Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Psychic Hangover

I have come to the grim conclusion that it is not necessarily salubrious to go delving into the dark parts of one's psychological past, especially when one is prone anyway to fits of black gloom. When I was younger, I liked to air the details of the more peculiar aspects of my childhood, to myself in my journals and to any willing live audience. Looking back, I think it was a bit of showing off: my life was like a book, and I the romantic protagonist. I had created a new genre: European Jewish Gothic. It suited me perfectly.

Over the last week, though, I've come to think that revisiting the pain was, shall we put it mildly, most unhelpful. Although I announced to Sarge last Wednesday, after I'd finished with staring at the photos of my old home and writing my last post, that I'd achieved a major catharsis. I stood in front of him and proclaimed it with joy and relief, "Sarge, I just had a catharsis!" to which he replied, skeptically I venture, "really? So you're purged of your weird feelings about Henry Street?" to which I replied, "Yes! I have no weird feelings left in me!"

It turns out that this was not the case (as Sarge had sussed out even in the face of my grand optimism) and in fact, far from achieving catharsis, I have actually dredged up no small amount of sadness and discomfort. You can't imagine how disappointing that is.

All my study of psychology (I even have a higher degree in the field!) has not, apparently, led me to a place of peace and understanding. Just when I think I've begun to understand myself, I find that I'm plain wrong. My past, it seems, is better left in the heavy safe that is locked, combination forgotten or deliberately lost, and stowed deep deep down in my subconscious--or better still, my unconscious. There, stripped of its uncomfortable realness, its metaphor acquires a certain lightness (a paradox, I know, but for me it's true). Let's just say that I feel better when I don't eat such a heavy meal of details.

So here I sit, paralyzed with feelings, the fog of depression clouding my spirit. A pox on my last post.

My current unfortunate state can be summed up in Nigel Tufnel's line from Spinal Tap: "Like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is none: none more black."

31 comments:

Scarlet Blue said...

As I hope to be moving soon, I've had a little burning session. Oh, I swear, it feels good.
Sx
*Hugs*

Brian Miller said...

oh leah...there are certain drawers in my cabinet of curiousity that i keep locked...the locking was part of my healing. sending happy thoughts your way...

MJ said...

"Put it up to eleven."

Mr. Shife said...

I think we all have stuff we need to keep locked up and kept away. Unfortunately they get dragged out in the open every now and then and it sucks. I hope you are feeling better about everything and hopefully a virtual hug from Mr. Shife, Baby Shife, and the Fat Basset helps brighten your day a little bit. Hang in there and take care.

savannah said...

there was a phrase that hit my daughter's high school in her senior year that seemed to deal very well with this type of situation:

acknowledge, move on

now, my darling, you know what comes next, don't you?

and turn the page.

and blog about it! ;~D xoxoxox

Megan said...

I'm sorry you are in a black place. I did enjoy the last post soooo much, and I'm sad it has brought you down...

Random Chick said...

Sometimes it is good to go to the black place so that you can purge them, and then breathe in the fresh air again.

Baino said...

I'm not sure locking things away makes them disappear. It might be better to face your demons, reconcile and move right along if that's at all possible. I'm sorry the post left you in a bad place.

Karen ^..^ said...

Well, this is now the proof that some of the best writing is done for cathartic reasons, and turns out to be the best. How can anyone enjoy what has caused you to remember painful events? Because it was done so well, so poignantly, with such spirited imagination, with blatant intelligence and graceful poise.

You really can write, my dear. You should do it more often. Don't worry that we won't get the point of it. So often what we write for our own health is enjoyed or savored by those of us who have no such ties to the pain behind it.

I hope you push forward, and get it all out. It has helped me, it really has. Not at first, but now, I think it has helped.

You are an amazing writer.

mago said...

Drink, pray, work.
In random order.

willow said...

Don't lock them up. Air them out, so they can blow away! I have some none more than blacks, myself.

Hunter said...

Sometimes it's good to wallow in the muck of misery. But I always find that a bottle of whiskey and a pristine white karategi are the requisite tools when it comes time to move forward...

Leah said...

Scarlet: I wish I had the guts to burn certain things! I really do. It takes serious moxie.

Brian: I really do think some things should just go in the vault, after one has taken a look in them. Compartmentalizing is a necessary part of life at times.

MJ: not only that but I will no longer tolerate the Ritz crackers and american cheese.

Mr. Shife: that virtual hug from you, the baby and the bassett was SO helpful!

savannah: I will try very hard to turn the page. I've turned it before, but then I keep turning back to peek...

Megan: I'm glad you did like reading it! I really am. I'm amazed at how much it bummed me out, but only after the fact. As I was writing it, I was actually enjoying the experience!

Random Chick: I am hanging my head out the car window like a dog, trying as hard as I can to get the fresh air!!! ; )

Baino: You know, I go back and forth on this. Sometimes I think it really is better just to face things and as you say try to reconcile. Then other times I think it's better to stuff things! Maybe a combination is a good compromise: face, then stuff.

Leah said...

Karen: thank you so much for your words. As always, thank you. All my joking aside, I'm in a horrible place right now. Just horrible.

It's interesting to hear you say that writing about stuff helped you, but it didn't help you right away. I wonder if I would get to a place where it was helpful. Perhaps...

xo

Leah said...

mago: drink pray work. In random order.

I really like that advice. I'm going to take it.

Willow: I think the image of the none more blacks just blowing away is a really excellent one!

Hunter: Okay, I have the good whiskey. Do you think my daughter would mind if I borrowed her gi? It needs a bit of bleach and an ironing, but it should do.

nick said...

It's a funny business, delving into the past. Sometimes it brings new insights and understanding and puts a spring in my step, other times old traumas seep into my consciousness and disturb me deeply. But I think even soaking up the old traumas can eventually have a liberating effect, if you let them work their way through the system.

I know exactly what you mean about enjoying writing a post and then afterwards being quite shaken by it because of some emotional morass it's stirred up.

underOvr (aka The U) said...

Hi Leah,

I have (for quite a few months now) read blogs written by you and those whom I call "my core group of bloggers I follow".

I am often awed by the honesty conveyed on a web page by someone I've never met.

I wish I could say something poignant but I think that these experiences are deeply personal and they must be handled in a manner comfortable. However you decide to handle this is fine. I do wish you all the best.

U

Ronda Laveen said...

Out of the darkness, comes the light. You know, a lot of heavy, black feelings that people experience are simply energies that belongs to someone else. When one is sensitive, it can be hard to filter out what belongs to you and what belong to others that you are picking up on.

I only know you from blogging, but I do not sense the darkness is you.

Jimmy Bastard said...

Och away hen. What you are experiencing is akin to the moments after childbirth. Let us look again at the amazing post you have created recently.

Nearly as wonderful as a newborn wean itself.

The moment of low will pass, and the feeling of achievment will continue to warm you again of a night.

mapstew said...

I have 'forgotten' a lot from my past, but every now and then it pokes it's head up out of the ground, or from around some corner and forces me to look into it's eyes and deal with it.

As a very good mutual friend said to me today,
"Strength....we all have it."

xxx

The Idle Devil said...

hope you're feeling better now.

kylie said...

i commiserate in a way but the truth is you've got me insanely curious about just why it was so disturbing :)
i hope you find that oddly funny, as i do and not just plain callous!

i can never stay far down for too long, it's just too depressing but when i do spiral i just cry till i'm kinda numb

lots of love to you leah.

Megan said...

Karen and Kylie are so awesome.

SO many times, I've come back to a post somewhere and read their comments and gone "oh, yeah, THAT'S what I was trying to get at but didn't have the words/time/concentration/empathy/brains to come up with"...

kylie said...

oh wow! megan, thats one of the best compliments ever!

Emerson Marks said...

I recommend a cold shower. It's no good for the pride though because it shrivels the old todger something rotten. Talking Spinal Tap – review of their album, Shark Sandwich – shit sandwich.

Abi said...

I was going to say something caring, I really was, but it has flown out of my mind after reading Emerson's comment and now my mouth is twitching all over my face while I try to remember...

Your writing *is* amazing... Do you think you're a bit like a writing Picasso - the best works come close on the heels of the very worst feelings... do look after yourself Leah xxx

Jasmine said...

Psychology plays tricks with us. Have you heard of motivational interviewing and ambivolence? I think of life and our hurdles as a tug of war, a tussel. Always two steps forward one step ack. ut we do advance :)

just bob said...

Catching up after 4 days on the road... I'm putting the last 2 1/2 years behind me too and moving on. Life's getting better!

Jennifer said...

It's true, some things are better left untouched. For me, I find the unspoken details are what get me in the end. I have to speak everything and get solace in trying to do it well. You do it very well, but I understand why you might want to withdraw from those details.

Knitter in an Urban Zoo said...

The way I see it is this:

When approaching said vault, be sure to be wearing protective equipment.

Take care of yourself and take it slow. The vault needs a smaller entry way so it doesn't all come out at once.

Liza said...

I see my past, I look at it quite often, but I have a hard time defining myself from it these days.
I am sorry for your dark state. Please know that your writing is exceptional, but none more than you. I hope that doesn't sound cheesy.
Enjoy your day.