Sunday, March 1, 2015

Feeling and Talking

I've already written a bit about it being pointed out to me that my defense mechanism is intellectualizing. Basically, I try to think my way out of emotions, which isn't a good way to handle things. It's not the worst way to deal with problems, but it certainly isn't the best either. I decided that the best way to handle this is to not read up on intellectualizing so that I could think about how to handle it (that this was my first instinct probably proves that it's a real problem), but to just let myself feel.

And...it's taken me to some surprising and unexpected places.

For one thing, I understand my emotions better now. Before I tried just letting myself feel, I would have found this to be really counter intuitive. It still feels strange, but good. Also, now that I actually acknowledge my emotions, I can respond to them, or handle them, better.

The next step, I think, is to not judge myself for my emotions. No, I'm not a bad person for feeling depressed or having anxiety, and I need to get out of the habit of just telling myself to shrug it off when something hurts me. If I feel like crying, I should let myself cry rather than saying "Oh come on it's just PMS now knock it off." And if an emotion feels uncomfortable, the solution isn't to think it away, that doesn't work. The best response is just to accept the emotion.

So...yeah. Me and my emotions. Shouldn't they be simpler than this?

Another thing I've been working on is learning to communicate. I'm not sure if being more open is due in part to me understanding my emotions somewhat better, or to my therapist pointing out that my speech disorder could have left some trauma.

Short version of the speech disorder story: it was virtually impossible to understand me when I was little, I couldn't even say my own name correctly in my early teens because of that pesky "r" in it, and it's only in the past few years that people stopped thinking that I'm from some other country when I open my mouth. Imagine if people in your hometown often ask if you're from another continent.

I'm starting to open up about things I've kept to myself, and...it's amazing. It's not always easy, I'm running up against the fact that it frequently doesn't even occur to me to share thing, say things, or ask things...even when they're on my mind. But I'm making progress there, and it feels good. Perhaps the best part of that is feeling closer to my boyfriend, now that I'm finally sharing things that I've kept to myself during the past...roughly three and a half years of our relationship. Like, you know, the anxiety disorder that I kept to myself for almost three years.

So, yeah. I'm finally getting on talking terms with my emotions, and I'm beginning to learn how to talk. Which feels good, even though I'm still struggling with anxiety and depression.

Painted sun

I decided to edit this post to add a sun since it reminds me that there's always a new day with a new start. And, it's just something happy.

2 comments:

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Getting more fully in touch with your emotions can only bring you good things in the long run, I'm sure. Maybe some temporary short term pain, but long term gain!

Sarita Rucker said...

Even the short term pain is a relief because I can feel that it's a better kind of pain. Like going to the chiropractor when my neck is totally messed up, it hurts when he works on it but I know that isn't a bad thing.

...wow, did I really just compare mental health to a chiropractor working on my neck? I guess I did. lol