There are a few times a year when PMS knocks me for a loop. This has been one of those times- you know, one day things are fine, then the next day you want to crawl into the dark closet with a quilt over your head and just cry cry cry your heart out all day because you don’t know why but because.
I imagine this is a tiny taste of what depression might be like. Things go sideways and there isn’t really an explanation- just this deep feeling of everything and nothing all at once, but then there’s also intense impatience and quickness to anger that I’m not sure where to put. In an argument with my seven year old about getting ready for school I flipped him the bird and yelled “Fuck you!” at him. I picked a fight with my husband about the same thing we always are trying to work out. Twice. I came home from work and sat in the car sobbing for a long time before I wanted to come inside.
I can remember when I first got sober it was like a revelation when I could feel the crazy creeping up on me. I would start to feel impatient, and irrational, and weepy but I would know what it was: PMS. I never knew this before. Drinking I was always so off center because I was hungover and I felt like hell, guilty and ashamed. Sober I knew it was my wacky hormones being out of whack. Then I found an app that would keep track of it for me and it’s been lovely that as soon as I feel off kilter I peek at my app and yes- the concrete evidence is there. I am not just batshit crazy, I’m definitely not hungover; there’s a real reason for all these flying around feelings.
Again and again it seems like I am always looking for reasons for things. Reasons why I feel this way, or that way. Reasons why my seven year old can’t manage to get ready sometimes. Reasons why I have to be so feeling when it seems so easy for some people to be so blasé about it all. Reasons why people blow themselves up in Paris, why at a football game I can’t help but feel compassion for the losing team. I really wanted to go down on the field and say “Hey y’all, wouldn’t it be more fun to play football? And maybe after have some coffee and cookies?” It seems like I am always looking for explanations to make things that don’t make sense make sense. If I find the reason then I can find the solution and then I’ll be able to understand. Lately I’ve been having this urge to hold everyone in my heart because I want it all to be ok. Like a giant Kumbaya on crack. Which seems like an odd thing to say on a blog about addiction, but well, maybe you know what I mean.
I’ve been doing a lot of heart opening. I wish I could explain how you do this in steps and then it could be easy, but I don’t really know. There’s a lot of laying on the floor, getting my body on the ground. A lot of not concentrating on outcomes, a lot of not being the same as always. I didn’t really know it was happening to me until I just now thought about that it has been happening to me, but I did know too. It has been my intention, but I didn’t really realize that it was actually working until I thought about it. Which seems to be the case for every fucking thing- I set out to do it, kind of forget I’m doing it, but I’ve put that intention out there and so the universe is hard at work answering my prayers anyway. Then things get good, but also tough and sad, and then I remember my intention and feel awesome but also pissed off because dammit! Prayers are meant to be answered…ohhhhh, right.
There aren’t a lot of big things weighing on me- it’s all the little things that pile up together making a big thing. Actually it’s my attachment to all these little things that make a big thing. I’m reading about avidya (spiritual ignorance) and it makes so much sense- because I am afraid I become attached to these little things and I forget that I am already who I’m supposed to be. Because I am already who I’m supposed to be I don’t need to be afraid and attached. But I’m so attached to my attachment to the little things! Who am I if I’m not my idiosyncrasies or victories? Who is my self if I am not supported by these illusions?
Rolf Gates says, “Our pain is simply feedback from the universe: ‘No, that’s not it; no, that’s not it either. Oh yes, you are getting a little warmer, a little warmer. Ooops, you’re getting a little colder.'” I think that’s such a cool way to think about it- the universe playing the hot/cold game with me. It makes it easier to take when I feel so sad and lost inside, or when I’m feeding my arrogance and not my confidence. Such a simple message: change direction. Move to where you are comfortable, where it feels better. Too hot or too cold- move to where it feels good. I don’t have to all over everytime question it: Shouldn’t I push myself though? or Whoa! Is that too much? These are just things I can know how to answer.
The day I cried in the car after work was a big step for me. It wasn’t awesome to feel so sad, but it was awesome to let that sadness out- to feel my heart breaking and know that it was okay- I found the right spot in the hot/cold game. As soon as I yelled “Fuck you!” at my son I had a big peace come over me and I got quiet and said “I love you. Let’s stop fighting.” It took a minute, but he did, and grabbed me around the neck and we both cried. The right spot again. I often wonder who made the rule that hearts are wrong unless they’re singing?
Again and again I find my life to be so much like seasons: after winter must come spring. And then around around again. Slowly circling around the spiral reaching closer and closer to center. Sometimes the view is the same, again. Sometimes it’s all so new I don’t know where to look. It isn’t about arriving at the center though- it’s about getting there even though you’re already there. It’s about seeing when you’ve mistaken your pain for pleasure, and then healing along the way. It’s about taking a knowing look at yourself and understanding that the grace comes when you surrender and allow your prayers to be answered. Sometimes that’s the hardest thing to do, again and again.