Saturday, 1 March 2014

Emotions ... Friend or Foe?

Dear neighbors,

My name is Dianna, and I live on the eighth floor.  I live upstairs from you, yes I think you've seen me before. If you hear sniffling in the lift, if you see tears like there's some kinda fight.  Just don't ask me what it was.  Please don't ask me what it was ....  my words can't tell you ... what it was.

I grew up somewhat emotionless.  I mean, I think I was a happy kid.  But I was apparently too busy loving animals and being outside.  I'd ride my bike up the side road looking for a horse to buy, sometimes further than I've every been.  LOTR Samwise Gamgee's moment where he stood at the furthest place he'd ever been from the Shire-his home-resonated with me.... so many years later.  But I didn't hug a lot, and mum used to tease me that I was so "cold".  In fact, now that I think of it, there's a bit of a pattern with me not expressing myself.  For instance, and sorry sisters to have to repeat this once again, but my sisters found a way to make me hug them when I refused.  I remember one such time where we were at the top of the stairs of my parents' 175 year old house.  For whatever reason, they wanted a kiss.  And for whatever reason, I hated giving them because I had a thing about saliva.  So they told me that I was adopted and that mommy and daddy didn't love me ... until I broke down in tears and hugged them.  Boohoo ... woe is me eh?  Maybe I was just stubborn.  To this day, I'll give almost anything to you.  But if you demand it, that all changes.  Makes me wonder what makes a kid huggy and what makes a kid aloof?  Are they born that way?  Or does that develop at random on it's own?

My early twenties saw me begin my journey with antidepressants.  I know depression is real, because I remember feeling it even in grade school.  Some days I was just 'off'.  And my bff Dina was such a good friend.  I feel like I treated her badly at times in the midst of my depression. But I felt different than everyone else.  I felt watched.  I felt at times the same hopelessness that I've felt in adulthood.  If I needed therapy, it was to see that there are more than one way to be.  And how I felt was okay.  It was what it was.

But the meds flat-lined my emotions for me.  Instead of feeling that hopeless drowning sorrow for no real reason, I'd feel fine all the time.  Just fine though.  Not great.  Never great.  Just fine.  And fine definitely is better than hopeless.  And thus you see how easily the cycle perpetuates.

I recently read about the power of the placebo affect and just how powerful that is.  It's immensely powerful. Yet we too often forget why.  I remember working 40 hours a week at a cell phone call center.  I smoked cigarettes and couldn't even think about quitting those while working there.  It was not a great experience for me.  I was on two kinds of antidepressants at the time and I finally had coverage through work.  Just having that full bottle of pills made my blood pressure stabilize, and made me feel like I had all the tools I needed to survive this month.  Yep .... just survive.  The placebo affect is huge because our brains and the power they wield over this hulk of a body is ... huge-mongous.  You doubt me?  Just think about the erection.  One thought can cause a whole organ to salute the flag.  That's power people.

For the last five years or so I've been medication free and seeing a striking difference.  The cold emotionless-ness I used to feel is gone.  Now I am overflowing with emotion.  Those tear-ducts that barely worked when I was younger, get a workout almost every single day.  Can we get a happy medium here?  Or ... what is medium?  I mean, if there are so many ways to be, how can we even know what the median is?  Maybe it's perfectly fine to cry at talent shows and touching tv commercials, at flash mobs and live music events. When I see strangers showing love to strangers I'm toast.  And maybe that's okay.  Maybe it's okay to get pissed right off when you see inequality and fukkery going on.  It feels more than okay.  It feels like a force I cannot stop.  I'm the Wolverine and these emotions are my blades and no matter how hard I squeeze my eyes and clench my jaw, the tears slide out in slow mo almost as though to prove that I am now and forever powerless to control them.  And maybe that's okay.

We've been molded to connect tears with sadness.  But for me it's almost the opposite.  A child singing like an angel grabs my heart and squeezes the emotions out.  An Olympian who pauses to help his competitor get up sends some kind of feeling into my sinuses and my throat, and I'm powerless.  Tears are not necessarily sadness but emotion.  The uni-browed Scottish lass who sang like Julie Andrews weakened my knees.  A while back I was really struggling with this all.  I thought, if I'm so all-loving and one-love preaching, then why does the expression of love make me cry?  But I was seeing it wrong.  Tears are emotion in physical form.  Sometimes space is limited and out they come.

So ... not sure I solved this one folks.  Not sure I've proven whether these vast emotions of mine are a friend or a foe.  Or are they just what they are?  And their 'goodness' and 'badness' is all about timing ... and whether I wore my water-proof make-up or not.  Meh ... sometimes even the ugly-cry can feel so friggin good.