May 10, 2011

on shame and fickle companions

A few days ago I experienced what is a recurring situation in my life. I went through a few days where my mind seems to be on crack and the very last thing I want to do is go to bed. After going through this every single month for the last couple of decades, I am starting to learn that giving in to this hyperactive mind, and allowing it to keep me up late at night, results in several things.
Some of those things are really good. A creativity sets in that I otherwise don't usually experience quite so overwhelmingly, and I sometimes end up creating things that I can later look back on with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. It is also during these late hours that I find exciting new bands to listen to, read stimulating and inspiring stories, play my guitar/sing and feel like I'm really finally in that 'zone' of musicality, have serious and meaningful communication with my husband, draw or take photographs, talk to some new and interesting people in various online communities, or talk to the people I already know but love and miss because they live in opposite time zones to me. 

Sometimes I become so inspired that I just want to run outside at 3am and start knocking on doors to spread the excitement. Which I never do, of course. That would be a good way to ensure a future inside a mental facility at best, and public stoning at worst.
Then there is the other, shadier side of the medallion. The side that usually hits me hard the next day with its headaches, weariness, impatience, low brain power, and feelings of general inadequacy. The side that sometimes can't even wait until the next day and so chooses to rear its ugly head right smack in the middle of my wonderful wakeful night, with sudden feelings of disconnection and isolation. Because the condition that makes the night such a great time to give in to impulses and creativity and work out ideas, is the same condition that is a cause of much loneliness: the night is quiet. The night is dark. The night is a temptress and a planter of bad idea seeds, and I don't know about you, but at 2am I don't have the best fuel resources to withstand its pull. Hence, bad decisions are sometimes made and those are the times I feel most alone. Because my solitude is then accompanied by shame. And the less you talk about shame, the more you feel it, the more isolated you become. Enter vicious circle.
Aha, so that's why I'm babbling on like this. I'm hoping that if I communicate my stupidity, my shame, my humanity, I'll be able to break the vicious circle that can actually start in a good place where my mind is active and I'm taking advantage of that by sacrificing a couple of hours of sleep, but spins progressively out of control from there on to the point where I spend a full 24 hours in a zombie-esque state of shameful withdrawal and apathy.

The night is a fickle companion to me and I am not sure I'll ever figure out a way to achieve a pleasant, balanced, friendly relationship with it. And should I even want it because doesn't getting rid of deep, dark lows inherently also mean excluding exhuberant highs?

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