Thursday, February 15, 2007

Cap'n Moody

For the past few months, I've been waging an ongoing battle with what, thanks to the film Fierce Creatures, I always think of as my "black moods." It's not a constant thing, with the moods waxing and waning at alarming rates; if we could somehow harness the potential energy of my mood swings, we could probably power Denton for a month.

For the most part, the black moods tend to strike when I'm all alone. If I'm at work, or church, or hanging out with HyperForce 3000, I'm usually pretty safe; it's when I'm driving, or trying to go to sleep, or trying to get up in the morning, or even trying to blog that the downswing sets in. A lot of it is worry: I worry that I've ticked somebody off, and try to figure out how I can rectify it; I worry about friends who are at odds and try to think of how I can mend fences; I worry about friends who are going through rough times, and try to decide how I can help; and, of course, that old standby, I worry about how other people perceive me and act towards me and try hard not to care, with limited results. Oh, sure, there are other worries that creep in from time to time (money, work, etc.), but those first few are the most consistent.

Recently I watched Dane Cook's Vicious Circle special, in which he did a routine about how women are brain ninjas, able to make the tiniest comment which will embed itself in your brain, only to detonate at a later date, causing all sorts of mental havoc. I can relate to that*, except for me pretty much everyone I know is a brain ninja, throwing little timebomb comments at me without ever realizing it. Heck, it doesn't even have to be a comment, it can be a look, or a gesture, or a general vibe that I've probably conjured up entirely in my head. And let's not even get started on the "Cap'n Cellophane" moments, of which I've had a few recently. It's kind of depressing just how easily my mental equilibrium can be upset.

Of course, since I've already said that the black moods tend to dissipate when I'm around others, you might be thinking to yourselves, "What's the big deal?" Well, I will admit that the black moods can be banished fairly easily these days as opposed to during my younger, more neurotic days.** However, while the fun and fellowship of my friends can alleviate the black moods***, that doesn't mean that there are no adverse effects when the moods do strike. When the darkness sets in, I have trouble falling asleep, and am not well rested even when I do; it's a struggle getting myself out of bed to face the world; I can't focus on anything productive; all in all, until I can get some interaction to pull me out of my funk, I'm a miserable excuse for a human being. At times, I think that part of my problem is that I am inherently self-destructive, and that I'm so uncomfortable being happy that I find ways to make myself depressed; it’s like I can’t fully enjoy the good times because I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop, or like I keep waiting for the people around to realize that they really don’t want me around after all. Paranoia, thy name is Cap’n Neurotic.

As usual, this post is more for my benefit than anyone else's; consider it a bit of metaphorical trepanation, with me opening up my skull to relieve some of the pressure that's built up there. Like they say, the first step is admitting you have a problem, and boy, do I have a problem. But, baby-steps to mental health and all that; with luck, getting this out of my head and onto the web will speed up the move to happier days ahead.

Otherwise, it’s on to the Prozac.

*I can also relate to his "sometimes you just have to cry" bit, which struck just a *bit* too close to home
**The fact that I've been having my head handed to me regularly at racquetball by PigPen and have yet to have a total meltdown should be testimony enough to this
***With the irony, of course, being that most of the black moods stem from things that happen during these happy-go-lucky get-togethers.


sally axhandle said...

welcome to the family kid. I can't say it is nice to know that this thing has passed to your generation. I can still worry about looks, remarks, etc., from years past, even back to my high school days and that is really a long time ago. I read somewhere that your brain cannot differentiate a real laugh from a forced laugh and produces endorphins regardless. The article said the best cure for the blues (for lack of a better term) was making yourself laugh. I have tried it while I am home alone. I haven't had the nerve to try it when anyone else is around. They already think I am nuts. Hang in there. Tomorrow is another day and all that stuff.