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Friday, October 12, 2012

"What the mirror presents as true has no authenticity." ~Sri Sathya Sai Baba

I'm a little bit surprised at myself.

I began this journey nearly eight years ago. I began chronicling my journey in a different blog about six months after it began. I'm not really sure why I ended that blog and began writing in this one, but I believe it had something to do with a subtle shift in my persona. I became someone I did not intend to be.

My life has been ruled by logic. This is not to say that I've not had emotions, but I am not an emotional person. I don't immediately feel empathy for someone or for a situation. I look at the facts, ask questions, then decide if the emotions I'm feeling are helpful or not. And sometimes I recognize that my involvement with a particular person or situation is counterproductive, so I find something else to do.

I have, in the past, been cast as unfeeling or callous. I am neither of those. However, I clearly see the difference between emoting for the sake of emotion, and genuinely lending support when needed. This means that I feel completely within my rights to walk away from a potentially emotionally dependent situation without explanation or apology.

However, about four years ago I lost all perspective. In the midst of reclaiming remnants of myself, I forgot to retain my customary balance of emotion and logic. Add to this the immersion of my life in Murphy's Law, and I was completely unable to maintain equilibrium. The result of this is that I became for a very long time, an emotional mess.

I tried to link my unregulated, intensely emotional reactions to my current situation, or my relationships, or PTSD, but although those things played a part, they were not the problem. The problem was that I was buying into the "feeling" part of myself for the first time in my life, and there was definite compensation in spending time there. But each joyful delusion was accompanied by insistent dark feelings, reminding me that something was terribly wrong.

I felt deeply connected to people in ways I could not remember experiencing. This was offset by a depth of fear and insecurity explainable only if one is strong enough to recognize that perhaps such connection is not intended to be a normal part of life. I was angry that friendships are allowed to wax and wane and no one seemed to care about that except me. Tolkien Boy hinted that I would eventually outgrow my anger and join the throng of mankind, recognizing that most relationships are not meant to be a daily thing; which naturally  made me angry with him, believing that he thought I was some freak of nature who had never gained the necessary maturity most adults enjoy.

I felt a depth of loneliness I had never before encountered. I supposed it to be recognition of my past deficits, of basic human needs left unmet throughout childhood and adolescence and then ignored when I reached adulthood. I believe now it was simply a reaction to losing that part of myself that brought balance and equilibrium; the part which allowed me to feel without being overwhelmed.

I experienced panic attacks and feelings of stress beyond that which I was used to. These did not wane with time, nor did they abate when I took steps to alleviate their intensity. I supposed they were side-effects of the difficulties I was encountering in my life--and perhaps that was part of it. But mostly I think those things became more frequent and intense because I could no longer do anything but feel. I could not think clearly, nor could I reason effectively. I was trapped in a whirlwind of feelings that could elevate me one moment and plunge me into despair the next. This is not healthy for anyone.

Last weekend I bottomed out. I lost the strength to manage any part of my emotional life. For days I wept and wondered why I was so terribly sad. Then I decided to take a deep breath and return to the person I knew I was--the one who searched for answers rather than conceding defeat--the one who could ask questions and look at situations and make decisions.

Today I finished my research.

I'm left a bit shocked because I never believed I could become "that person." I've always believed in my ability to act responsibly in any situation. I did not know that I could so firmly buy into the desire to feel to the point that I was no longer able to reason. And the thing that surprises me most is the length of time I've spent in this state.

Today I did not time my run. I simply ran until I was finished thinking. Ten miles later I finally remembered who I am.

I'm left in a bit of a quandary. If I am completely honest, I will admit to being a bit addicted to deep, unregulated, passionate feelings. There was something that felt liberating in allowing myself to yield with abandon to any emotion, buying into it, and remaining there indefinitely. I deluded myself, believing I was sorting through past emotions, allowing them expression, and moving on. But I was not moving on. So regardless of my wish to retain those emotional experiences, and even repeat them, it is time to move on.

Today at 3:15 p.m., I was able to eat for the first time in five days. I'm mortified that I had to wait that long before regaining control of my eating disorder. However, I'm also grateful for that horrible part of me, for had it not been for the triggering of the disorder, I have no idea how long I would have continued in my emotional dysfunction. I required some manifestation of that sort to let me know I was in trouble, I suppose. How odd that I was allowed nearly four years of turmoil before my body let me know it had had enough.

And so I am releasing my need to become immersed in feelings that are unnecessary and often invalid. It will take a great deal of practice because replacing a deeply ingrained habit takes time, but I am very good at practicing. It's time for balance to again rule my life and for me to rediscover the person I truly am. It's also time to regain management of nightmares, irrational feelings, fear, and my eating disorder.

I feel a bit as if writing in this blog has somehow figured into the development of the emotional imbalance. I'm not exactly sure how, but I plan to ponder the possibility. Should I decide this is a truth, I will likely cease writing for a little while. However, I may also feel that writing will be helpful as I practice becoming whole. Today, though, I'm simply enjoying the fact that I no longer feel insane and I do not intend to return to that state ever again.

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