For the last few years, I have been thinking about the idea of emotions and how they work. I observed that many people around me took medication to positively affect their emotional states. I knew that I didn’t want to be that person, however I used to think that perhaps I had some sort of emotional disorder-bipolar or depression, and would end up taking meds to help balance me out.
However, after thinking about it (extensively) and researching it, as well as being around several friends (both close and not) and a family member…experiencing their depression and bi-polar disorder; I concluded that I was normal (whatever that means) and that emotions follow a cycle. Like nature, they are cyclical and I have come to terms with the fact that this emotional cycle of mine is normal too.
What I discovered about myself is this. My emotions are like a stack graph. Think of a historical view of the stock market plotted out on a 2D graph with an X and a Y axis. That is what happens to my feelings. About every 1-1.5 years I will have a bout with depression. The depression period used to be more frequent (every couple of months)-which is why I initially thought I might have a chemical imbalance. But, now a days it is less than once a year.
I have yet to identify what triggers the depression (but my guess is anxiety and feelings of being overwhelmed). But, I can tell you that while I am in this depressed phase, I don’t realize that I am depressed. I don’t feel right, and I can tell that I am not myself, but I can not logically say–wow, this must be depression. I feel lonely, angry, isolated, misunderstood. My fuse is extremely short, I have little to no patience for people or their actions, I feel like everyone is ‘out to get me’ and I am negative and bitter. I also lose my self-confidence and question my abilities. I cant look people in the eye, I feel shy and am self conscious. All qualities that I don’t usually feel.
Saturday, I realized that I was in the midst of one of these low phases. I was finally about to talk (I use this term very liberally) to my husband and over the next 24 hours we were able to work out most of the details. I feel totally better, and like I am on the upward journey back to the stable point on the Y axis again. Whoo hoo for me.
It is weird though to look back onto the last week or so, and think about what I was feeling and thinking. It is like I was another person. I also worry that after the baby is born that I might suffer from post-partum depression.
One of the things my hubby suggested is this theory for me:
As a young person and as a teenager, and for a long time after I was only able to handle situations, and was never able to express or manage my feelings. This was due to my manic, unstable upbringing and life experiences. I have always felt free to share the details of my life’s situations, all the while being pretty reserved about feelings.
Then, things began to stabilize, and normal life was discovered. I became more aware of my feelings, but I took a long time to process them and understand them. I thought about them for a long time before I was able to express them (if I ever was able to).
In the last few years I decided that I wanted to be more in touch with my feelings, and to be able to share them more. Hubby was always saying that when you express yourself emotionally that you allow yourself to be vulnerable and people identify with that. So, I started to blog, and share my feelings publicly and as a result-they are becoming easier to identify and easier to recognize. I am forcing/allowing myself to be more forthcoming with my feelings in writing and this is helping me to be more comfortable with my feelings in general.
As a result of this new found freedom with my feelings, my ability to more quickly identify them, and to articulate them-I now want to verbally express them more often…but I am still hesitant to share them out loud. This is pretty new territory for me. I am much better at writing them down, sending them via email, or communicating via mass media using my blog.
So friends, if you are reading this-know that I am trying to become more open, more expressive, and as a result closer emotionally. I hope that this journey is worth it in the end (for all of the work I have put into it!!!) LOL.