for the uppers & downers.

how’s your temperament? are you as cool as a cucumber, always steady and even-keeled out? i envy you. i’m not sure if once in my life i’ve been on a straight line of emotion. i’m up or down or upside down or twirled around.

do you need a substance or something substantive to keep you on track? to make you feel normal or to make your highs more uppy or take the edge off of your lows? i empathize with you. while i may not choose the hardest of substances or choices to cope with my emotions, it has been a constant battle for all my life to feel some semblance of normalcy where my emotions are concerned. while some people can be happy without letting it overtake them, i’ve never seemed to be able to. i choose to ride the wave out until it subsides or until it goes crashing into the rocks, whichever comes first. nor can i, like some, feel low without it crushing me. while i’ve grown to be more aware of my shifting emotions and try as best i can to give them to the lord, i’ve found that there’s no way to change this sensitive spirit i’ve been given. in all my extremes, it’s difficult not to let it give way to hopelessness with no seeming end or to exhilaration that i expect to last forever. i know either terminates eventually but it can feel like a long ride til death (too far?).

to you who are in command of your emotions, who can feel happy and sad without it consuming you, this is a gift. we crazies need you. your steady spirit soothes us. it makes us feel like everything may be okay. but we need you to know something – our struggles (like yours) are often of immense pain and sorrow. we can’t be fixed or solved or made into something other. we aren’t being melodramatic (most of the time) but we feel deep and big. i know what you’re thinking — if we could just see the REASON in it (or that it’s lacking), you’d help us come to our senses. well, my darling friend, that may be so but we have sensitivities more than senses. so you just buckle up for our roller coaster and we promise to cry and laugh alongside you in equal measure in your grief and joys.

to you who are of my own kind, i’m sorry. i know this roller coaster can be riveting and revolting. it can make you sick to think that your pain will never end, that your darkness has no glimmer. but this too is a gift. you are in tune with so much that others aren’t. you can walk 10 miles in someone’s shoes. with them. while crying. you can create better than the best of them because often these huge feelings give way to vulnerable art. you can both soar with the wind of joy and dive deep into the depths of pain and not let it kill you. it will make you a wiser, kinder, more empathetic human. it will. but if you dull it with food or drink or friends or pity or sex or drugs or with anything, you will be dulled. you will miss out on the transformation available to you when you traverse into the crevices of the valleys of your deepest pain and survive by the will and power of god. you will fail to see the beauty that god gives us in our most joyous, harmonious moments. you will neither stand amazed nor astonished as you dull every drop of life into monotony. it will kill you. because although often it may feel like death is a more suitable option, what you really desire is “life and life to the full”, that which the devil himself comes to “steal, kill, and destroy” (john 10:10). so live it. live to the breadth and depth of all god offers us on earth. don’t let depression or sadness or exhilaration or temporary happiness or temporary ANYTHING steal what jesus came to give us by his death on the cross. grace and mercy abundant. life everlasting. a day when there will be no more suffering and no more tears. until then, enjoy this glorious ride he’s given us.

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