Examining Separation Anxiety

It has occured to me that I need to wash my hair. Actually, it had—past tense—occured to me several days ago, though I have not yet actually done anything about it. This is because I do not have any shampoo in my apartment, and though it stands to reason that I should probably go buy some at the supermarket two blocks away, I have not done that either. Truth be told, I haven’t done anything in the past several days except work on web sites, eat, sleep, and fantasize about my sweet heart returning from California. I had been counting the days on my PDA‘s calendar, but that quickly got depressing so I stopped.

To help myself cope, I’ve been re-reading Emotional Intelligence, by Daniel Goleman. In it, he describes everything about emotions in neurological terms. Some might find this frightening or consider the idea that their most passionate, most depressing, and most pleasureable feelings are "nothing more" than chemicals in their brains, but I find the reverse to be true. It is enormously comforting to understand that all of what I am feeling is neurological, physical on some level, and thus under my control.

Distracting myself helps a lot.

To keep my mind off sad thoughts of loneliness, I’ve been coding web sites, as I said earlier. But this is more than just a tactic to keep myself from falling into low spirits, this is a conscious decision to practice better emotional health by being more emotionally intelligent. That is, more emotionally aware of how I am feeling. To that end, this blog is helping greatly. Even after a mere two entries (and some time distracting myself with new web projects), I feel better than I have in two weeks. I still miss my sweet heart like hell, but at least the suffering is becoming more manageable all the time. The pain of her absence is not going away, though. I don’t really expect it too.

Writing helps me verbalize emotions, which provides a blueprint for handling them better.

On a more general note, it has been way too long since I stopped writing regularly. Not only have my skills in this area noticeably decreased, but so has my ability to verbalize my emotions. In general I have never been better, but I can sense that I am not as sharp in instantly identifying my emotions as they arise as I used to be. This is not good.

Identifying my feelings is the first step towards having control over them. When I feel something, I am not necessarily aware that I am feeling it until I can tell myself something like, "That’s sadness you feel." This is the hardest part, because it requires my mind to look inward. I am lucky that I’m naturally introverted; I couldn’t begin to imagine how hard this must be for people for whom this is a completely new experience. Sometime after that, I can usually identify the source. It sounds something like, “You miss her, and you feel lonely living alone for the first time.” It becomes easier to do this each time it occurs.

Sad thoughts are easier to examine than happy thoughts.

But that’s all about sad thoughts. It appears that it is easier to do this type of self-reflective thought with sad thoughts than with happy ones. When I’m happy, I rarely bother to examine those emotions. I don’t question them, because they are good. Even when I am clearly manic, such as the past two days when I had slept a total of 4 hours and did nothing but code a web site’s CSS, it was obvious that I was in an elated (though "altered") mood. Yet why question such a productive turn of events? After all, I did get a lot done.

Ah well. More musings to follow.