I was ecstatic for about 15 minutes yesterday, and enjoyed that ecstasy very much. But, as these sorts of strong emotions usually go, the feeling was exceedingly fleeting.
You see, yesterday I closed out Adam’s legal estate. After months of facing mind-numbing paperwork, it was finally done. What a relief. On my personal facebook page I sought company for a champagne toast.
But before I could have a toast I needed to do an errand. I hadn’t been in the store for five minutes before my daughter texted me that one of her teachers, the mother of an infant son, has breast cancer. This woman is so bubbly and bright. She had just concluded the school year with a brilliant performance by her students (which made my cry, by the way), and endured the loss of her father-in-law in the midst of another performance in which she played a key role. I was devastated.
And then came the sinking feeling. I’d managed to convince myself to be elated at having closed out Adam’s estate, rather than letting it haunt me as just another marker of the end of his life. I’d even ignored the fact that our funeral director was sitting in the clerk’s chair minutes before I was. Trying to be glad to see him because he’s a great guy.
But as the sadness for this teacher began to overcome me, I started to feel, as well, the sadness for another friend who lost her mother on Mother’s Day. And then came my personal sadness on top of all that.
But I was in the middle of a shopping center where no one knew or cared what I was thinking about. Suddenly I couldn’t make any decisions about what I was shopping for. I left. Sometimes I can “shop-off” these feelings, so I gave that a try. But I couldn’t concentrate on anything and achieved nothing, frustrated.
For the rest of the day I was touchy. My blood pressure was high; I could feel it. I can feel it again today. I don’t know what to do with these feelings. I can’t ignore them. I feel like the whole world is just one great morass of misery. I’m taking too personally the crises of others and I know that’s not good for me but right now I’m helpless.
My summer schedule, which was going to offer some relief, blew up last night when I discovered that I’d recorded the wrong week for one of my kids’ camps, and that I was now obligated to start from scratch planning a trip to the beach.
How can you go from feeling strong and in a healthy place psychologically to a place of despair so quickly? And why can’t you get back to the happy place as quickly as you went into despair?