Why Being Emotionally Stable Can Get Boring

I’ve never experienced a real depression before. I’ve had stretches of time when I’ve felt low but they were always circumstantial. Once the problem was fixed, I’d go back to normal. That being said, I’ve noticed that I don’t experience moments of euphoria very often anymore. When I was a teenager and even a little bit into college, my highs were high and my lows were low. Then that changed, of course, as I got older and settled more into my skin and now I’m just me, which for the most part is good. Solid. No complaints. But is it weird that I sort of miss having crazy moods? When things sucked, they seemed insurmountable but when they were good, it felt like spooning on a rainy day while eating five slices of chocolate cake. We eventually have to sacrifice the euphoria in order to grow up and be emotionally stable. Intellectually, I know this is a good thing. I know that the extreme happiness I experienced as a teen wasn’t worth the feelings of despair and hopelessness that often followed it. But damn, sometimes it’s boring being (relatively) stable.

When I get happy now, I feel safe and secure, like my life is headed in the right direction and things are working out just fine. It feels good but not “Tom Cruise jumping on Oprah’s couch” good. How do I get to that place again, or rather, more often? Looking back on the last few years, there have been a few maniacal happy moments but they don’t equal the ones I used to have as an adolescent. Can you ever experience them without having to piggyback on the lows? Can you be Tom Cruise happy without later having to be Tom Cruise psycho?

A lot of my newfound even temperament has something to do with the fact that I’m rarely surprised these days. When I was in school, something major would happen every day that would send me either into a spiral or into the clouds. Now my friends and I have stable routines, which feels amazing, but can also leave us wanting more excitement. Major things still happen but not every day. Now we look forward to the surprises rather than just expect them to be right around the corner.

I guess it’s normal to mourn the things we’ve lost and have difficulty accepting the person who you’ve become and will continue to be. At the age of 25, I see myself settling more and more into some kind of permanence. Ultimately it’s amazing. A lot of people don’t transition well and suffer from some sort of Peter Pan syndrome, so I’m fortunate to make such a smooth transition. But I don’t know. Sometimes I miss having such a strong reaction to everything. “I LOVE IT! I HATE IT!” has morphed into “Oh, that’s nice. Oh, that’s super annoying.” There must be a way to reignite that passion without becoming an emotional basketcase. I just haven’t found it yet. TC mark

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.

Trace the scars life has left you. It will remind you that at one point, you fought for something. You believed.

“You are the only person who gets to decide if you are happy or not—do not put your happiness into the hands of other people. Do not make it contingent on their acceptance of you or their feelings for you. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if someone dislikes you or if someone doesn’t want to be with you. All that matters is that you are happy with the person you are becoming. All that matters is that you like yourself, that you are proud of what you are putting out into the world. You are in charge of your joy, of your worth. You get to be your own validation. Please don’t ever forget that.” — Bianca Sparacino

Excerpted from The Strength In Our Scars by Bianca Sparacino.

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  • http://twitter.com/iamsubmerged Jordana Bevan

    aight TC i’m writing a response to this

  • guest

    This article begins great and then…then it feels incomplete.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t want to be Tom Cruise happy, or Tom Cruise psycho.  I don’t want to be Tom Cruise anything.

  • twentytwoeleven

    PREACH. – “I know that the extreme happiness I experienced as a teen wasn’t worth the feelings of despair and hopelessness that often followed it.”

  • http://dirtyyoungmen.wordpress.com/ Maxwell Chance

    Always chasing that first high.

  • Sophia

     “Intellectually, I know this is a good thing. I know that the extreme happiness I experienced as a teen wasn’t worth the feelings of despair and hopelessness that often followed it.” I actually disagree with this. I like feeling things, really feeling them. It’s what makes me feel alive.

    • Crystal

      OMG yes that’s exactly the sames words i’ve said before!

  • Tommy

    I wouldn’t envy those people who suffer from mania or depression, to be honest. Be thankful you’re relatively healthy-minded.

  • kayla

    Can you be Tom Cruise happy without later having to be Tom Cruise psycho? Very Carrie Bradshaw-esque, and no revelation in the end. Disappointing. 

    • Dan

      Is there really a revelation to this? It’s not like he left it out – for him, and many people, stability increases with age and experience. That’s it… it’s just his account of that process and his own experience of it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10036647 Aimee Vondrak

    Your references to Tom Cruise are hilarious, especially because I just had a dream he cameo’ed in last night. You know that hand-slapping game Rachel McAdams’s character expresses excitedly she wants to play with her fiance (Bradley Cooper, whaaat) in Wedding Crashers but instead he asks if she doesn’t get enough attention? I guess I wanted to play that with Tom Cruise. Idek.

    But yea, jumping on Oprah’s couch excited! I want that again. And I hope we continue to have those moments as we keep growing older. Should our lives be absent that excitement just because we aren’t maniacal teens? I don’t know that we should be denied that euphoria. Then again I also don’t know if I want that spiral of negative feelings that you mentioned often follows the end of those euphoric revelations.

  • http://thefirstchurchofmutterhals.blogspot.com/ mutterhals

    Lol, I’m dead inside.

  • Tanya

    Is it inappropriate to feel this way at 18, to feel like I’ve lived Ryan’s whole emotional life from 14 to 18? Whatever.

    • ladidadidadidada

      yes, it is inappropriate.

      • guestie

        how about at 17? i was only TEENAGE EMOTIONAL from like 12-16.
        i miss it

    • beatrice

      I guess it depends on how fast you mature and accept things. Nothing seems to surprise me nowadays  but heartache thistles me deep every now and then

  • H.G

    How insensitive can you be? I’d give anything to be emotionally stable, even for just a day.

    • http://profiles.google.com/k.andorka Koroknai Andrea

      I have to say, that’s what I was thinking as I read the article, not the insensitive part, but that I wish I could be stable. However I don’t think he was trying to be insensitive, he says at the beginning that he’s never been truly depressed to he obviously means non-depressed emotional instability can be more interesting or exciting.

  • Ruth67

    I think part of it is the curse of hindsight, the cognitive pitfalls that we all endure. These strong wonderful moments exist in our minds like pure technicolor and drown out the long days of boredom, anxiety, lukewarm feelings towards lukewarm people and ideas. But they existed too.

    The way I cultivate passion in my life now, a few years older than you? By fulfilling my own life, not  in reaction to the swirling and chaos around me, but mindfully, with wonderment and gratitude. How beautiful it is to love yourself, your terrible, monstrous, flawed and beautiful self whose only purpose of existing in this universe is to be.

  • Hannah Taylor

    As someone with mental illness, thanks for making me feel like there’s a bright side to this madness. 

  • Hannah Taylor

    As someone with mental illness, thanks for making me feel like there’s a bright side to this madness. 

  • srn8

    Nobody cares about your life Ryan O Connell. Lady Gaga > Ryan O Connell. 

    • no

      um what did you say
      kill yourself

      • srn8

        Its a follow up ….. I “talked” to Ryan on his Lady gaga post. You and whoever likes you comment doesnt get it because they probably didnt read my comments. KTHXBYE.

      • SRN8IsAFuckWiT

        Probably because they aren’t worth reading, chode.

      • srn88888888888888888

        No, more like people are busy. You should be too. Get a life. Dont try to bring me down low life.

  • Anonymous

    I’m super low these days. Make it stop. I want to be emotionally stable and boring :/

  • http://twitter.com/AliPants Allison

    Another one to file under: ‘I Can’t Believe Someone Else Has My Brain’

  • Jesssim6

    So that’s why I’m like this. I’m still an adolescent. Well I’m glad I at least still have an excuse… for one last year…

  • Mai Anh Nguyen

    The other day, I was surprised. And right at that moment I suddenly realized that it had been so, so long since the last time I felt so. Then I was so stunned at the realization and I felt just like you and wondered all the way where all the extreme emotions went. Is that because we have experienced many things in life already so we start feeling indifferent or because we need fixed somewhere in our mind?

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