The Funk

One of the biggest problems with self-loathing and The Funk is how invisible it can be, at least for me. The suffering is pretty much all internal, a result of my own brain playing over things that would likely be best forgotten (not because they are bad, but because, in the long run, they are of no consequence). Compounding the issue is the fact that I, like many others, reflexively put on a cheery face, a mask if you will, that makes everything appear okay.

I don’t even think about it most of the time. Whether that’s because of my innate desire to not rock the boat (likely) or part of a larger social stigma against mental issues (also likely), I’m not sure. One of the problems with spending too much time in your own brain is the tendency to think of everything in terms of your actions, to forget outside influences. After all, what if there is something wrong with you? Are you over-reacting, or do you on some level deserve to reap what you have sown?

The Funk is dangerous because it is so sneaky. It is usually the case that I don’t realize I’ve fallen into one until I’m on my way out. As such, it can be hard to avoid The Funk until it’s too late. The fact that there are many triggers doesn’t help either. These can include stress, lack of sleep, bad news, et cetera. I like to think I’m getting better reading the signs, but that hasn’t yet helped me stop the process. I still have to ride it out, which is more difficult when you have things you need to do. Welcome to being an adult, I guess.

It reminds me of when I spent my year in Paris in college. I moved in during the height of summer, around July or August. At that point, the city is relatively quiet, as a lot of Parisians beat the heat by going out to the country. But of course, the weather didn’t last. Autumn was beautiful, with the trees in the parks turning colors. But Parisian winters are not like Colorado winters. They are damp, dreary, and gray. I don’t know about you, but when I don’t have adequate natural light I tend to get sad. But because the shift was so subtle, I didn’t even notice it until March, when the sun finally came back out. I walked out onto my balcony in the early morning, and my first thoughts were literally “Oh my god, I feel human again!” The Funk had slinked in, but was banished by the coming of the dawn.

So it’s not all doom and gloom, I guess. Even if I can’t yet avoid The Funk, knowing that it is temporary can be helpful in and of itself. When you’re depressed, it certainly seems like it will last forever. But a part of me is becoming more resilient, the part of me that remembers:

This too shall pass.”

1 thought on “The Funk

  1. L Challis Jensen

    You perfectly described my condition. I now affectionately refer to it as my illness. It usually wakes me from sleep in the middle of the night and won’t go away for several hours, at some point I can feel it start to loosen its grip on my mind. If I am not very aware, the next day or two I can end up 100% in my left brain, no heart and no soul, kind of like Spock on StarTrek. I can and do hurt the feelings of those around me without knowing or intending it. I become very distant and encased in the tomb of mind. Your Mom seems to get the brunt of it because we are so close, but that very closeness makes my funk even more obvious and unsettling for her. Of course, she thinks it is because of something she has said or done which is totally false. Over time, she has helped me gain awareness of this morphing and I have developed some strategies to better deal with it. It has been with me my entire life and at 67 years old, I am finally starting to get a handle on it. Sooo…I commend you for not only being aware that it is something odd but also to talk about it so openly. You do have lots of fellow travelers out there who take this unsolicited journey. I wish I would have tried to figure it out earlier like you are. Cudos.

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