Psychology and mental illness

Following Logic to Emotion

It’s not that my brain and body aren’t logical. It’s more like they’re too complex to keep up with.

Did you know science hasn’t figured out why we need sleep? I can apply logic to my experience, and my experience says I need sleep. We, as humans, are more complex than we know.

I take pride in being a very logical person. I think ahead and make decisions based on where I want to be, not what I feel like doing in the present. I study philosophy that’s applicable to my own actions. If I ever find that logic leads in a different direction than what I believe or what I do, I change my mindset and habits.  Life is too short for premises with a nonsensical conclusion, or worse, no conclusion.

I love logic – I admire it for its simplicity, for the way it can be applied to so many things. A logical discussion has the power to both amuse and convince.  In my experience, emotion-driven people are the opposite of me. Emotions are not unique, but they feel unique and powerful, making them super subjective. My emotion-driven friends call me when they don’t know what to do with their fears and loyalties and affections.  I ask about compatibility, risk, and liabilities. Affections are blinding. Fear just immobilizes the unambitious. Loyalty is worthless without reason to back it up, and if there’s good reason, then loyalty isn’t needed.

Often, emotion-driven people respond to my analyses with, “You make sense, but…it’s just so hard.”  That’s when my empathic side kicks in. I know it’s hard. I’m not immune to the obstacles in my way. I would despise myself, though, if I let myself get stuck in an emotional rut.  The problem was, I got stuck in emotional ruts anyway.  As an empath, I sense the needs of the people around me. I feel the sting of injustice. My options are to care and not to care, and this is not a false dichotomy. When I care, and I can do something to help the situation, I have to turn to logic again. My instinctive, emotional side is terrible at finding real solutions for what I see and feel. When I can’t do anything to help, I feel worthless.  I am logical, I am aware, and I am empathic. This is my cognitive dissonance.

When someone I trusted said I needed psychological help, I thought about how to break down the word “psychological.” Logic for the psyche. It sounded like a beautiful oxymoron, best left to poets, but then, science finds glorious paradoxes all the time. Maybe logic can come even here, to this mess that is my mind.  A logical person must consider all factors. It turned out my emotions were sensors and indicators. Not decision-makers, but more data to consider. If my other senses are data analysis, then data analysis involves feeling, enjoying, and appreciating.

Maybe my unexplainable tears are as real and important as the taste of foreign food and the sight of the mountains. So logic led me back to my emotions.

It is hard to control myself now. I am weaker and more vulnerable in some ways. I am less unreasonable than I was, however. I am becoming more complete and aware.

Embarking on this journey wasn’t easy. There were times when, as my emotions were just waking up again, I was incapacitated for hours or days. Helplessness came back, and where I used to brush away loss, it hurt again. It didn’t seem like a good idea at the time. Kind of like what I would tell my more emotional friends about doing the logical thing.

One night, when I felt a wave of ennui, I wrote this:  What am I feeling? Listless. It’s funny to think I know exactly what word to assign when if you break it down, trying to live without a list – beyond a bullet-point gospel, seeing colors where I was told I’d find only gray areas, and reaching out to my emotions instead of trying to make everything fit into a simplistic logical framework – is what I’m trying to do. Logic taught me that there is more to life than cognitive consistency. Feeling listless, and recognizing it is this way, gives me a glimmer of hope.