By LBDinNYC on April 17, 2011
Good morning! Happy Sunday.
If you live in NYC, you'll know that we've been at the mercy of Mother Nature's recent bout with manic depression. One day she's all up and sunny and the next thing we know, she's down in the dumps and throwing us a huge wind and rainstorm, the only benefit of which is a boost to Duane Reade's bottom line (they have a much better range of $10 umbrellas than they used to, including lavender and royal blue). Last night it was torrential and I was out for dinner with a friend. I had my laptop tucked inside my lululemon back back and while it didn't remain completely dry, I am so grateful to say it lived and now I'm here to type the tale.
This post is not about weather. But it is about moods.
I was a gregarious, sensitive and emotional kid who became a somewhat moody teen but I had an effective system of controlling my range of emotions. I took things out on my parents.
In between being a very sweet, outwardly pleasant, model exemplar student, one who was on good terms with most people, I would have more than the occasional lapse into bitchiness, anger, foul mouthed antics and hostility with my folks.
I also played a lot of sports which afforded me the opportunity to yell and emote, coach and cry, and take out aggression and anger by kicking balls with great force. The pleasant feelings of success also worked wonders on my mood states, not unlike the endorphin or dopamine spike of a donut without the sugar coma that follows.
In my 20s, after moving out of my house to go away to college and live/work in NYC, the coping technique I most relied on for managing my moods was an eating disorder. The very sad thing about an eating disorder is that as far as moods go, what provides temporary relief from a feeling actually leads to it becoming like the feeling on steroids. At least that's what I observed in myself and many others I knew that were struggling with some kind of anorexic, bulimic or binge eating behaviors. Sad before? Pick up an eating disorder behavior and watch that sadness intensify, morph, deepen, evolve, and expand like a sponge. There is numbness, too.
After getting into recovery, I began to learn, understand and even appreciate that moodiness is a lot more normal than I realized. I was never one to really believe in PMS symptoms, but once I started paying attention to my cycle, I would absolutely see how much more sensitive I'd feel in the week or so before getting period. Then, I started to see how sleep, certain foods, caffeine, alcohol (even small amounts), workload, levels of physical exertion, sex (or lack thereof), meditation and the kind of people I would hang out with were all affecting me big time. Then, I began to view my emotions less as truth and more as a, well, form of creative expression. :)
I was never diagnosed with any kind of bipolar illness but I did deal with major depression as well as anxiety, and at one point took medication. For the last 6 1/2 years, though, I've been without that kind of assistance and sometimes I really wonder if I would benefit from "a little help" again as some suggest. I know it is very helpful and necessary in some instances. Maybe then I wouldn't have to take as many healthy actions to feel good and perhaps I wouldn't be as sensitive. The reason I decline (politely, now that I don't take things out on my parents) is because for the most part I enjoy all the healthy actions I take -- fitness, creativity, health food, sobriety, time in nature, hugs from good friends, attention off appearances and onto inner being, loving kindness, petting strangers' dogs on the street, making jokes -- and they work. I also embrace my sensitivity, which doesn't feel like an intrusion or liability or anymore.
The biggest triggers for me are environments/people that are not fostering my growth, feeding my creativity or respecting who I am and the woman I want to become, financial stress, and romantic relationships. Sometimes when I feel LOW versus low, I recognize it as an old habit of mine to (and I've shared about this before) PUMP UP THE VOLUME of how I'm feeling, as if I need to do that to gain validation or understanding or compassion from someone else, from my loving Source or even from myself. As if intensity will lead to some kind of resolution or relief.
It's not necessary to go into that kind of drama to be heard. As concerns relationships of any sort, if it is, you're not with the right listener.
The warmth of Springtime can't come quickly enough. It beckons me to take long walks without the protection of a heavy coat of armor, to feel free and light and at one with the bountiful trees and flowers. I can imagine myself relaxed in the sunshine, a light wind and soft fabrics against my skin...ahhhhhh, it is all I can do to be patient for the arrival of this relief and beauty.
In the meantime, let the blooming from within continue!
"Sing to me of the daylight
I will sing you a story of moonlight
Will you dance with me
Will you dance with me, baby?
Sing to me
Have a beautiful day!