Brains Are Fascinating and Frustrating

The last couple of weeks have been interesting now that my brain seems to be bringing a wide range of emotions back online. It’s a little discombobulating. During the two years of my most recent stretch of depression the strongest emotions I experienced were anger and despair and my best days were the days when those two emotions were muted and I existed in a more neutral frame of mind.

I’m guessing what I’m experiencing now probably feels pretty ordinary to most reasonably healthy people. Bursts of transient emotion in response to circumstances. Maybe this is so ordinary to the average person that they don’t even mark those emotional states in their mind.

It’s been wonderful to experience positive emotions again, but I’m finding that it’s also a little bit of a catch-22. Having positive emotions again makes me seize on them with a certain desperation, wondering what I can do to make them stay or happen again, but there’s still no reliable way for me to start or sustain them.

Being unable to get what I crave is frustrating. It makes me think about the circumstances of my life. The circumstances of my life are still pretty shit. Logically, I know positive change is impending but it’s hard to use logic to control craving something now. So I want to experience that feeling of positive well-being, can’t summon it, and instead begin to feel a vague despair and question whether or not I’ll ever be able to experience that on a more reasonable and sustainable level in my future.

I’m actively working to keep myself on an upward trajectory, though. Music has been immensely helpful in allowing me to process what I’m feeling and sustain at least mild positive feedback on an emotional level. Taking walks has been providing me with some exercise, some time alone with my thoughts, and the emotional boost that I get from seeing beauty – well, the boost I’ve been getting from that now that depression isn’t holding it back.

I’m also finding that actively taking control of my appearance is helping, even though the changes I’ve made are very mild. I’m wearing earrings again, for instance. I gave them up when I had children because I was afraid one of my babies or toddlers would get hold of them and rip them out of my ear, and that a lobe would end up permanently damaged. By the time they were old enough for that to stop being a concern, I’d mostly given up on my appearance beyond basic hygiene.

I’m doing a little more with my hair, now. I’m styling it a little differently – a very mild change indeed, and one that involves how I brush and part it rather than using additional hair care products, but every little thing I do – fixing my hair, using moisturizer on my face, selecting an outfit with a little more of an eye to aesthetics and feeling cute – gives me the psychological boost of feeling more in control of my existence, more like a functioning adult human being.

Last night I ended up in a bad mood, lonely and filling up with despair again. I took a walk around 11pm, couldn’t really enjoy it as much as usual, and worried it might be a sign that major depression was waiting in the wings to pounce. It didn’t help that I had to cut the walk short because I wasn’t feeling well and seemed to be having some inflammation set in. I returned home early, took an aspirin and went to bed, and woke up this morning feeling relieved because the mood had passed.

Honestly, this whole experience is rather fascinating to me and I wish there were some kind of transportable machine I could hook up to my brain to monitor exactly what is going on in there in real time.

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