Sunday, August 4
I'm not sure where it comes from. Maybe it's because I struggle to read underlying emotional currents. Maybe it's because I've convinced myself that everything that can go wrong, will. Maybe it's a lesser part of being bipolar.
Whatever causes it, it's still sort of funny... or ironic... to watch how quickly and intensely my emotions change. I'm in tears one moment, feeling like life really can't go on and have meaning, and an hour later, when someone asks me if I'm doing ok, I don't even realize why they are asking.
I think that maybe the shift in emotions - from intense pain to joy, confusion to faith - allow me to have greater perspective on life. And maybe those disparate emotional states are the key for understanding the disparity in the types of decisions I make throughout life.
But mostly, right now, I think it's ironic. And maybe a bit frustrating. Because when I'm going through something intense, looking back at it through rational eyes I look horribly melodramatic. Taking things out of context, blowing things out of proportion... the usual. And yet in the moment I have those same thoughts, and actively try to measure my feelings and reactions... and feel completely resolved in doing what I do. Then later I laugh at the circumstance, but feel a bit embarrassed for acting like (at least it seems in my mind) a 5-year old.
I wish I could figure out what is going wrong in those situations... or if there really is anything going wrong. Going through intense emotional upheaval is actually a really good experience for me, as it helps me find stability and focus in life. I don't know that I really want to change it. But I have people involved in my life now... and regardless of how useful melodrama may be for me, I feel sorry for the people on the outside, who... I'm not sure if they really know what to do or expect.
Example: the first copy of the Book of Mormon I gave away on my mission was to an old woman we found while knocking doors. We went back a few times, but on the third or fourth visit she told us she didn't want to see us anymore. And she gave back the Book of Mormon. I had thought she might stop meeting with us, but I had hoped that she would keep the book so it would have a chance of influencing her or a loved one someday. I literally cried there on the spot, and looking back, it made the situation somewhat awkward. But I was totally devastated and didn't know what to do. She started crying too, because I was so distraught, and my companion quickly got us out the door. We didn't stop to process what had happened, just walked to the next complex where we had left off knocking doors. By the time we arrived, I was ok. That's what shook him up - my sudden shift from devastated to bright - and he brought it up to me later. In my mind it made perfect sense. I'm going to be devastated in the first situation, and I need to be happy in the second. But I don't think it works that way for everyone.
I know that it wreaks havoc on my relationships. People aren't sure what to do when my emotions are jumping from one place to another. Am I depressed? Am I ok? Am I having an amazing day, or really having an awful one, just with a short breath of fresh air?
Since I'm back in a deeply rational state, I find myself wanting to explain, or apologize, or whatever, the things I do when I'm emotional. The reality, though, is that I'm both. Wholly and completely both. And even though I may have 20/20 backwards vision and cognitive reasoning that usually wins out, it doesn't change the reality of my emotions when they come on strong. I don't have any idea of how to be less melodramatic when it hits, or any less rational when it doesn't.
Posted by Mormon Guy at 9:19 AM