Stepping Off of the Emotional Rollercoaster

There are some days where I feel full. It’s not from breakfast.

These are the days when I feel like emotion surrounds me. Like it’s a thick cloud around me that I swim through to find the reality of life—of sitting at a desk, pounding away at the keyboard to earn every penny of my paycheck.

But it’s not a crushing cloud. It’s just there. Tangible.

I won’t name what some of the emotions are. I won’t tell you because they’re mine and I’m selfish. I want all of my emotions to myself.

But then somebody comes over to talk to me and I have to push all of the emotions away.

And so, even though my day feels full, I have to box it all up where I can’t see or feel it. I have to do this so that I can be involved in the conversation with the person in front of me, so that I can sit at my desk and focus on the work filling up my task list, so that I don’t get overwhelmed by all of the emotions filling up the cloud.

Because they are boxed up, the day is flat. No emotions pulling me down, but also no emotions lifting me up. You could probably say that I’m self-medicated, this thing that I do to box it all up, pack it away where it gets dusty in the dark because I never come back for it. I don’t label the boxes. They go into deep storage, and I forget all of the rich feelings like euphoria, love and exhilaration, but also I forget the exhausting feelings like agitation, loneliness, and melancholy.

Instead, I am just here. Simply.

Just here.

But sometimes, I can focus really hard and let just ONE emotion out of the box. I try and focus hard enough to let it only be one of the rich feelings.

So this morning, I focused on a memory from the weekend: a Peregrine falcon flying up the banks of the Snake River. I tried to ONLY let that memory in and felt some exhilaration from seeing my favorite bird in flight. But then, as seems to happen so often, a few other memories escaped and some of the exhausting feelings crept out of the box. Damn.*

I shut the lid, stopped the cloud from seeping out anymore and went back to work. Flat again.

I am just here.


*As a side note there were many other memories from the weekend that would also be rich feelings, with a few, very few, that are on the downside of the emotional rollercoaster. Very few. And yet, I seem to amplify those low feelings so easily that all of the joys and excitement can be quickly overwhelmed and forgotten. I will only do that today, though. Because tomorrow is always sunny. Eventually, my memory will ONLY recall the positive feelings and I will be left with an incredible experience of camping, rafting, and creating friendships.

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3 comments

  1. Powerful and well written, my friend. I always think of you when I see a Peregrine Falcon. I don’t think I’ve ever written out the word “Peregrine” before and had to look at how you spelled it.

    I’ve heard that Prozac takes away all the lows, but also all the highs. You are your own Prozac. I hope you find the balance.

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  2. @clancy – that’s cool that you think of me when you see a Peregrine Falcon, which, of course, I knew how to spell… I’ve known it for years. I still have the falcon that Lacy and I made back in junior high, among other birds and dragons we made where we colored them, cut them out, glued on another wing… Yeah, quite the art project.
    It’s true about Prozac. I just do that on my own when I need to, which is basically when I’m at work. I totally let loose in the evenings. Watch out.

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  3. I know I’m a lurker, but just wanted to say that this was so well written. And mood stabilizing drugs do the same thing. You feel nothing. I’m impressed that there are people that CAN do the “boxing this up and putting it away” thing. My sister is one. I am not. My emotions run loose all over the town and I have trouble keeping them from overrunning the rest of society.

    Also, impressed you can be selective in taking something out of the box. That would take me some serious training and meditation. Maybe I will try.

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