Bad Day

Yesterday was not a good day for me.

It really started Sunday night; sometime around 9 or 10 PM, I started feeling intensely sad and lonely. At that time of night, there’s really not much that cane be done for the lonely part, and the sad part didn’t really seem to have a cause – it was just a rush of emotion that came out of seemingly nowhere and just made me feel lousy. Then Monday started, and things got worse. I went to work on Monday morning, and while I was boxing up books to send back to the publishers, I just kept feeling these waves of emotion. It was always sadness, and it happened pretty regularly, every 15-20 minutes. I would be doing just fine, and then bam, sadness, and I felt like I was about to start crying – which would have been hard to explain at work. That happened basically all day, and while I was on break I told a couple friends, but they were either working shifts that started before mine ended, making them unavailable, or having their own issues, which might not have made for the best company. So I just had to tough it out, go home, get dinner, get in touch with some people, and hope for a better day today. It probably didn’t help that I was turned down – again – for certified peer specialist training, which I only got notification of as I was coming home from work; that’s something I really want to do, but they keep telling me that the people they give preference to are either working or volunteering in the field. I wonder how, though; every place I’ve talked to that deals with mental health and accepts volunteers doesn’t have anything like a certified peer specialist area, and apparently volunteering with NAMI, while the right general area, doesn’t count. It’s really frustrating, especially since the next session of training won;t be offered until next January.

I’m not really sure how today is going to go, though it hasn’t started so well – I’m not normally up at this time, but I just woke up at around 5:30 sweating like crazy and didn’t feel tired anymore. One of my friends had recommended journaling as a way to try to work things through in my head, and while I just didn’t have the energy for it last night, right now is a different story. I’m not really sure what brought on these erratic waves of emotion, but I have been feeling kind of lonely for the last few days; the work schedules of me and my friends have been clashing this last week, so they seemed to be working whenever I wasn’t and vice versa – and Calla has been busy with family from out of town, which is leaving her stressed and frayed and without much time to herself, let alone to hang out with me.

I’m writing this knowing that my mother, at least, will read this, and probably my sister, and some other friends. I know that my history in this area has been pretty bad, but I’ve managed to make it here for over a year, and I don’t think a couple bad days will affect me long-term. I’m going to try to meet up with a couple friends after work tonight, and I hope that will help out; traditionally, being around my friends always cheers me up, even if we’re not together for long. And tomorrow I go to see my therapist, which will also help; he’ll probably have some ideas on what might have brought this on. If nothing else, I can always try to go see my psychiatrist and ask him what he thinks; this may just be some odd kind of seasonal issue. I’m feeling bad right now, but I’m not feeling particularly worried; one or two days of badness does not a pattern make, and as someone with depression, I know that occasionally there will be days like this. Generally, though, I hope that they won’t be on days when I work, because trying to explain to my fellow employees why I just started crying for no apparent reason is not something I look forward to.

Hell, it might just have been a Monday thing. Maybe, like Garfield, my psyche just hates Mondays. I guess I’ll find out.

Kind of a Mess

That about describes me right now, because for whatever reason, today I just feel like a big old collection of sadness, anger, frustration, and fear. It’s really due to a number of things – any one of which would probably be relatively easy to handle on its own, but when they all seen to hit me at about the same time, it makes for a somewhat unpleasant evening.

First, I have a relationship with a friend not only not going in the direction I hoped it would go, but apparently actively going the opposite direction. Then I find out that the CEO of the company I worked for got more as a bonus to his salary this year than I would in 150 years of working 32-hour weeks, every week – and this is for a company that is, on the whole, losing money. Then I make the mistake of reading a discussion where people I would normally respect seem to keep taking up the position of defending a man who essentially lured two teens into breaking into his home, and then, while they were unarmed, drew them into his basement where he gloated and then shot them, multiple times, killing both, before hiding the whole thing. And now it also seems that the one job I was really interested in getting not only has strings they don’t mention in the application for training, but that the possibility of even getting the training is far more competitive than I had been led to believe, and I’m at a disadvantage.

The confluence of those events, which seems to have all kind of hit me today, has me feeling a number of unpleasant things all at once, and I’m still trying to work out how to deal with them. I know that even writing this out will probably have some people very worried that I will be headed for a relapse, regardless of what I say. I’m not depressed, and I don’t believe it will get to that point, but I am feeling a number of unpleasant things all at once, and I am trying to figure out how to best deal with what I am feeling. Since this is a blog about mental health, and my own mental status, I figured it was probably important to write something about it here, even if it did cause trouble – just the fact that I am willing to do that, even knowing it will probably be messy, is a good sign, I think.

I’m not really sure what to do with all of this, but I imagine that I will find a way, or several ways, to try to work through some or all of it in the next day or so. It’s just a bunch of things to deal with, each of which I would have preferred to deal with separately.

The Feeling of Feelings

Acknowledging one’s emotions is an important part of the process of recovery from mental illness. A lot of people never really develop very well emotionally, and I was no different; from an early age I put a lot of energy into distancing myself from what I was feeling, and in later life that came back to bite me, and hard.

One of the interesting things I have found, though, is that each emotion for me seems to have an associated physical sensation. It’s taken a a fair amount of time to really pinpoint them all, which is odd, considering that we are feeling some degree of emotion virtually all the time. But I think some of them don’t really register until we feel an emotion strongly, and I would think that these particular feelings could vary from person to person.

For me, one of the ones I have felt to a fair degree recently has been a feeling of fear or panic. This isn’t something I have mentioned before, but my neighbors, over the past several weeks, have been prone to loud, seemingly violent, fights. I hear them through my ceiling; yelling and screaming and slamming of things into the floor, and at first I found it annoying, but as it grew more frequent, I began to wonder if it was something like domestic abuse. I eventually had to call the police on them, and now every time I hear them I fear that it will be something bad, or that somehow I will get involved. This fear manifests itself as a tightness in my chest, my heart beating really strongly, and a little out of sync; it makes it feel like blood is rushing through my head.

Anxiety is much easier to express; anxiety can be set off by a lot of things, but hearing from anything involving a new job is almost certain to set it off. I have it sometimes when talking with friends who are having rough times; I don’t want to say the wrong thing, but I also want to be a helpful and supportive friend, and that can be a tough road to navigate. It feels like butterflies in my stomach; the easiest way I can describe it is that feeling you get on a rollercoaster when climbing up the first big incline, that feeling of apprehension – is this really a good idea?

Guilt is one I am familiar with, largely because while Is pent so long worrying about the lies I was telling to everyone around me during the worst periods of my depression. Guilt just made me feel sick to my stomach, like I needed to throw up, even when there was nothing in my stomach. Oddly, it didn’t ever make me any less hungry, and it only ever actually made me throw up once, but it really spent a lot of time working its unpleasant magic on me.

Anger is pretty easy; I sometimes find myself going straight to anger in traffic when something crazy happens – which is not unusual in Houston traffic, sadly. It only happens when I drive alone, too, which is strange. Anger is just a burning needs to do something immediate, often violent; I tend to satisfy this by saying or yelling quite an interesting array of things at my fellow drivers, warranted or not. I try not to make rude gestures where they can see me, or hit anything, because I don’t want to engender similar anger, but the yelling kind of feels good to get out.

Sadness is probably the one I have the most intense experience with, considering my depression. I haven’t felt a whole lot of it lately – at least, not to the extent of my worst depressions, or anywhere near that – but I have had moments of disappointment, like being turned down for a job or reprimanded by a manager, that remind me. It’s oppressive; it makes me feel tired, so tired I don’t want to move, or work, or do anything but maybe eat or sleep. It makes me lose interest in things, to just want to sit, sleep, withdraw from the world. It’s dangerous, and can be very insidious, and so I have to watch out for it often.

Joy is the emotion I haven’t had a lot of experience with – well, not until October or so. It was when I first realized I had feelings for Calla, and found out she had feelings for me, as well. My heart almost popped out of my chest, and when I was around her it still felt like that. When I was trying to describe how I felt to her, I used something similar to the rollercoaster description I used above – except for with her, it wasn’t the anxiety of the climb, but the feeling you get right at the apex of the climb – the flash of terror, but then the realization that you’re about to do something awesome.

That covers the five biggies – fear, guilt, anger, sadness, and joy, with anxiety as a bonus. So, how do emotions feel physically when they manifest for you? What kinds of sensations do they create? Think about it, then think about how often you’re feeling each; it can be a sobering conclusion.