As I listened to my friend lament to me her frustrations of feeling out of control of her thoughts and emotions, I nodded in empathy and asked her, where is it you feel emotionally safe? Where is the space you run to when you just need an emotional release without judgment?
I’ve fallen one too many times to the trap of wishing I had no emotion. I’ve had times in the past where I’ve felt negative emotions so deeply, I’ve wondered if feeling positive emotions were worth the pain of negative emotions as well. I wanted to feel numb. I wanted to be able to look at all the things that had hurt me in life and feel nothing.
I wondered, “is it normal to feel this emotional at times, or should I seek help? Other people wouldn’t be as upset in this instance so why is this affecting me so much?”
I would have an internal tug-o-war between expressing my emotions and suppressing them. I couldn’t tell at what point I was in denial or if I was truly okay.
So when I asked her where she felt emotionally safe, I was drawn back into memories of times I had similar sentiments as her.
I recalled 3 things that helped me cope:
You are not crazy. Having emotions is a part of what makes us human. (I have to constantly remind myself of this!)
Release your emotions. Suppressing emotions only leads to an explosive blow up at some point. There’s only so much you can hold in for so long. Releasing emotions is also releasing the hold they have on you.
Create a space where you can be emotionally naked. This could be a place at home, where you sit, cry, get angry, upset and let it all come out. It can also be a person you lean on when you just need to vent. Keeping a journal can be helpful too.
Know that you are not alone in wanting to physically grip your emotions and toss them away at times. As we are all a work in progress, try to remain as gentle with yourself as you would a close friend. Engage in a spiritual routine and release the BS, so you can return to peace.