Why are my feelings so fleeting lately?
Am I the only one trapped on this roller coaster?
Over a month ago, I left my friend’s sunny porch awash in the feeling of wholeness. Everything felt light as I walked to my car. I was full of friendship and the rare glory of (masked) face-to-face conversation. I was untouchable. By the time I pulled into my driveway ten minutes later, it was gone.
I’m not sure what it is, but lately my emotions have bizarrely short life spans. I’ll be deeply sad, but it doesn’t linger more than a few hours. Seeing a friend would typically keep me buoyant with joy for a full day, but now it passes almost as soon as the reunion is over.
It’s nice in that the hard emotions — the anxiety, the sadness, the fear—don’t last for long, but the roller coaster makes me feel even more unmoored than usual. I miss the stability of knowing that if X thing happens, I’ll probably feel Y for at least Z amount of time. Now I’m happy and scared and sad all in one hour over and over again and it just makes me so anxious.
I’ve been trying to figure out why this is in some sort of attempt to gain a semblance of control over the emotional whirlwind occurring in my body and brain. I think it must be tied to the pandemic, right? But all of the research and writing is about how the pandemic is making us fall deeper into anxiety and depression, and I can’t be the only one trapped on this roller coaster of heightened and fleeting emotion in every direction.
It’s also particularly disorienting because my typical coping mechanisms don’t really work in this paradigm. Typically when I’m stressed or sad I can go paint or talk to a friend and it’s like hitting a refresh button, but now that just gives me a brief break. Now, as I’m writing this I’m like, “Oh, maybe I should ask my doctor if I should rejigger my anxiety meds.”
But it also seems strange to have made it this far into the pandemic and to have held it mostly together only to become a volcano and an ocean trench all at once just as I’m a couple weeks out from my second shot. Maybe it’s the numbness wearing off.
I feel like this is the first essay in a while I’ve written where I can’t wrap it up well. I don’t know how to tie this into a bow, I just know that writing is a coping mechanism, and I feel so many things all at once right now that if I don’t put this out into the world I think I might burst into laughter and tears and just drown.
I guess I just want to know if you’re feeling this too?