In a Bad Mood? Throw a Fit!

Start every day off with a smile and get it over with. W. C. FieldsI knew as I was writing yesterday’s blog post about laughter, that I was only telling half the truth. I wasn’t lying when I said that I often turn to laughter with friends or a funny movie to pull me out of a bad mood. But, what about those times when being smack dab in the middle of a nasty mood is exactly where I want to be?

It all goes back to something I learned in my yoga class, “Be where you are.” As cancer survivors, we’ve been worried, afraid, lonely, stressed, and just plain burnt out. That’s a lot of emotion to carry around. It’s exhausting and sometimes it’s just impossible to climb out of cancer’s hole.

One day, I had to replace a florescent bulb in the light fixture in my closet. I took the cover off the fixture, changed the light bulb, but for the life of me couldn’t get the cover back on the fixture. I tried and I tried every way I could think of, but the darn thing just wouldn’t go back on. I got more and more frustrated, until suddenly I picked it up over my head and smashed it onto the floor. It was like everything was moving in slow motion as I watched it explode into a million little pieces.

I can’t say that I felt better, because I shocked myself. I also knew I would have to clean up the mess and was now without a cover for the light fixture. But, something inside me was deeply satisfied. It was that part of me that had been holding back, doing whatever was necessary to get through the day. It was that part of me that kept me from crying, yelling or being impolite to others who just didn’t get it. It was that part of me that kept me from actually punching the technician who handled my first mammogram after my mastectomy.

I don’t usually smash things to the floor. I’m not even much of a yeller. Not that I am a shrinking violet, but this was about something more than simply acting out:

The thing about kids is that they express emotion. They don’t hold back. If they want to cry, they cry, and if they are in a good mood, they’re in a good mood. Eddie Murphy

When my daughter was a toddler, she threw glorious fits. As a new parent I was perplexed as to the best way to handle her. I knew not to give in and simply hand her what she wanted, but what did that leave? I turned to the books of Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, a renowned pediatrician, whose advice was clear and comforting. Leave her alone (but safe) and let the fit run its course. Once the fit had passed, hug and reassure her that she is safe. It always worked. (Amazon associates link.)

Usually, I act like an adult and control my bad moods, lest they offend or upset others. Normally, I see the wisdom in not throwing fits. But once in a while, you just shouldn’t hold back. Once in a while, as an adult going through cancer, the right thing to do is to throw a fit.

Have you ever thrown a fit during your cancer experience? How did it make you feel? Were you remorseful, or did you feel satisfaction?

Survival > Existence,


Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos



Renn's picture

Just go with it!

I was overdue for a fit-throw but had one last week. I got mad at my husband for something that really only required a level-headed response back, but I lost it and found myself yelling my reply. I felt this strange power… and so I yelled my next response, and the next. Incredibly, he did not react to me. He responded calmly. He realized I just needed to get “it” out. Eventually I stopped. But man, did that feel good! I was *really* overdue. I don’t recommend yelling at a spouse, but sometimes you have to “just go with it.”

Debbie's picture

It Does Feel Good, Doesn’t It?

Hi Renn:

That’s exactly how I felt when I threw the light fixture onto the floor. I couldn’t help but go with it, it overtook me. You’re husband is a very understanding man!

Survival > Existence,


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