It’s not always clear to me why I cry sometimes. It seems that it is simply an emotional outlet triggered by a range of events. It is a mixture of the good and the less good, and the trigger can come way after the event. It suggests to me that the struggle of living over the past nearly six years feels like you exist on a taut line. Most of the time I am not conscious of this tautness and just get through each day as it comes. But I become conscious of this at certain key moments which eventually trigger a necessary response.
A series of negative events, taken individually I think I appear to take quite well. But if I stopped to think my internal stress wire is being twisted ever tighter until it’s tautness is palpable. In company I rarely let this show, that is the male in me I guess, though six years of hormone therapy suggests that my ‘stiff upper lip’ is not as stubborn as it once was. At some point these events come together at a trigger, sometimes unconnected at all. It can be a TV programme going over the same kind of event, it can be a casual question from someone and for once I think and hear my answer and it saddens me. Then I feel that tear forming. It sometimes is too hard not to, though it is as likely to happen when alone as when with people.
When I am with people I am engaged and both the mundane and the heavy conversations are shared, the burden is somehow shared, and that stress wire normally does not snap. Indeed the therapeutic value of talking about some of my health issues and challenges does loosen that wire, helps me make sense of the world a little more and even a casual unrelated conversation can do that. I value talking so much.
Good things happening to me also bring the same tensions. I sometimes sense the fleeting nature of these engagements and also get into weighing up whether they will happen again. The finite nature of my life can hit me in the most odd and seemingly innocuous way. I can see an article about the next Ashes Cricket in England and think that will be great and then think but I doubt if I will make it. Of course I know I’ve been here before and got to see events I never thought I would, another Christmas, my lovely annual dinner with my kids in February, my annual BBQ now heading towards its 7th year. Yet it is this paradox which pulls on the wire and if I allow it my reflections can be more tearful than I would believe.
I think it is part of the pressing nature of illnesses like mine which force introspection and reflection and so the wires become taut and must have an outlet. I have to say this does not make me feel sad, the release of crying can be a joy which acts restoratively. It does not lead me into despair, or self-pity or depression. It is a moment where the tautness snaps and a wave of emotion occurs.
I am ever more conscious of how I spend my time each day but I am trapped by how I feel. Plans to do something, anything, seem always provisional and I simply have to recognise when it’s not happening. I think these ‘cancellations’ have increased and in that very real sense I feel some regression further into my ill health. It’s not failing yet, so I don’t want readers to take that from this piece, but I am on a continuous journey which is steadily, identifyingly, on a set trajectory. It’s uneven, it has many upturns and surprises but it’s persistence belies any false sense of overblown reality as to where I am heading. Some days the stress lines are felt and I need a release and this is when some tears will come, often unbidden and some day after the more likely triggers.
Our bodies are so complex, our emotions so conditioned by social circumstance and our mental health. I am really lucky that my body copes so well day by day that I have not felt any drift into hopelessness, nihilistic thoughts or worse. My sense of self remains quite strong and when something goes twang, ever so briefly, there is a release, a sustenance in the simplicity of tears.
I am smiling, almost laughing as I write this because my latest ‘twang’ has come and gone and I feel good again. I have had a great day overall, seeing some loyal old friends but also regretting that this was accompanied with a bad day with one of my health issues. So I guess there were two twangs happening together, the joy of reciprocal friendship and the sadness of my failing body.
I was conscious it’s two or three weeks since I blogged and I was struggling for a theme. As I was reflecting on this a trigger, unbidden, arrived. I thought I’d write to try and make sense if it. You will let me know if it has any resonance for you. For me it’s a cup of tea and a bit of TV, a rich combination which ensures I remain routed in engaging.
My week in photos