Where Did All My Emotions Go?

BY { 29 comments }

I have great news. I desperately want to share it with you, but I can’t! I’m blogstipated. Actually, I’m emotionstipated …

Right now, possibilities are expanding. Big things are happening.

How big?


But for some reason, I’m too scared to publicly announce my news.

In fact, I’m finding my emotional reaction to be positively bizarre. Fantastic news comes in and do I holler with joy? No. Do I immediately Facebrag about it? No. Do I break out into a naked running man dance wearing only my business socks? No. (It’s tragic, because if there were ever an opportune time for The Naked Running Man Sock Dance, it would be now.)

Do you know what I tend do instead of celebrating?

I nap.

A few days ago, an email came in with some major news. I sealed the deal on something I’ve spent the good part of a year trying to accomplish. I slapped my cheeks to make sure I wasn’t dreaming, but I felt numb.

I told my closest friends and family about it, feigning excitement by adding extra exclamation marks to everything I typed. I hoped my written enthusiasm would spark real enthusiasm.

“This is amazing!!!!” I wrote, with my face frozen into an expression of indifference. “I can’t believe it!!!!”

Then, my heart started to beat with the spasmodic rhythm of a drum solo performed by a person suffering from advanced Parkinson’s disease. I contemplated calling an ambulance. Then I got lightheaded. After that, I cried.

Happy tears? No.

Freaked out tears. Tears of: “What is happening to me? Is this real life?”

Then … I napped.

I’ve been known to do this before—it happened a lot while I was living on a sailboat. After sailing 26 days of open ocean without any land in sight, we finally spotted our destination on the horizon. Hiva Oa was just a tiny dot in the hazy distance, but it was SWEET MERCIFUL LAND!

I’d anticipated that significant moment for a whole month, and I’d practiced yelling, “Land ho!” into the horizon, lowering my voice, squinting one eye, and patting my pet shoulder parrot. But when land came into sight, do you know what I did?

You guessed it …

I napped.

Most people would probably relish those last few hours of watching land get closer on the horizon, but rather than pop a bottle of champagne, I decided it would be an excellent time for a late morning Granny snooze. “Wake me when we get there,” I said.

You see, I have this odd quirk. When I’m extremely nervous or excited, I freeze up solid. I call it my fainting goat reaction.

This goat is not dead. It’s just frozen from nerves.

I’ve slept my way up to every single exam I’ve ever taken. I yawn my way through important meetings. When a crisis arrises, I take a siesta. I can’t explain why I go into an emotional coma when life becomes charged with high emotions. It just happens.

As an anxious person, it doesn’t take much to get my adrenalin pumping. For instance: getting out of bed is usually enough to send my adrenalin levels soaring. So, when something really exciting happens, my adrenalin glands— overwhelmed by the sudden rush—decide to flick their main breaker.


Power down. Emotions dead.

It’s also possible that I’m suffering from the plain ol’ fear of disappointment. While I was out on the ocean, I was terribly superstitious and when we finally spotted land, I was afraid that, if we spilt champagne over the bow and pulled out the party poppers, the clouds would part and bolts of vengeful lightning would stab down and sink the boat to punish us for celebrating prematurely. Thou shalt not party too soon! 

(I really should let a shrink chew on that one.)

Meanwhile, in lieu of my big news, please accept this drawing of The Naked Running Man/Woman Sock Dance.

I’m going to take a nap.


 Have you ever had an inappropriate emotional reaction to an event in your life? Have you ever laughed at a funeral, cried at your own birthday party, or turned into fainting goat after hearing good news? Spill:

Leave a Comment

  • Sarah October 13, 2011 at 12:31 pm edit

    You are so not alone! I think everyone needs some way to deal with complex emotions. When something exciting happens to me, I clean. And clean. And organize. And clean. I think it’s my way of thinking through what happened, processing, gaining control. I can’t wait to hear your news!

    • Torre DeRoche October 13, 2011 at 12:42 pm edit

      It’s a relief to know that I’m not the only quirky one around here :) I wish I funneled my nerves and excitement into something productive, like cooking soups.

      I agree: it’s definitely about control!

  • Beware of Falling Coconuts October 13, 2011 at 12:54 pm edit

    Ha ha he he ha ha he. I like your Naked Running Man/Woman Sock Dance.

    I totally identify, but for me, my inappropriate reactions usually happen in moments of terror. I’ve travelled to third world countries solo, been lost in enormous dusty, sewery, over-populated, butt-pinching cities, trying to find my way to the bus stop or backpackers or palace or temple. My exterior: calm as a cucumber. I even whistle. In fact, that’s what I do. I whistle when I’m in a state of extreme panic and anxiety. Picture it: it’s Delhi, it’s midnight, I can’t find a hotel and 14 men are trailing me … and I’m whistling Bobby McFerrin in a fevered pitch.

  • Pippa October 13, 2011 at 1:59 pm edit

    Congrats for whatever the news carries your way. Can absolutely sympathise with the fainting goat moments! I finished my last exam at uni and….went back to my room to play a game of chain reaction on facebook. You click once on a random ball and others explode as they bounce off other explosions – a game with very little skill or thinking involved only I knew it was something that I could never have justified wasting time on before. I had pure pleasure in watching the moments go by flippantly. Oh and I was the first of my friends to finish.

  • Christy @ Ordinary Traveler October 13, 2011 at 4:23 pm edit

    Hilarious. I wish I could take a nap! I have to say though that I’m glad you are not one of those twitter or facebraggers. We have enough of them already. ;) Congrats on your exciting news though! You deserve that naked running man dance. Now I’m off to finish your book! :)

    • Torre DeRoche October 14, 2011 at 6:02 am edit

      When the time is right, I will be Facebragging this news. Oh yes, I will. What is the point of any life accomplishment if you can’t Facebrag it? I mean, isn’t that why we go traveling and write books and get promotions and have babies these days? :) Thanks for your congrats! I’m quietly processing it.

  • Elisa October 13, 2011 at 6:53 pm edit

    oh boy, can I relate. My whole life is a series of inappropriate reactions.
    Especially since I live in Switzerland, where emotional constipation is a way of life. Here I am nothing if not completely inappropriate :-)

  • Karen October 13, 2011 at 7:43 pm edit

    Wake up, you’re there!!
    Everyone reacts differently to stress (even if this stress is particularly awesome, like BIG news or a birthday party). I know a lady who faints when things get too much (and as a child, even going to the toilet was enough to make her faint because it required exertion). They tested her heart and instead of her heart rate increasing under stress, it plummets, hence the fainting.
    I think you should just accept that this is how you roll, and work with it. And in the meantime, it’s very entertaining for us. x

    • Torre DeRoche October 14, 2011 at 6:05 am edit

      You totally wanted to say “Wake up Jeff!” – I can see the self-restraint in your words. Funny about your friend with the plummeting heart rate. Well, maybe not so funny for her. She really IS a fainting goat. I hope her house is well cushioned.

  • Christine October 13, 2011 at 11:00 pm edit

    Facebrag = YES. Best thing I’ve heard all morning. While I don’t nap, I tend that I put off opening emails/letters with big news. Emails that I could be waiting AGES to receive–then they come, and I kind of busy myself doing lots of other things and refuse to open them (even though I’m dying to know one way or another) for a while. Super weird.

  • Audrey October 13, 2011 at 11:48 pm edit

    I know that feeling!!! Sometimes you hope and pray for something for so long, and when it’s finally there — you feel nothing. You want to be excited, and even though those around you are cheering you on, you feel nada! Maybe it’s just a mechanism to avoid disappointment…at least for me. But anyway, congratulations on whatever this exciting piece of news may be. It sounds big and fantastic!!! :D

  • Denise October 14, 2011 at 7:11 am edit

    aaaaa tell us what happened!!!!!! Plus, your reaction is absolutely normal. I have the exact same reaction when exciting stuff happens.

  • Stephanie October 14, 2011 at 9:44 am edit

    Totally normal reaction! Sometimes when we work so hard for something, then get it, we find ourselves in completely foreign territory and have to dream even bigger dreams that have yet to be conceived. It’s an odd moment of time but enjoy it! You earned it!

  • Beverley | Pack Your Passport October 16, 2011 at 4:42 am edit

    I feigned excitment for weeks on end before leaving England for my big trip; the trip me and my boyfriend had been planning for 6 months. I’d have short bursts of either excitement or breaking down crying and then……a big old load of nothingness.

    No smiles, no tears; we booked plane tickets/hostels/researched and I thought I’d be jumping around all excited that things were finally coming together. I tried to make myself feel something but…to no avail.

    Then when we finally landed in Sydney I was so shell-shocked from the flight (first flight ever) and jet-lagged that I literally had nothing to say.

    You’re not the only one, don’t worry! :-) Sometimes I think it’s just an overload of information and my brain doesn’t know what to do with it. I wish it made me nap like you though I’d be more well-rested!

  • Rease October 17, 2011 at 10:18 pm edit

    Hahaha, love the story and the drawing!

    When I get overwhelmed I like to be in small places. I go under beds, in closets, in boxes, etc. It´s a childhood complex I guess.

  • Erin October 21, 2011 at 12:54 pm edit

    The only thing I ever want to do in any kind of stressful situation or after an argument is sleep. I also laugh at inappropriate moments. Emotions get mixed up I guess and everyone deals with it in different ways.

    Congratulations on the good news though! I hope it’s slowly sinking in and you are able to celebrate.

  • Kim October 24, 2011 at 2:20 am edit

    OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! TELL US!!!!!!!! I think I know! I really think I know!! But you have to tell us!!!!!

  • Heather October 24, 2011 at 2:43 pm edit

    I had my car broken into once, I felt so violated and angry that all I could do was laugh hysterically at the whole ridiculous situation (if you saw my car you would understand why it was so ridiculous, it was a bona-fide piece of s*%$). My boyfriend thought I was two steps away from crazy, but lucky for him, that’s how I deal with sticky situations :-D

    • Kelsey November 14, 2011 at 9:58 am edit

      I had a similar reaction to getting mugged. I went home and wrote up a rather offhand, sarcastic blog post about it. My friends were horrified, but those who knew me well knew that it was simply my way of coping.