21 Feb 2012, 11:23am

Care and Concern for Your Pet Self

I thought at first at 11:50 pm on Tuesday my mood became bad. The mirror in my submarine went wavy, melty, funhouse. I could see the distortions in my perception.

A few days later I reflected on what friends said to me and realized that there was some sagging a few hours before. But by noon on Wednesday His Dishonorable Sir Funk was well and good entrenched for a visit, heels marking the coffee table and his junk scattered everywhere like it meant to stay a good long while. By Saturday morning I had a ferocious headache and there was no sign of the pet Funk going for a walk and getting lost.

Somewhere late Friday I smiled after two to three days of grim. Days since have had good parts and a weight off my chest more of the time. I’d like to say Funk is gone-gone. It may be. It probably isn’t. On Saturday evening Funk was making noises about leaving if it really wasn’t wanted and appreciated.

When I woke this morning it was bedside bragging about weird trippy dreams it gave me, like some squirrel-fur mask on my pillow. I nodded absently and pushed past. This afternoon I was still running with a higher ratio of nervous energy than usual. My reactivity stayed high, my modulation lower. I felt jammed between being fully off or fully on.

light getting in
You can’t lacquer yourself in under no-mood, weatherproof varnish.

Funk might arrive when things are going well, when mental health is generally great or lousy, when physical health is peak or valley. Siamese-twin brain chemistry of Sir Royal Funkness is on its own clock.

There is no stasis, even for seeming wax museums. Emotional reactions happen regardless of what conscious choices do. They’ll come out where they find a crack. That might be dreams or might be thru the body. How thru the body? Name something, anything. My version of the middle path was to be as inert as possible.

If bummed, I’d pester self to a brittle performance of nervous joy. If happy, cut self off at the knees with nihilist cynicism so I don’t get too hopeful and risk being destroyed by disappointment should it not continue.

As bulwarks against Knight Funk, I used to brace against hope. I was constantly pushing myself at the red line. I could take more good in life but every high mood seemed to invite a mood twice as low.

Some years ago in some self-help book I read the affirmation of ‘whatever comes, I can handle it’. It was a lightbulb of flashing neon.

Sometimes your siamese-twin self is going to have a bloody riotous meltdown. Hopefully with enough cooing or ignoring, or both it will pick itself up. But seeing beyond that visit, and framing it as something that can be handled and lived past, rather than a killer, that helps.

Funk’ll ride in again. It won’t be at a convenient time, although it may be. It would be too predictible if the visit came while the handbaskets to hell were already lined up on the doormat with the mailing labels ready to ship.

Even getting every single Funk out my hair provided no comfort that I’d be so lucky again. It’s still a possibility that I’ll find a funk that won’t lift a finger to go away.

Learning to navigate with more than a toolkit filled with more than denial was a start.

Ordering myself around, name-calling and piling on more work to distract isn’t a reaction I’d give to anyone else. For anyone else I’d give compassion. I’d give some down time to rally and get back on track when able. Be extra kind. Make sure the person is warm, fed and cared about.

That old rule of being a friend to self has some merit.

Quote: “Affections are like lightning: you cannot tell where they will strike till they have fallen.” ~ Jean Baptiste Lacordaire

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