>> Thursday, January 29, 2015
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I’ve been all over the place emotionally in the last half a year or more. Have you noticed? (Of course you have!) One minute I’m up, the next I’m down, the next I’m trying something new and getting up again. It’s sort of crazy. Exhausting for myself (and others, I’m sure). These cycles we go through with our lives and our moods and our abilities to cope with different situations . . . it’s pure madness.
It has me often asking . . .
I’m very much a person who feels what’s going on with every part of my being. I let things utterly consume me because that seems the be the way I deal with whatever is going on. Or perhaps that’s how I’ve learned to cope with situations over time. It’s like these waves wash over me ranging in size from the very tiny to the tsunamic. Some let me ride high and enjoy the views. Others swell and completely swallow me up and spit me back out. These are definitely trite ways of trying to explain the experience -- but I think they’re somewhat relatable.
I came across this article about how negative emotions are the key to wellbeing. It was validating for me because I’m always down on myself for being so negative. (Irony?) I’ve been accused of being depressed and unstable (well, mostly by online armchair psychologists) when all I’m really doing is mulling over something in my head. Sure, I tend to dwell in the worry and regret and worst-case scenarios areas of my brain. That’s not necessarily a great thing to do. But the author writes about how important it is to learn to "express and acknowledge the full range of emotions.”
As with my vocals, I have a pretty broad range slanted to alto.
I just happen to do a lot of this thinking online, which is
My method of choice for sorting out the aftermath has always been writing. When I was younger, I considered going to school for music or architecture or even broadcast journalism. I had a particularly difficult senior year of high school (stupid boy problems), and it was at this point when I first turned to writing as an emotional outlet, though I didn’t recognize it as such. Ithaca College sent along some pamphlet about its band new Writing program. A couple weeks later I had a brief, self-diagnosed mental breakdown (oh, the drama) about music when I missed making a spot in all state chorus by a couple measly points. One thing led to another, and I switched gears to sign up for my spot in the nonfiction/expository crowd.
Fast forward to my senior year of college, I took a seminar on the topic of writing and healing. Well, I didn’t exactly want to take that class, but I needed a senior seminar and that was the one offered for nonfiction students my last semester. The alternative was something on poetry with a professor who fancied giving me Cs and Ds (I graduated magna cum laude -- her grading system just didn’t make sense). Anyway, I though the topic was sort of laughable. Actual scientific evidence that writing can cure people from mental and physical illness (here’s more)? That’s crazy talk.
All the content we read, the assignments we wrote -- well -- they were so overwhelmingly touchy-feely. I drafted countless eassys about my eating disorder, examining it in all directions. I delved into my childhood, but there really wasn’t much trauma there, more like teen brooding. Yes, I wrote about that stupid boy. I remained skeptical of the entire premise.
Yet through all the in-depth research we examined and my own projects, I slowly discovered the power. The catharsis. I don’t remember exactly how it happened, but seeing my thoughts written down helped. For me, I’m able to take control over my situation through the process of writing the words on the page, arranging my narrative in a way that soothes me and makes better sense, and empowering myself through my own words. And the evidence for writing as a form of healing has continued to pile up all these years after my experience in the classroom.
This is all a long way of saying: I’ve been writing in my journal (remember my 2015 goals?), and I think it’s been helping me sort through some of this stuff related to our TTC issues (and my related health issues, which I haven’t shared much about) and regaining some control over my sense of self. I’ve even been writing a bit about Ada’s surgery. Sure, eating healthy foods is certainly helping as well, and I’ll be sure to write more about that in an upcoming post. But taking care of my body isn’t the only focus here. I’m glad I’ve reconnected with this tool. It allows me to think in a new way, even if I don’t write more than a few sentences.
Do you have a self-help tool?
Aside from writing, I get more immediate relief from stress through running and playing violin. There’s something in the rhythm and motion of those activities that breaks through even the worst stuff.
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