Adrenaline Junkie

Anyone who’s done any public speaking will know the feeling, when things have clicked, the presentation or the speech or the award-giving has gone well, of stepping off the podium with a surge of king-of-the-world adrenaline. It’s intoxicating, and something to both bask in and be wary of (for you are not, in truth, the king of the world). Coming down off that high, decelerating back to normal non-regal speed, can be uncomfortable: the adrenaline is addictive. 

I was thinking about this tonight because I realized that If there’s one thing my life has lacked over the past year it’s been intensity; previous to that, while Catherine was sick, it was the prevailing feeling for years: intensity was the air that I breathed. It wasn’t the pleasant king-of-the-world intensity, it was more the asteroid-about-to-hit-Earth variety. 

But adrenaline is adrenaline is adrenaline. 

It occurred to me tonight that perhaps I got addicted to that asteroid-adrenaline: that living in a near-constant state of panic went on for so long that it became a lifestyle, an expectation, a new baseline. 

Which would explain a lot about how I feel right now, 15 months after Catherine’s death, and why it’s felt like I’ve been served a special second helping of grief. Perhaps it’s simply that enough time has passed, enough of the practical bureaucratic details ticked, enough of a new daily routine established, enough evidence that I will survive this, that the adrenaline has subsided. I’m stepping off the stage.

The intensity has waned. And my mind, and my body, are confused about what exactly is going on: why aren’t we on the roller coaster anymore? What happened? Where’s the adrenaline?

(Crossposted from the Widow We Do Now group on Facebook).