This week the weather has been remarkably awful. Humid and sticky, people with a range of illnesses, particularly those which feature chronic pain are experiencing intense exacerbation of their symptoms. Many people whether ill not not, are experiencing discomfort, disturbed sleep, bad dreams, lethargy and headaches.
These is little relief in the UK, air conditioning is not required for the vast majority of the year and electronic fans do a small amount to ease the oppressive heat when it does hit.
Trapped in a muggy, airless hell for several days- everything begins to feel ‘off’. Thunderstorms threaten, and in the case of this week, wake residents of various areas with unholy flurries of noise and lightning strikes overhead, in the normally peaceful small hours. More disturbed sleep, sweat soaked sheets…
This sensory unfamiliarity can make everything normal and secure feel unfamiliar, uncomfortable, wrong.
To those who feel somewhat displaced by life anyway, the heat can have interesting and disturbing emotional effects. Intensifying not just pain and symptoms, but concentrating psychological trauma, fears, doubts and perhaps bringing to a head internal crisis. From the sensory confusion- a sweat lodge effect of clarification can take place. There is nothing like extended physical discomfort for bringing out the head-monsters. In dreams, in unusually acute swings of emotion, in antsy, aggravated ‘spontaneous’ reactions and temper tantrums where self control usually steps in to keep the peace.
For sure, this week has been interesting, in ways I am not ready to write about.
So I will simply say this. To those suffering more in the humid weather and storms, the heat is predicted to break over the weekend. A fresher feel will return, as it does every year.
In the terms of one of my favourite TV shows also returned to the screen this week; Winter is coming.
The Death of Chester Bennington
On Wednesday I summarised the themes of my post Judgement Day on facebook using Linkin Park Lyrics.
On Thusday, Chester Bennington took his own life. I have written about this in broader terms in The death of Chester Bennington- On speaking and being heard.
On a personal level, the news shook me. The music of this band still resonates with me today and provided a soundtrack to my difficult teenage years and early twenties. Hybrid Theory to Meteora was the period of time which, and I am sure many people currently in their early thirties would agree, music, especially alternative music had its strongest influence on me and carried most meaning in the context of my life. I am not a musician or music critic. I do not follow pop culture. I have no clue what is in the charts today or in the age of digital download what it even means to achieve a number one single. I am not in a position to fully analyse the impact of Linkin Park on alternative music or understand Chester Bennington’s legacy as an artist. I do however know that as a fan, music and art can inspire feelings of close identification and the trajectory of the life of an artist can feel meaningful while having no ‘real’ relation to the life of the audience.
My own personal struggle with depression and suicidal feelings, as well as the struggles of people close to me, was brought sharply into focus by the news about Chester. Especially in light of having felt such strong identification with lyrics remembered from years ago just the day before, the news felt loaded. Meaningful. It scared me as much as it failed to surprise me. I feel like I should be sad, I am yet to have an emotional response to the news. The meaning of apparent but irrational patterns of events is a daily Rorschach test embedded into the fabric of the day to day experience of the psyche. To identify the irrationality of the pattern which first appears, to examine it, to second guess the pattern, is something of a protection against instinctive reaction. This is why I chose to write about, and I rarely do, something so current and raw.