My mom called me on the weekend and I didn’t return the call until days later because I was too homesick to talk to her. We chatted about it and agreed that “homesick” is not necessarily the most accurate term. It’s not just about missing home; it’s broader than that; it’s when you suddenly stop and think “Ahh, shit. Life…”, and for a moment, everything seems a little bit too much to handle. It’s the yearning for a place or a time or a feeling, an emotional “home” that maybe doesn’t even exist any more. I call it homesickness because that word captures the feelings of disconnectedness and hollowness better than any other concept I’m aware of, and because people understand it.
This morning, I felt good. I did some laundry and some totally out-of-character cooking, which was fun and successful and I even emailed Luc about it because I was very pleased with myself. I got stuck into my work for the day. I procrastinated a bit. And then I nosedived. And now I’m here. I don’t know what I want. I don’t know where I want to be. I feel like I’m at a T-junction, but I don’t have a steering wheel, so I’m just grinding my number plate against the wall, failing to go either left or right and not knowing which one I’d choose even if I was able to make a turn. I fluctuate between being able to mentally slap myself into “getting over it” and slumping back into a sludge-like despair, where I feel like I’ve made too many wrong choices and now it’s over, and I don’t even know what “it” is.
My brother recently discovered Sam Harris and sent me the link to a video that he found interesting. The timing of his email was almost spooky because of how much the video resonated with me at that particular moment. (We don’t keep in touch as much as I’d like, but my brother and I weirdly understand each other in a way that he might not be sentimental enough to admit to!) I went and found the complete Sam Harris talk and tried his mindfulness meditation technique; it aligned quite neatly with the ideas and practices I’ve been introduced to through cognitive behavioural therapy, and for a few hours I felt pretty great, like this might be a way out of my own head. Maybe I just need to practice it more, but so far… I’m failing. I’m ruminating all the time about stupid things that I can’t change. I’ve been vaguely contemplating deactivating my Facebook account because of how low I can get looking at people doing totally normal things that I barely feel capable of handling half the time (and if I’m not incapable, then I’m lacking opportunities because of other personal failings), but I know I can’t deactivate it because it’s my main source of connection to others, and if I cut off that channel I’ll probably just go further into my own head, and that’s not where I want to be.
I am fortunate in so many ways. I have a really great partner who puts up with this bullshit on a daily basis. I have a wonderful opportunity to see a part of the world far removed from the place I grew up in, and I also have the option to return to my birthplace one day, if I want to. As far as I know, I am quite healthy. Everything is fine. Except it’s not; not all the time. Why is my brain doing this? What do I do about it?
I don’t know.