~ You know how people have mood swings? Seemingly random intervals of good and bad moods, in the same day, sometimes in the same hour, or same minute. Mental or physical, they have a serious effect on people and their interactions. Folks actually change. They can dictate the terms of the tenor of events to come, for a time. To some degree, everyone experiences these phenomena of mood swings.
I have mood swings too. But something similar sometimes happens to me, except a bit different, a bit grander. It’s more than just my mood that swings. It’s my whole character, my whole fate, my soul —
— it swings.
Temporarily, the whole theme of my lived experience alters itself.
I have these moments where I am thinking about nothing, or about a recurring idea I’ve been having, or media or material I have been distracting myself with, or talking with someone I genuinely care about, and then the next moment— I have a strikingly cold realization settle onto the aura of my person, bringing about suddenly devastating ruminations: ~ I will more than likely die alone ~ I am currently a part of a history people a millennia from now will read about ~ I have nothing currently going in my life that I passionately care about ~ I am on a rock, hurtling through the void, around a ball of radiant fire, within an even larger space of unknown experience which stretches into infinity ~ I am not sure what anyone really thinks of me and it eats away at me even though I try to hide away from it, and I am not sure how to seek or maintain true companionship ~ I am going to die one day and that singular moment awaits me even now, no matter how soon or how far ~ etc.
You get my point, I hope. It’s a thought or sentiment which is bigger than the moment I find myself in. And often terribly so, it is bigger than my life itself. It is more than just a mood, and it is more than I can handle.
It doesn’t have to be entirely true. You know how your mind can just go off sometimes. It might be something I’ve never given serious thought to; or it might be something I see resurfacing from bouts of deep contemplation; it might be a heavily embedded, unconscious fear which has taken temporary hold of me because it’s never been given the chance before. Either way, it serves a shock to my system, swinging me into an anxious reverie which blasts my current state of mind into a default mode of unconscious anxiety. It constitutes a rumination on a daydream as random as it is appalling.
I haven’t found a way to escape these swings of the soul. At the same time, I think many of these moments should not be escaped, and maybe they should be considered and embraced. But then there’s also nothing I can do with these thoughts! They are big and existential, inescapable and fleeting. There’s no easily discernible work to throw myself into, progressing towards their resolution; no steady solution to alight myself to. It’s all rather illusory when I hone in on what’s really happening and what I am really thinking about. I can sometimes rationalize why that kind of thought flashing in my head is irrational, even meaningless. But when I try to, and then I still happen see a modicum of truth, it shatters my whole mood. And it’s more — it is shaping the state of my soul at that given moment, and going forward. These ruminations carry with them a potential state of mind. With the expectation it will be recursive, my anxieties and my contemplations compound. It becomes routine but no less distressing. Weights are carried henceforth.
Forgive me for sounding overly dramatic, but it’s difficult to describe beyond that it is more than just ‘mood.’ It’s as if I can switch into the middle of an ongoing existential crisis at any given moment, unheeded and unbidden, like the flick of a switch. And it’s one I have been having for the better part of a decade. My mind simply reaches into a stream of my consciousness that is always there but sometimes obscured. It certainly affects my social interactions, colors my communication skills, and makes it require that much more exertion for me to stay active in whatever momentary interaction I find myself in.
Maybe it’s just a side effect of my increasingly introverted tendencies. This is how my body defends against my outbursts of extraversion — by hitting a killswitch forcing me to quickly develop an exit strategy to return to me-time, where I am safe and think myself to be in control. My body & subconscious mind is trying desperately to protect itself from a perceived threat or something. e.g. people getting to know me. I don’t know. Maybe it wants me to be alone; more and more it is getting its wish.
The truth is, I can’t rid myself of these feelings. There are no immediate solutions. Eventually, after wrestling with it for a spell, my rational soul will shift back to one of energy & enthusiasm for the things I know I am passionate about. I return to what I think my default state to be. Perhaps the reversal is just another blinding flash of my neurology denying me extended pain. It’s all a process of expungement; just more thoughts which get repeatedly swept away for the sake of my own well being, and for my own sanity. These swings perhaps being a neurologically necessity, a continuous practice of cognitive dissonance within the self; an engine of double-thinking catharsis preparing and making me stronger for continued existence in an absurd world. I have to live both extremes, sometimes, to understand either. Maybe.
Of course, these swings do happen both ways. I can slot into a good mood where I am sociable, humorous, creatively pursuing something, perhaps even pleasant to be around and to collaborate with. This state necessarily cannot be maintained; I am even able to realize and observe its out-of-character turn for me in the moment of its occurrence, smiling as I do.
I am often astounded at how well I can mentally recover from the worst kinds of swings, battling back to be myself after particularly low bouts of the depressive states I am prone to. Somehow, sometime after these brief swings, I just forget the shit and bounce back. I guess with familiarity and experience comes improvement, even in the realm of the existentially noxious soul swing.
It’s much to think on. Two things are for sure though —
1) the “soul swings” are a lot to deal with
and 2) they aren’t going away anytime soon. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ~