Feeling Bad

Feeling bad chronically I would say is a sign of Depression.  But why do we feel bad?  And what do our early childhood experiences have to do with it? 

I remember being traumatized by a jealous grandmother who took things away from me and shipped them to her daughter in Greece, my Aunt Helen.  Imagine taking something away from an 8 year old that is beloved?  Essentially stealing it.  She was a stupid woman.  Petty, spiteful, stingy, a thief, —  Imagine the role model!

She was a cruel woman who liked to frighten me by putting a full sized blanket over her head and pretend she was the boogey man who terrified me.  The only character I can compare her to is the Wicked Witch in Frank Baum’s novel, The Wizard of Oz — only worse.

Now surely I must have had a sense of humor to survive such a woman.  Even as a child I could see how absurd she was, and in need of help.  But I always also remember how her husband, my grandfather, abandoned her after the daughter was born, and fled to America, where he stayed until he went back to get his wife, now an old woman.  I remember stories that sounded horrid to me — how she tied up her kids so she could work the fields for their food and shelter, for example — and my father defended her for her actions.  He had a lot of respect for his mother.  She was a single parent, after all, in 1921. There was no precedent. 

But I see I have veered way off course here.

Feeling bad.  That’s what we excel at — those who are affected by the Affective Disorders of the Brain — we are good at feeling bad.  Nobody can feel as bad as we do, we think.  And even though each story is different (one of the fascinating things about it) there are common characteristics that emerge, but no reliable pattern.

It’s not hard to make me feel bad.  I felt bad when my Modern Dance teacher told me I was looking “too much like a Ballerina.”  I should have said, “So?”  But instead I started to fret and worry about looking too much like a Ballerina, and wondered what I should do to change that, so I cut down on my Ballet classes, which was a mistake.

And yet, such a seemingly simple comment can have a radical affect on how we behave.

Weather Report

It’s a beautiful Spring morning.  The temperatures are hovering steadily around 60.  A puff of clouds, very thin, streak the sky.  It’s a beautiful day to be out, right under the sun.  I have the perfect balcony for that.  So I spend the morning absorbing as much sun as possible.

The weather for me has always been a metaphor for my mood fluctuations.  I used that in a poem I wrote while Hypomanic and in College many years ago.  It seems so perfect.  It fits snugly.  Um.  What will today feel like?  Today will be dark and cloudy.  Rain possible.  Damn.  What a pity.  Look.  It’s sunny outside.