Thursday, March 11, 2010

Waiting for the big one

"Hope you feel better soon" is one of those things we all say when someone is feeling like shite. Consequently, it's also one of those things people say to us, should we be feeling that way, too (I was discussing this fact with someone the other day, and it's been playing on my mind ever since, so please just humour me, k? Ta). And while it is the correct and nice and good thing to say, and fine and heart-warming to hear - and one can ususally tell if it is heartfelt and good or merely correct - it isn't always adequate, is it? Its not-enoughness becomes especially clear when one is saying it to another, I find, because, well, it just isn't enough, is it, when one is aware of how it can all be and how menial a thing it is to say, by comparison to the ailment: when the walls cave in on you and the water levels rise and the air around has, inexplicably, become tar, and you carry a rumbling thing inside you which really ought to reach boiling point sometime, for God's sakes, so that it could all really be dealt with, once and for all. Or at least, for now, for a while, at least until next time.

There's a tendency to want to get over feeling like shite as soon as possible. Rest and lie down and take it easy and look after yourself and you'll soon be right as rain (why, incidentally, "right as rain"? Most people grumble like mad if rain goes on for any longer than a few hours. Not saying that there's anything inherently wrong - or indeed, right - with rain going on for just as long as it wants to or needs to or, as it is, after all - so I've understood - a non-conscious thing, for just as long as it does, you understand. Just noting the fact that most of us don't consider it "right"). But just sometimes, it is necessary to feel a whole heaving heap worse, in order to truly feel better, when just getting over the shite quickly is a little like applying a bit of concealer cream on a deep and throbbing boil (sorry to be putting you off your food here). There are times when the things that make you ache must finally be allowed to come to a head, no matter how much it hurts or how debilitating the process.

It is peculiar how difficult this can actually be. One instinctively shies away from pain and anxiety (oh, especially anxiety - it just sucks, does it not?) and tries not to allow the big stuff to come through. It may well be, though, that the only time when allowing the big one to arrive becomes possible are the times when we are already hurting, already at our weakest, not exactly fit for the battle. If not then, we'll continue with the hoping and trying to feel better, we'll maybe even succeed, we'll get over the acute crisis and we'll grow some thicker skin atop the thing to be lanced. And so it gets ever harder, ever more encased in our very beings, its malignancy crippling our souls even though we may not feel the pain every breath we take.

This has come to you directly from your Near-Arctic Good Mood Committee. Hope you're having a lovely day, and if you're not, hope you feel better, no, wait.


Ruth said...

Hi, You. Was thinking of you just yesterday. Really.

What I really dislike is when people try to make you to feel better right away, which is a little different than saying, 'hope you feel better.' I mean when people keep saying things to make you look at the bright side, when what I really need is to live through the darkness for a bit. I know it will pass, probably tomorrow.

My wise friend Inge said, 'when I realized it is ok to feel sad, all the anxiety just lifted.' Now she just accepts feeling sad. Me too. But I wouldn't want to feel sad all day every day.

WV: outgogi

trousers said...

I'm trying (re previous post) to think of some lovely words containing "q" and "x". I think I'll have to get back to you on that one.

I've found my thoughts straying onto the things you conjure with in this post - "hope you feel better soon" - far more since I've been communicating regularly with people online. As you say, tone of voice counts a lot for conveyance of sincerity or otherwise, whereas text is just text. So there are many times when I will type such a phrase and then add all sorts of qualifications and caveats and possibly end up sounding far more hopeless and incoherent than if I'd stuck with the original.

I'm mulling over your 3rd paragraph. There's a heck of a lot to mull over, I think, and whereas I agree in general that "one instinctively shies away from pain and anxiety" - most definitely - then I think that one must allow for exceptions too. Ok I can only speak for myself in this regard but oftentimes it's a relief when the pain/anxiety hits since it serves as a marker in the process, one more stage towards moving on from it. Grasping the nettle and all that.

Right I may be talking rubbish here (I don't think so but I think I'm saying it in a rubbish way).

I hope you feel better soon enough.

Reading the Signs said...

I had an ok day, thank you. Could have been better, but musn't grumble. Platitudes? I should coco. For they do get us through patches where we would really rather not verbalise and speak the thing that is, identify, as 'twere, the elephant in the room. 'Hope you feel better soon' does not come into that category, it makes the assumption that feeling better soon is the goal of preference. If I have the toothache then lets not beat about the bush, the only thing I want is to feel better soonest, but I know - I know that the bastard pain will only come back differently and/or worse unless one gets to the root of the problem, the abscess, the thing that is tormenting the nerve.

'Hope you feel better soon' is something I would never say to anyone who really matters to me because they know that I am on the side of their wellness and wellbeing, what I hope in that respect goes without saying. And their wellness does not necessarily depend on better soon. 'I love you', though, is worth intoning (if it's the truth) simply for the sound of the words.

And the bad feelings should not be such that they go on for too long or become overwhelming. In such cases it is good to have someone alongside. If Jesus wanted that in the garden of Gethsemane when he was deep down blue, then it must be true.


actot - I beg to differ, actually

Anna MR said...

Ruth of Truth, how nice to see you. I have been thinking about you every now and then, too. Yes, really.

I know the type of comfort and consolation you refer to - the "oh-come-on-things-aren't-that-bad" stuff. Not very helpful, comforting of consoling, no, when one is really rueful, is it now, my dear Rueth? And there isn't anything wrong with being sad. Or rueful. Or even anxious (much as I hate anxiety). These are often the only appropriate responses to life and the world, I find. This may be why I'm a bit sick in the head, though, so I wouldn't recommend anyone else base their life philosophies on my mutterings.

Certainly hoping you aren't feeling sad all day every day. Lovely to see you, as I said.


Anna MR said...

Young housut, hei. A delight to have you visit. How have you been keeping? I hope any and all pains, anxieties and nettles you have encountered since we last spoke have been beneficial to grasp (even if they sting like buggery).

The q-and-x words are surprisingly difficult, no? I rattled off the thing about their beautiful heroism (deftly throwing in "quixotical" - as you noted - as I hope) without really even thinking, and then (obviously) have been totally wracking my brains (for most of the time) ever since, trying to come up with at least one more. If not for the contributions from Signs and Kahless, I don't know where we'd be. If you can add to our wee collection here, I'll be very grateful and pleased, but don't sprain anything internal in the effort, please.

I know the thing you say about feeling the need to add qualifications and caveats and then feeling like a hopeless, incoherent eejit with what one's landed up saying. It's a worry, certainly, although I would hope that people on the receiving end of such hopelessnesses would actually see them as genuine and lovely. Communication is an art, a fine art at that, and having only writing to do it in makes it more delicate yet. I know this for a fact, for I fail at it often enough. One can but keep chiselling away at the stony space which separates us from our fellow sufferers, trying to carve out something like contact.

Wow, that was either a properly lovely way to say something, or totally, utterly, astronomically poncy. Hmmmm. Best move on. Quickly.

It seems, however, that you, poor legwear, are inflicted with a similar thing as I - the need to actually go through the shite rather than get over it. What's that all about, then? And while I really and honestly think it is sometimes necessary - the only way, in fact - I am also very aware it is quite possible it will only lead into further dead-end depths of little or no return.

I don't think you're talking rubbish in a rubbish way, though, so that's at least one problem and question solved and answered, once and for all. Phew.

I hope to become better, not just feel it, but don't think you need to become better as you're just fine as you are. Therefore, housut my friend, I'm just hoping you aren't needing to grasp anything painful just now, and that your Sunday is a pleasant day of rest and relaxation.


Anna MR said...

Never mind platitudes, Signs - you come here accompanied by Blue Jesus of Gethsemane, and do you know, that doesn't strike me as inappropriate at all. Quite the contrary, actually, for some reason - you and Jesus seem to go together well, blue, purple, or green, Gethsemane or The Mount, walking on water or turning wine to water. Don't ask me why, though - you two just seem to be fine companions to each other. And obviously, you are more than welcome here, the pair of you, always.

I think "hope you feel better soon" is something that slips out of my mouth and keyboard terribly often. I mean it, though, every time - just wish I could say it in a way that would convey an understanding for the inherent human condition as well as the love and support for my fellow man, which I do feel but am often feebly unable to express. Oh woe.

It's not a platitude when I say it's a delight to see you, though, please feel super assured of that. Much love and many mwahs towards you, and a very deservedly-happy Mothering Sunday to boot.