Posts Tagged With: selective memory

Day 17: I think I wake up most mornings feeling uneasy

I think when I first wake up, I have some sense of unease, some measure of worry and anxiety.

I can’t say for sure how long that’s been going on, because I seem to have a bad memory for certain things, especially feeling states.  I see that “bad memory” in other people, too, when I ask them, “How long have you been feeling this way?”  I can see people struggle to give me a good, accurate answer, and I reassure them that I just need a rough estimate. A ballpark figure.  Has it been days?  Has it been months?  Has it been years?  And that they can tell me.

(Okay I have a writer’s problem now.  I floated my topic sentence, and now I want to write more about this issue of emotional memory. I have a proposal, dear reader.  Stay with me on this detour, for a moment, and then I will guide us back to that promised topic.)

So, I think I’m noticing a pretty common human phenomenon there: no matter what emotional state people are in, they tend to remember the times when they felt the same way. When somebody is depressed, they tend to remember those times. The depressed periods are highlighted, and memories of joy, hope,  love, and other  mismatching emotions  fade. This selective memory can work for other feelings, too.  That is, when you’re happier and more secure, the sad times can recede in memory, too.  It’s like looking at your life with a certain search filter on.

(I think this selective emotional memory also relates to why, all my life, I’ve lived in a place that gets friggin’ freezing every winter.  I don’t like the cold. At all. And every winter, I say to myself, “Why do I stay here?  I hate this!  I deserve better than to be in this kind of pain, for this long, every year!  Life is too short, dammit! I am definitely going to look into moving (south, west, to Hawaii, etc.)!”  And every year, the beautiful, warming spring comes, and I forget about it.)

So (heading back around towards original topic!),  I don’t know how long I’ve been feeling this way, but I seem to wake up most mornings — at least, these days — feeling uneasy.  I suspect that this Initial Waking State is common for me, and has been going on for much of my life

And I guess that makes sense.  Why shouldn’t I wake up, ready for the day, with a sense of what needs to be attended to?  Wouldn’t that be an effective coping strategy for effectiveness, and maybe even survival?  If I wake up in a state of Zen and calm, maybe I won’t be as prepared to solve the problems, meet potential threats, avert possible calamities.

Screw it, though. I think waking up in a state of calm would be quite nice, don’t you?  And I’m sure I have woken up that way on certain mornings, but just not that often.

I will say this, though. As hazy as my emotional memories might be, I know that there have been times when I’ve woken up with a considerably higher level of discomfort and anxiety — more “on alert.”  Compared to those times, I am waking up kind of Zen-ish, actually.

I think I can do better, though. Let’s see how I’m waking up in April.  And November.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

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