It’s seems such an easy thing, for everyone has an idea of what their own joy looks like.
So why is it I cannot feel the emotion? Instead, I play defense and do anything I can to avoid joy. Joy is a risk. And suddenly I cannot figure out a way to take a risk. I’ve got depression on the run, or at least sitting in the back row.
Why chance depression’s return by taking a risk?
Now I interact with fear and sadness all the time. And I do not spend time deciding if these actions will attract depressions attention and push me back towards the abyss. I’ll do fear in a minute, but sadness… Well, I’m not sure if I am experiencing sadness. Sometimes it is just the absence of joy. Not feeling sadness, and especially not feeling joy leaves one in limbo.
I feel numb, like I’m plodding through each day without either emotion.
What this does is move me back up the triangle to inhibitory emotions. Anxiety, leads to shame, which makes me feel guilty. Heck I sometimes feel guilty, and I wasn’t even there. I feel guilty because I know about something, or someone. And even though I did not cause their problem, my sense of duty allows me to feel guilty that I wasn’t there, that I wasn’t involved.
How can I do something about a problem if I don’t know the problem exists?
I felt excitement for a few minutes in October. I made the final payment to the guide service we are using when we climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. As I hit send, my heart felt lighter. I may have even cracked a smile. For a few moments, I felt like doing my happy dance.
Of course, I couldn’t stay in an excited state for more than a few minutes.
Being joyful and excited was too risky. I needed to bring it down a notch so as not to draw attention to myself. Protecting myself from perceived harm keeps me in a state of almost constant sadness, and fear. But again, it is not so much sadness as it is a lack of joy. I’m repeating myself yet the point is there are shades of grey areas in identifying these core emotions.
Defining joy, or sadness is easier if I just call it a lack of either feeling.
And I know that getting out of doors will help change how I feel. We fly from the USA to Frankfurt, Germany and then on to Kilimanjaro airport, The day after arrival in Africa, we begin our ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro, whose summit is 29,431 feet above sea level.
I cannot imagine not feeling excitement and even joy on the trip.
So, I know that I am looking forward to the trip. It has been om my bucket list for at least 15 years, And I am going with two of my adult children and a family friend. What a great group to be with. With the travel and the climb and the summiting of the mountain, there won’t be any time for a lack of emotions.
It will be me against the altitude, as we climb high and sleep low.
I wont have anytime to study my lack of emotions. Action will be the word of each day. A guide and an assistant, a cook, and 15 porters will round out our expedition. Everything from food to tents must be brought up the mountain, moving daily as we get closer to the summit. The final push to the summit begins around midnight, reaching Uhura peak as the sun rises over Tanzania.
Who knows, I might turn the corner of the change triangle and end up in an openhearted state.
From there I will be able to feel calm, connected, and most importantly confident. My attitude about the mountain and its altitude will in large part determine my outcome. And in my mind, there is only one outcome and that is to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro, 19,431 feet above sea level.
Writing this out I am already feeling anxiety and guilt flowing away from me.
With only 19 days left until we leave, I will focus my attitude on what I can control. Only I can decide how I will look at events. This is a very powerful thought, that only I have complete control of my attitude. And I will make it proud of me as depression and I head out on this adventure.