Yes, colors make me feel things. According to some random online color test I took, once, I have trichromatic vision. This means that my eyes can differentiate shades of colors at a very high frequency. I’m not exactly sure how this might translate in to some kind of life skill, but it might explain a bit about my aversion to orange…and yellow….but not orange yellow…actually, if I am honest, I am really quite picky about colors in general.
Oddly (as if orange making me angry isn’t odd enough), I don’t really notice colors, or remember them correctly. When Zoe was a baby, my then roommate and I were fixing up a house we were getting ready to move in to. Every single day, for two months, we would go and spend at least half a day at this house. When you first walked in, there was a family room that was already painted. I loved the color of that room. One time, we were out to dinner with friends, and the room was brought up in conversation. I said that I loved the paint job in that room , it was textured and I loved the color. Our friend asked what color it was, and I said it was sort of a sea blue. My roommate looked at me like I was crazy. She said, “We’ve been going to that house every day for two months, and you don’t know that the room is hunter green?” I tried to argue with her, but this house belonged to her family and she had helped paint that room when she was a young girl. Then next day she gladly proved to me that the room, was, in fact, hunter green.
For one of the jobs I used to have, we had a chat program that our teams would use to communicate throughout the day. The program granted each of us the ability to choose one of five colors to chat with. There was one teammate who always chose the orange color. She was the nicest lady, but if we were working at the same time, I had to leave the chat out of site because she was very chatty and that orange color made me so agitated that it would affect how I treated others. The job was a phone based customer service job, so feeling angry or agitated was not something I could afford to succumb to. I am sure I could have been seen as “not a team player,” but really, I just hated orange.
Anyway, as I sit and drink my coffee in the quite of the morning, at 6:00 am, on a Sunday, when I don’t have to be somewhere, and I am up before 11 (to be read as, miracles do happen)…I find myself looking at the wall in the living room of my parent’s house. It’s a sort of orangish, salmony color. While I wouldn’t choose it for one of my own walls, it no longer makes me angry or irritated to look at.
This is such a seemingly small thing, but, actually it is pretty major, because I think that my anxiety is subsiding and its absence is demonstrating, to me, what a big part of my life it actually was, and how much it has affected everyone who is connected to me.
Even knowing that anxiety is more than what I had originally thought it was. It isn’t only the nervousness that comes from being afraid of everything, its also irritation and impatience. There have been a few times in the last couple of weeks, where Zoe has looked at me, after having done something kiddish, expecting me to bark at her, and I just shrug my shoulders and say, “ok let’s fix it.”
In fact, a few days ago, I had been teaching her to knit, and she was ready to learn to cast off her project. I sat there and showed her what to do. She didn’t get it. I showed her again. She still didn’t get it. I showed her a few more times. I know I was calm, but right at the point where I would normally get agitated and impatient, Zoe turns to me and says “Why are you getting frustrated with me?” I chuckled, and said, “I really am not. I will be glad to show you again, or if I am frustrating you, I can show you a YouTube video where I learned.” I felt a twinge of guilt, because, although our dance is changing, I have created a pattern that she has had to live with for quite some time. But….I KNOW the TMS is working.
Next post coming on September 7.