Moods

Moods are powerful things.

Kierkegaard once remarked on how looking at brain matter through a microscope tells you nothing about consciousness.

While I rather deplore where he landed with all that, the fact is that the observation was, and remains, astute. We just don’t have really any more of an understanding of what it is that makes the human experience of consciousness now than we did then.

And, indeed, for all the supposed “advancements” of science, in some ways our clinical approach makes our experience worse rather than better. For, while we may be more accurate to no longer suppose that demons or other spirits are to blame, the loss of that explanation removes a point of view of externality regarding moods.

And, in so doing, puts a burden of self-healing on everyone.

“Oh, you’re just in a bad mood, pull yourself out of it”

Were that it were that simple. Were that moods were truly internal and responsive to command and control.

One of my interests is in manic-depressive illness (MDI) because, to a degree, I suffer a mild case of it. More prone to depression than mania and mania episodes are what we call “hypomanic” meaning they’re very light. Put it this way, I’ve never yet gone on a shopping spree that puts me in danger of bankruptcy: instead, I buy 3 books I probably don’t need. But, the swings are there and I feel them, like today.

And, any review of the history of those who suffer MDI shows that these “moods” will not heel or obey. Sufferers use a variety of methaphors and similes to explain it, and there’s nearly always an element of externality.

Me being me, my favorite is Churchill’s “black dog” metaphor. For me, I’ve viewed it as rather a demonic spirit, looking like a Quasit from the old AD&D monster manual with long claws that it can drive into my skull at the worst of times.

I suppose I should be glad that, over time, I’ve come to recognize what it is and how it behaves. I know when I have to accept the Fates’ decree that I have to grit my teeth, feel the agony pass slowly with hours seeming like days and wait for it to pass, in time.

I am glad to know that it will pass. But, the time is painful nonetheless. And so, there are moments like right now when I lament the fact that moods do not act the way we’re told they’re supposed to, when I wish that I could simply decide I feel better and have it be so.

But, then, as Nietzsche said so famously : that which does not destroy you makes you stronger. And, I am so very, very strong now.