“Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.” ~ Emily Post
For the last three weeks I’ve been feeling what I’ve been tentatively describing as better. As in, like, actually better. In the head.
Up until now when I’ve realised that I’ve felt better it’s always just been better in relation to how poorly I’ve been. Still agonisingly, demoralisingly far away from actually being well again.
This time I really think I’m getting back to something approaching ‘normal’.
And it seems to have happened over night.
One minute I was hiding out in my flat, flipping out every time the postman came to the door, only venturing out in the dark of night. The next I found myself making a conscious effort to try to reconnect with people, organising lunch dates, making trips to the cinema, and doing my grocery shopping in the middle of the day.
It’s taken me a little by surprise – and it’s still too new for me to start feeling confident that it’s not just a temporary respite – but it’s a point that even as recently as a month ago I thought I’d never reach.
Now this is all, of course, pretty great. But something kind of strange is also happening.
You see, while I’ve been sick, and depressed, and traumatised, I haven’t really been feeling much of anything. I’ve been numb to near enough every feeling besides worry and despair.
But in the last couple of weeks I’ve been feeling lots of things.
Lots of normal things, I think – hunger, boredom, contentment, anticipation, enjoyment, impatience, amusement – that sort of thing.
The problem is that I’m having quite a bit of trouble identifying them individually. And how it is that each particular feeling has arisen. I’ve become so alienated from my feelings, through having been unable to experience them for so long, that I’m having a hard time recognising what they are when I feel them.
Okay, hunger I’m probably okay with.
But otherwise I’m feeling somewhat confused – okay, so I’m good on confusion as well, but for the rest of them I’m at a loss – by my feelings quite a lot of the time.
It doesn’t help that I think I’m experiencing a slightly delayed reaction to things. Presumably because I’m so out of practice at reacting to anything in any way besides excessive panicking. So that something could happen on, say, Sunday, and my emotional reaction to it might not kick in until Thursday.
Which is less than helpful for identification purposes.
I’m hoping that it’s like running, something that you get better and quicker at with practice, and that it’s all just a matter of time before I’m back up to speed.
Although, if I’m being completely honest, acknowledging and processing my feelings has never been something that I’ve been amazingly good. Which I suppose is one of the reasons I’ve been having so much trouble in the first place.
I’ll keep working on it.
In the meantime I now can’t get this song out of my head.