“I’m having a problem,” I said to my wife. “Something’s happened to my mind. I can’t seem to think straight. My emotions rise up on a level with my reasoning. I find my feelings seem exaggerated. I have feelings about everything; something’s wrong with me.”
My wife, Jo, looked at me with a look of being completely unconcerned. “Women go through that sometimes,” she said.
She obviously didn’t understand. My peaceful life of rational thought had been interrupted by feelings. Not some ordinary feelings; I had intense feelings. I had feelings about things that usually wouldn’t matter. If my wife put flowers on the dining room table, the room would feel different; I don’t mean look different, it felt different. I’m not someone who feels rooms.
I would project how I thought others might feel about something I said or did and then worry about it. I had never had this problem before. I tried to explain, but no matter what I said, Jo would say, “Yes, that’s all normal stuff. Everyone goes through that sometimes.”
“No, they don’t,” I said. “I don’t know anybody that thinks like that.”
“I do. I think most women do,” she answered.
This happened years back when doctors tried to figure out why my body would go into hypothermia, even in a warm room. After seeing several specialists, I was told that the portion of my brain that controls the body’s life-support wasn’t operating correctly. My doctor had given me several drugs to see if they would help resolve the issue. My great fear now was that my brain was deteriorating further and that I was losing my mind.
That evening, our daughter, Debi, came by the apartment, and I related my symptoms to her. She said, “I think that way all the time.” Like my wife, my daughter seemed utterly unconcerned that I was losing my ability to think normally.
I tried giving more information to clear it up. “Everything seems to affect me. I feel completely vulnerable to what other people say and do. Someone did something that upset me, and I overreacted. I knew I was overreacting while doing it. Then I thought, ‘Just because I overreacted doesn’t make what they did right.’ If somebody else is having a bad day, suddenly, I’m having one. It’s as if their bad day becomes my bad day. I never had this problem before. Stranger still, I couldn’t feel “normal” unless I felt loved. Who thinks like that? Something’s wrong with my mind.”
Debi said, “That’s exactly what girls think when they hit puberty. They think something is wrong with them. You get used to it, mostly.” Not only did my wife and daughter seem unconcerned, but I also felt they might be a little amused that I was going through what they experienced.
Within a few days, I explained my thinking to four women, who all agreed it was everyday thinking. But then my brother, Bob, called, and I went through it with him. He was very nice about it and diplomatic in his response. Basically, he told me that I needed to contact the doctors because I was going nuts, and they may need to put me away someplace.
Everyone thought I might be reacting to some of the medications that the doctors were giving me. I stopped taking the medicines, and my thinking cleared up in a few days. I don’t know if the way I thought was how females think or if it just sounded similar, but I was thrilled it was over.
There were certain advantages to that way of thinking that I didn’t really realize until it was over. It was easier to see how things fit together. Whether it was things, situations, or relationships, I could see how one thing affected another more clearly. Even small things could influence everything that was going on. I could see the synergy of things.
When I was a teenager, I had all these ideas about what I wanted a wife to be like when I married. I would say things such as wanting a particular color of hair or eyes, a particular body shape, intelligence, and a distinct sense of humor. As I grew up and fell in love, none of that made any difference. I wanted to discover her; I didn’t want her to change. I wanted to know how she thought, how she made decisions, and what she was like in every area. Even discovering some perceived flaw, she didn’t want anyone else to see became endearing because she shared it with me. Although Jo and I had been married for about 44 years, I’d discovered that I hadn’t understood how she thought.
I knew theologically that God made the combination of Adam and Eve in his image in the creation story. It never occurred to me that God might have those strong emotional feelings. Although we express God as male when speaking, he is neither male nor female. Although he is much more, he is as much like women as he is like men.
Things happened during that period that I don’t think I would have noticed in my non-medicated thinking. What upset me more than anything else was when I felt dismissed as if I didn’t matter at all. I began wondering, do I ever treat the Lord that way? You would expect that from an atheist; they don’t believe God exists. How would God feel when he’s in the room with me all day, I never act as if he’s there, and I ignore his presence and anything he says. It gives me absolute joy when the Lord does something, and I realize that he sees me; apart from the millions of people in the world, he sees me, and I matter. Although I can’t see God with my physical eyes, I can see the effects of what he does. I wonder if it gives him joy when I see him and tell him he matters. I know my wife likes to hear the words; I wonder if God is like that. Does God like it when I say to him, “I love you?” I’m trying to be more exact in my words to the Lord, letting him know that I see him in my life, am thrilled that he is there, and appreciate him being with me. My wife said I could practice my words on her.
Leave a Reply