It’s a chemical bonding process that puts a lot of very interesting stuff into the bloodstream. We fall in love, and it’s not unlike taking ecstasy and amphetamines and having a sugar rush all at the same time. Then, allegedly, it all settles down, and to get a new high you have to go and fall in love with someone else. It is the addiction of this fleeting chemical process that makes serial monogamy so attractive to so many people.
It’s not what I do at all. Partly because the state of falling in love is not something that necessarily wears off. I’ve been married four years now, to the same chap. Not a day goes past but I’ll be hit by all the force and wildness of falling in love with him all over again. It’s not a tame sort of sensation for me. Sometimes it creeps up and pounces, sometimes it’s like being hit by a train, it’s always fierce. When I am well, this is part of how I am. In many ways, depression is a shutting down of my ability to be in love.
On a good day, falling in love is not purely a feature of my married life. While it is inherently romantic as a process, that would be ‘romantic’ in the older senses, not the painfully narrow modern definitions. I fall in love when faced with sublime sweeps of landscape. I fall in love with other people’s creativity. I melt in the warmth of a friend’s embrace. I do not however, fall in love with everything and everyone, it is boundaried, and highly selective as a process. I need to be swept off my feet. I need to be left gasping and teary with wonder. Without that, life is thinner, narrower and I am far less inspired.
It’s come to my attention in recent weeks that this is an essential part of who I am and how I relate to the world. It’s all tied up with my openness to inspiration and my ability to give. I lost that for a while in most of my interactions, often rigid with fear, unable to yield, unwilling to be swept away too much. I can feel that changing, and watch how the colours of my world shift accordingly. Depression leaches the life out, leaving me with a world of beige and grey. When I’m high and wild, awash with love and inspiration, I see the colours of dreams and faerie at the fringes of my waking world.