Skip to main content

Do not google your emotions.

 Have you ever felt compelled to google mystery symptoms in the middle of the night?

I have.  I know I am not alone.  What is this rash? Is this bug a bed bug?  Does this fever mean I am dying or just slightly ill?

These questions loom large in the dark.  We are urged not to do this, that instead, we should ask a health professional (or accost one at a social event). "Nice to meet you, how are you with moles? Have I got one for you!"

This is how I have been feeling about emotions lately.  Due to global reasons I do not need to mention, I have spent a lot of time apart from others. I still talk to my friends and family every day, but it is rare right now that we are actually in the same room doing stuff together.  I cling to those fleeting moments of closeness like no one's business and get nourished by them long after we have to go back to our respective cubby holes, but the constraints on those times are real.

As a result, I am starting to realize that even emotions are becoming like strange symptoms to me.

The other night I was struck by a feeling. A feeling that felt bad but I was unsure what to call it. It was late at night.  I didn't want to wake my friends to help me untangle the mystery. What am I feeling? I need words. I need a conversation to excavate and extract the precise source of my dismay.

I mulled it over in silence. Heart attack? Panic attack? Indigestion?  No. No. No.

So I started googling emotions.

I started with sadness, but no. That wasn't it.

I moved onto disappointment.  Yes! Disappointment: "a form of sadness that arises from a gap in our expectation and reality."

There was a time when I did not need to google this of course.  My "symptoms" were predictable and anything out of the norm was almost instantly recognizable.  I had context and friends and oodles of time side by side with my friends to boil whatever "it was" down. Right now, the time together is so focused on making sure we are okay and debriefing that there is little time to actually feel stuff and experience things that might produce more feelings.

In various states of confinement, the emotions I have are toggling between anger, sadness and guarded hope.  All the other in between feelings lost their names. 

Now that that particular emotion I had in the late late night has a label, I am aware that I am probably feeling all kinds of things that I haven't bothered to label.

The light starts to break at dawn and the pain in my chest subsides.

This time alone is scary sometimes, but also I am learning new things about myself.  

I don't need google for that, but sometimes it is there for me when no one else can be, such is the state of life right now.

Soon, I am looking forward to a evenings full of words that I have currently forgotten about, but know are out there somewhere.  I look forward to feelings I forgot about sneaking in an taking me off guard, not just disappointment, but also , joy and giddiness.  I walk towards  evenings spent experiencing stuff that make me feel things more than disappointment, anger and guarded hope.  


Popular posts from this blog

Surface tension

  My vocabulary was the first to go.  Simple words would escape me and I would end up searching around for them like I do for my glasses in the dark. I would come back with inadequate replacements.  I blamed zoom, I blamed stress.  What I never really considered was that maybe I was searching for words when there were none.   Next came the conversation.  It dried up.  I used to love winding endless discussions like a river with many tributaries, some mountain fed, some coming from deep within the forest.  On really exciting days, the rain fell and made the river overflow. However, the river bed's water evaporated. I think about conversations now fondly like I do of childhood pastimes.  I cannot seem to reach for anything more substantial than what I am eating. or seeing on the internet or of course the weather.  I am boring myself. These past several months have felt a bit like musical chairs. The music stopped and I was without a chair.   I knew there was something really differen

Out on the line.

 I have been so lucky in so many ways. I have only experienced tiny specks of physical and emotional pain in my life. Luckily that pain has been either episodic or limited and I have been able to manage it with drugs, or crying or writing or wine or chips....or something. This summer, a decade of holding my head the wrong way, typing, scrolling, stressing and driving all ganged up on my neck and said...we are holding you hostage until you address this.  However, when it first started, the pain didn't explain it just attacked. And attacked. No position relieved it. No drug touched it. It went on and on. I could not sleep. I could not hold a book or type. I drove with difficulty. Swimming in the ocean gave me enough pleasure that I temporarily forgot it.  I couldn't drink to forget it though or massage it enough. It just kept going.   I tackled the pain like I tackle everything, blindly and in a chaotically forceful way. This pain refused to be massaged away. It turns out this pa

The Naked Eye

It cannot be seen by the naked eye.  So, we have to trust the experts--the people who have devoted their careers to seeing these things for us.  This weather that approaches, the coming storm, the looming march of an invisible force bears down on us, they forecast for us. There is something very scary about trusting that much.  We do it sometimes--when we fall in love, or meet our children.  Letting go of so much of what we know of ourselves takes a lot of..something. As our lives change in ways we never quite imagined, even after watching all those movies about pandemics, we lean into our shelters.  Shelters that are not always safe for some of us and wait for the storm to pass.