Better

This morning, I woke up with the thought that there’s no more fighting the fact that I’ve been feeling some pretty high highs and low lows, and it has all been a little too intense for me. More intense than anything else this year, more intense than I am used to handling. That kind of intense up and down always drains me. This morning, feeling a little low-er than I have in a long, long time, I wondered if the advantage of hyper-awareness and knowing I can manage and regulate myself through this might also carry the disadvantage that that very self-regulation may actually keep me from getting help if and when I need it.

I woke up with strains of memory of my 2016 self, when I was at probably at the worst of my discomfort, disillusionment and dealing with a directionless life. I am pretty sure now that I was borderline depressive then, and this morning I worried just a wee bit that what I was feeling, felt like it did back in 2016.

I have not felt this way — this intensely low — in literal years. It has been an intense ten days (all this emptiness/displacement I’ve been talking about), there’s no denying it. And while I have been moving through it quite alright, underneath it all, I’ve been wanting and trying to just feel better. Even while I do nothing but simply observe and move through the feels, I’ve been trying to feel better.

This need to switch out of uncomfortable feelings, the disconnect, to run, to do something, is so, so, so deeply ingrained in me. I am now having to very, very slowly unlearn the default reaction to get up, move on, cheer up and instead invite the difficult emotions in, give them my presence and ask difficult questions like What are you here to show me, this time?

This morning, I suddenly realised what I needed to see once again was that I don’t need to keep trying. I don’t need to feel better, if I have woken up a touch out of sorts. What is better, anyway? And who decides what the exact level of goodness it is?

C, in class last week, asked us to invite nervousness in, if that’s what we had entered the room with. To give it a place. To welcome it, and see how it could be an ally in what we were feeling about what we were about to embark on — the “exam”. What a wildly revolutionary thought that was. To embrace a negative, otherwise uncomfortable feeling. To give it a place.

So, I found some relief just by inviting the intense lows, the listlessness, the disinterest in. I embraced it, accepted that I’m not feeling quite my best. And that it was perfectly alright, even if it lasts a day, or two or five. That gave me the energy to get on with my day. Without having to lie about how I felt, even to myself. Without having to get over it. Without having to pretend about how I was feeling.

I have to say, it was a good day. An invigorating chat about future work plans with S this morning, lunch with A, shopping for organic produce, chai at an old Bangalore home tuned cafe, painless metro rides to and back, an evening of writing by myself, a delightful chat with D, and a simple, quick dinner and getting into bed and under my blanket by 8 pm.

And you know what? I feel better, without even trying.

One year ago: November

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