Raging Against Emotions

Three days ago, I got some of the best news of my life: my first publication acceptance. It’s something I’ve worked so hard for, and it’s so so so exciting. I’m finally about to be a published writer. A literary journal that I really love picked up one of my short stories. It’s a dream come true, and it made me overwhelmingly happy.

So then why did I end the day crying yesterday? Nothing bad happened to upset me. I actually had a really lovely day yesterday. Not only was I still reveling in the congratulations still flowing in from friends and loved ones, but my students were on fire with class discussion, making it an almost perfect teaching day. I went out with friends later in the day and had a good time.

But I ended the night crying for no reason. I got really mad at myself about it, which of course only made it worse. And I spent the entire day today in my pj’s watching TV and feeling sorry for myself. But sorry about what? What do I have to feel bad about? I’m supposed to be happy. The last few days have been great, so where the hell did this pity party come from? I’m still mad at myself about it.

I know. You can’t reason with mental illness. It’s irrational. But I can’t stand the fact that I’m supposed to be happy, that I want to badly to be happy, but I can’t feel anything but sad right now. And that seems really fucked up.

And I really don’t even want to talk about it because I feel like I sound so ungrateful and pathetic, and that’s not how I want to sound. That’s not how I want to be.

I’m trying to forgive myself for feeling down, for not being happy, but that’s hard. My therapist is trying to help me learn to let the sadness sit there instead of trying to fight it or focus on it, but I haven’t gotten to that point yet.  I don’t understand how that works yet. My first response has always been to beat myself up over things like this. Old habits are so hard to break.

7 thoughts on “Raging Against Emotions

  1. How you feel is how you feel and like your therapist says, there should be no judgment on that. Glad you’re working on it! I don’t have a mental illness but I have noticed at times when good things happen and I’m feeling great, it is sometimes followed by a feeling of sadness. Not sure why. Anyway, congratulations on your wonderful achievement!

  2. Congratulations and well done! 🙂

    And don’t feel ashamed about crying and your emotional highs-and-lows. I do it myself – and usually after crying, whether for good reasons or bad, I feel much better. Crying is like a release valve.

    1. It’s true. I fully believe that a good cry makes you feel better. I just wish I didn’t need to cry. When I got the news, I though, “Good. I’ll be happier now. Hopefully I’ll stop being so depressed all the time,” as if that’s how it works.

  3. Congrats on the wonderful news!

    A thought on the sadness….only my personal experience but maybe something to consider….

    When I have had long term goals that were huge and seemed unattainable much of the time – when I achieve the goal, grab the brass ring…I am almost immediately sad, forlorn, lost. I figured out for me what it is. Goal met, project complete. Now what? Every second of every day was consumed with thoughts and actions working towards the goal. Then when I reach it, I have nothing. And I get sad.

    It’s as if I am defined by the journey and when the journey is over, I don’t know who I am.

    1. You make a good point. As soon as the excitement fades, it’s definitely a matter of “Now what?”

      I had an immediate new goal—get another publication—but thinking about continuing the process was hard. It’s exhausting, and part of the hope of reaching the goal was to have a break. But really, there’s no break. It’s back to work. More of the same.

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