Emotional Recession


“Something’s rotten in the state of Denmark.” In high school, I learned that this line from Hamlet hints that people sense depreciation of some sort, but it is ill defined. Depleted, irritable, pessimistic, I have felt jostled in my negativity this past week. I am easily wounded. I want to be around others and to be social in one hour and then the next find ways to escape from having to pretend to be my usual upbeat self. I am touchy. Literally, get your hands off of me, and figuratively, why won’t you touch me?

Single people are less likely to donate blood, get a tattoo, or schedule invasive medical exams (um…think prostrate). Researchers postulate that being partnered make us less anxious about our bodily reactions. I think that’s quite a jump. I just think being in a relationship sometimes is a good distraction from over thinking everything (“get a dog” three people have told me in the past four days). I wonder if I was with someone if his company would make me more irritable right now or less irritable. Would having some one else bartering for my mental facilities be a good distraction, or annoying?

The realistic response is both. It is easy to assume that once we arrive at certain experiences in our lives, that we’ll no longer have off weeks, like the one I am having now. We blame fleeting emotions and lows on global states like: being single, being 30, being in transition. But I also have to point out something constant about me: I am never constant. I feel as if I am ALWAYS in transition. And most of the time, I really, really sort of rebelliously dig that about me. I somewhat realize that makes others a bit uncomfortable, especially possible romantic partners. I’ve been told that it is my way of protecting myself from serious romantic engagement. But my gumption, my self-induced “treatment,” also tends to be the shine-iest attribute.

So, I connect in pieces. As I am able. These words, both confessional and egotistical, alleviate a patch of rottenness and re-invigorate the landscape.

I’d back away now before I change my tune.

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4 thoughts on “Emotional Recession

  1. This comment is in response to this posting and to your most recent post prior to this one — I can very much identify with your restlessness… I am turning 30 next month and, although I am currently in “one place” and will be for the next two years or so, I am guaranteed to be in transition again once I graduate with the Ph.D. and am forced to move to wherever I am so lucky to land a job. Right now, I feel like I’m finally “in the right place” for probably the first time in my 29 years of existence. But I am simultaneously well aware that my “right place” right now is by no means permanent, and I will once again have to expose my self and my weaknesses when I shift places and try to make my future “right” for me in a completely different situation, where people don’t already know “me” and my attendant strengths and weaknesses.

    It’s exhausting. And yet… It’s kind of wonderful at the same time.

    Good luck to you in this scary but special time, Ms. K!

    – Lisa at Onely

  2. I can totally relate. I have been going through the same things in the past few days. Ups and downs.

    And I have a dog and when I am irritable, I get irritable with her for doing the same things that I think are adorable when I am happy. Same goes for when I have been in a relationship.

    And I think that some people keep growing and changing and transitioning. And, I know that for me, this is the reason that I have not found a mate. The person I was five years ago is not compatible with the person who could put up with me today. And visa versa.

    Some folks find ways to change and grow within relationship, other people stunt their growth out of fear of losing a relationship and some people break up. And then there are people like me who hold out for what seems like forever.

    I’m still figuring out who I am. And right now my identity is going through yet another earthquake. Its overwhelming and slightly obnoxious. But the alternative is to quit growing and be stuck at age 16 or 18 or 25 or whatever. When I go back to my hometown I see what the alternative is to my earthquakey life and I am just grateful for the chaos.

  3. In response to Anonymous’s comment (which I’m not entirely sure was directed toward my comment, but it seems like it was), I’d ask, “What makes single life NOT happy?” That’s the whole problem. We (and by “we” I mean American culture writ large) automatically think that to be single (and settled, or not) means that we’re lacking something and that we should desire MORE. Once graduating with the Ph.D. and finally settling, THEN what? Ummm, how about: Trips overseas? Planting a garden? Research and publication? Playing with my dog? Making friends and sustaining old relationships?

    I don’t desire “more” if it means I must be in a relationship. And it’s wonderful.

    — Lisa

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