June 01, 2013

The Return of That Mild Funk

I've felt a flatness, a malaise, a blandness in my days. That's what's been haunting my gut for the past couple of weeks. It's the feeling that things just aren't that great anymore, that I'm not able to deal with my job, or I might drop the ball.

Gradually, these feelings morph into the worry that maybe I've painted my life into a corner; that maybe the future will only look as good as it does today, and nothing better will come.

This is not how I think I should feel. I think I should be happier. It's not how I want to be. I want to be positive, capable, and confident, and I also want to be able to inspire those feelings in the people around me.

But, when you're in a funk like this, you just can't give a shit about that sort of idealism. When I get up in the morning, I check my face, and I take sensory inventory of stiffness or little creaks and pains. Some funks seem to be brought on by lack of adequate sleep, or a virus that's trying to burrow into my cells (and one tends to bring on the other).

Sometimes the funk is stress-related. Like a time years ago, when I worried about my job situation, my sister's worry about cancer, and a friend's addiction to crack. I had no control over any of those situations, and one night my mind responded by giving me a cold, black feeling, like I was teetering on the edge of an endless cliff. I felt all care and worry in me disappear, replaced with an icy emotionless void. I watched my thoughts and went to the fridge and got a beer, and then to my computer and tried to put into a google search what I had just felt. I came away with the words "mini nervous breakdown". I finished my beer, played with one of my cats, and laid on the floor for a while until I felt sleepy.

My Mother had been bi-polar, and I believe had at least one or two nervous breakdowns. There's some other mild and manageable mental illnesses in my family. Depression is the one that is closest to me, even if in my case, it is fairly mild. Physical health and natural environment can affect emotions too: rainy days can give me headaches (barometric pressure?), and being overweight or not getting enough exercise can reduce the endorphins I enjoy, making my brain a less happy place.

But this week has taken a positive turn: I'm reassured in my abilities and my future, I'm more rested, and I'm not feeling as isolated or stressed. I had an opportunity to counsel and console a friend who was suffering, and recent news from my beloved sister was also very positive and upbeat. It caused me to feel stronger and more optimistic. I truly believe that this is now my natural mode of being.

Emotional states really do rise and fall like the tides.

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