This blog feels like a messy one to write, on this journey of therapy I am learning so much, but I am also exposing new fears.
Lesson 100! I haven’t freely felt emotion for decades…
I never knew before starting this journey that I have been constantly holding back. Resisting the drive to feel for decades. I am sure it started out as some form of defence. There was a lot of stuff I don’t think my younger mind could have handled if I let her experience the full weight and range of what happened back then. But I didn’t leave it there, ever since I have been avoiding feeling, pushing forward relentlessly not allowing myself to hover, to wait, to sit with anything too long.
Looking back now I can remember so many occasions when frankly I should have been upset and I would force a return to normality. One such example was the morning after my Nan passed away, Stephen went to make me a cuppa in bed and when he returned a few minutes later he found me stood on the bed stripping the wall paper. “We are decorating the room.” I announced without an option to disagree, so ensued alongside helping a little with funeral planning, days of stripping walls painting and tidying.
On other occasions like the day after giving birth to my daughter, in agonising pain with a partially retained placenta I forced myself to walk the length of the hospital from car to maternity unit. It was agonising, every now and again I would have to stop and grasp the wall, an orderly might offer a wheel chair but I would decline. I was pushing through the pain adamant I should be able to do it.
Or when last year I had a planned operation coming up and I knew I would physically have to rest, I spent months saving up tasks I could complete in bed, change energy supplier, get quotes for the bathroom…just so I had a list to keep working through.
Now I get that sometimes the approach to life of finding a distraction or not sitting with the sad things is good. But I suspect the practiced art of detachment for three decades is a contributing factor to my continued challenges with sleep and anxiety.
More so what I am starting to realise is that not only have I held back from the hard stuff I have not let myself experience the full value of the good stuff either. I suspect if you decide to detach from one set of emotions it is inevitable you detach from them all. There have been so many moments when I have had a sense of happiness but I have missed out on the full potential of the moment.
Now I am hungry for it. There is a part me that longs to feel the full range of human emotions to all its limits. But this makes me afraid, to get the highs I have to allow the lows. And along this process I have also uncovered another deep seated fear. I don’t want to turn out like my mum.
I worry that if I allow myself to truly feel everything I won’t be able to handle it. I will loose myself. I won’t be me anymore.
Even if I don’t end up like mum what if I just end up different, what if the things people love about me are not the same. What if I am not positive all the time? What if I don’t look for solutions? What if I loose the energy to invest in my friends or family?
I know I have to go on this journey. The alternative of trying to force all my feelings into a box has reached the limit of its usefulness. But how do you learn to feel again?