Love is a funny thing. I’ve been wondering about the different ways we love people, the way that we have different types of love. And how other people feel about love, and whether it’s similar to my experience.
The three people closest to me are my husband, son, and mother. I love each of them differently, and yet for each of them my heart overflows with love. There are other people I love nearly as much. I have very strong emotions, which for me has always been intensified by having bipolar disorder.
This brings me to something a couple people have talked with me about lately, which is the way medications can blunt your emotions. Initially it’s what made me fight taking medication so bitterly. I didn’t want to lose my strong feelings because I thought in some ways they defined me.
As a teenager, I felt things, but had a very tough time expressing them. I easily expressed anger, but I couldn’t cry. I cried very little during high school. It took a major event for it to happen, and even then, if other people were around I fought it with all my might. Even people I loved.
After taking medication for so many years now, I no longer have blunted emotions. My brain adjusted to the pills and now I feel the full gamut of emotions – from anger to sadness to elation – usually without a problem.
What brought me to this topic was the death of Peter Holm and my trip to Connecticut last weekend. The day he died was a complicated day for me. It began with the possibility of talking to Walt becoming more real, and the emotion around that. Something I’ve waited nearly a decade to do. And then, hours later I found out that Pete had died, and I broke down. It was hard to fathom such a loss. It was so much emotion in one day it overwhelmed me.
In Connecticut, I had time to think about love. How much I loved Pete, and how much I love his wife, Linda, and their kids. I cried in front of all of them. Sobbed and felt such a hole in my heart. In high school, I couldn’t cry with the Holms, even though I wanted to. It would have been so healthy for me to release emotions with them, or my therapist, but I couldn’t. Now I can, and it’s a relief.
Beyond that, another event in Connecticut led me to think about this – seeing my best friend from high school. It was amazing. We spent so much time together as teenagers that when I went a day without seeing him, I’d journal about how odd it was to have not seen him. As of last week we hadn’t seen each other in roughly 14 years. When I saw him at the funeral I had that feeling of my heart swelling with love.
The love of someone you were so close to, and have missed dearly, and are so grateful to see again. It was amazing the way I felt after seeing him. Gratitude and peace. Despite such a terribly sad event, Pete’s funeral, Scott showed up and it was like a gift. It was exactly what I needed at the time. It was a comfort to sit next to him and to talk to him afterward.
So love is interesting. It’s an amazing phenomenon. It can bring me to tears just to think about how much I love people. When I’m feeling like I can’t make it another minute without doing something stupid (e.g., getting high, harming myself, dying), I remember the people I love and it centers me. I have too many people I love and value to let them down. And I won’t let myself down, either.