Take today, for instance. I woke up feeling tired, as is becoming the norm, fulfilled my morning routine of taking care of the four footed furry brigade, making coffee, popping vitamins in the hopes that they might suddenly change me into those smiling, happy people in the TV ads. My usual emotion in the morning can be summed up in one word: ‘meh’. Fairly neutral for the start of the day.
I then sat down at my desk to go to work (as I said before, I am fortunate in that I can work from home) and, as usual, I popped into the social media black hole to check on friends, family, watch the latest trending videos, etc., before diving into the world of computer programming for the various clients I work for.
There was a video of a Chihuahua in the snow that had me laughing hysterically. I was happy, energized by the laughter. I felt great. My feelings riding high towards the apex of the highest point of the rollercoaster.
But then the inevitable happened. I automatically turned towards my husband’s desk to tell him about it and there it was – his empty chair. His computer screen dark. The paperwork stacked up in undecipherable piles, a little dusty, fluttering slightly from the ceiling fan. Suddenly, my emotions plummeted downward, so fast I almost couldn’t breathe.
This emotional rollercoaster started to twist and turn from despair to resignation to sorrow to, not acceptance, but at least acknowledgement. Whipping from one side to the other until it started to slow down and I could catch my breath.
The laughter was gone. It wasn’t the funniest thing I’ve ever seen anymore. It was just some stupid dog in the stupid snow and who cares anymore. So back to work I went, trying to hide myself in the problems and complexities of my job.
Eventually, I started to feel on more level ground. And by the time the work day ended, I was back to neutral in my ‘meh’ mode.
Later that evening, I settled on the bed to watch a little TV, cuddling with the four footed furry brigade, when suddenly I could feel myself relaxing. I was okay. I was comfortable. My feelings started to rise up towards that apex again.
But then a TV commercial came on about the Harry Potter theme park and I remembered that we had planned to go there. We enjoyed the movies, I loved the books. It was going to be so much fun. Once again, my feelings rode that screaming coaster all the way to the bottom. I was sobbing, grieving the loss of my best friend. My mind whirling from one plan to another that we had and will never get to do.
That emotional coaster went screaming through a tunnel. Dark and cold. Relentless in its speed and accuracy. I couldn’t get off. I had to ride it all the way through.
The four footed furry brigade did what they could to comfort me. The pup brought me every one of his toys. The older dogs leaned up against me or jumped in my lap, their warmth slowly spreading over me, pushing back the coldness.
As the coaster once again started to slow down, I wondered if I could get off for a little bit. But even though it stopped at the platform, the bar wouldn’t lift up to let me out. I was trapped in the car, surrounded by my feelings, ready to ride that rollercoaster again the next day.
Sadly, I am becoming familiar with this ride. I am starting to realize that eventually the ups and downs, twists and turns would stop…even if only for a moment, so that I can catch my breath before the next time. But I am still locked in this car. Doomed to ride it not once, but several times a day.
Only time will tell how long I have to stay on this rollercoaster. But at least I am beginning to understand that I can survive each trip.