I've been noticing that as time passes, overall I am less afflicted. However when I am afflicted, they seem to be stronger or more powerful and far more sudden and violent. By violent I mean the severity of the affliction itself. I go from a day, or two, or even three of peace, calm, awareness, and so forth, it doesn't even require a great deal of effort on my part. I can meet 100 challenges and just smile at them, nothing phases me, I realize situations are empty so they don't really affect me. I work in a social environment and when other people start panicking I'm unphased and just work to help the people who are in the most stressful situations in order to relieve the stress of the environment I am in.
Then one thing happens that I don't think of as empty and I freak out, suddenly I hate this world, I hate life, and I start asking myself why I bother doing anything at all, why do I even live? Whatever the thing is, its unpredictable, yet each time I can see that it arose because I didn't recognize that particular thing (for whatever reason) as being empty. Yet even as it happens I have this awareness that I'm doing it and I'm asking myself "Why am I thinking or talking like this? This isn't right, this isn't how I really feel, I don't really hate people or myself or life". And almost as soon as such a horrible and violent affliction arises, I remember that its all empty and it just goes away like it was never there. In the end I don't brood over it and return back to a place of balance.
Am I making progress because my overall afflictions are diminishing? Does the general experience of clarity and equanimity when disturbed make little things seem far, far worse than they really are (due to the contrast)? Its not even like the afflictions can keep me trapped, I just experience them and then I look at them, examine them, and watch them dissolve. But while they happen sometimes I even want to end my life, I wish something would happen to just take me from this horrible existence full of horrible people and constant experiences of suffering.
TLDL: As overall afflictions diminish, what afflictions do arise become more and more severe in my experience of them, even if they only abide for a short time. Am I progressing or am I doing something wrong?