I know, I speak from experience. I found that in my past my only way to survive was to bury all feeling and emotion and turn on the autopilot function. Get up, parent, work, parent some more, feign interest in others, sleep, rinse and repeat. I worked hard, I accomplished a lot and you would never have guessed I was suffering. In fact, those who met me then and then learned of my story as it all unraveled gasped at the truths.
Unfortunately, I knew no other way.
We cannot cherry pick the emotions we like and want to have like fruit from a tree. It is an all or none kinda deal. You cannot enjoy happiness and excitement if you don’t also know loss and grief. Sure we all know the idea of it not being about things that happen but how we react to them, but you can’t feel just some of the rainbow of emotions. Anyone who walks around and says they refuse pain and sadness and lives in bliss is a liar.
So, because I could not deal with the immense pain and guilt, the bouts of extreme sadness and grief, I buried them all. I plowed into work, I used it as an excuse to not have time to deal. I succeeded where I could be in control which was not bad, however, it was not right for me either.
What happens when you bury your feelings is that they do not die. They live just under the surface and come bubbling up, usually at the most inopportune times and also when we do not expect it. Getting sidelined in the feels department can take you straight out of the game. And while you sit there wondering what in the hell just hit you, there is a surge of shit you were certain was no longer an issue. It is like a nightmare where you are thrown a surprise party and everyone there is a flesh-eating half dead zombie that wants to break down your paper thin walls and take you down.
I think it has been passed from generation to generation. This inability to deal with emotion. Previous ones believing emotional intelligence makes you weak. Creating little versions of their emotionally illiterate selves. You are okay, be tough, shrug it off, oh well there is more fish in the sea, it’s not that bad – are all examples of the thousands of them that only diminish the idea that something really does feel awful. Feeling can never be conveyed just as it is being felt because it is personal, so how can anyone interject on how you feel? They can’t. They can be uncomfortable with their own however and that is where the disruption begins.
I can also impart here that when they come, when you realize you have numbed out all of the good ones to make the bad go away, you are at a real disadvantage in life. You lose the simple joys and sweet laughs, the things I have come to call my LOVE POPS! When a love pop hits you it is all those good feels popping over your head and raining down on you, covering you in bliss. Missing out on those seems easy when the suffering and pain are great. So away they go, until you are faced with them. When the emotional side of you has been squashed long enough and comes bounding from inside, completely obliterating any control you thought you had. Everything you buried and even some you didn’t think you had erupts from the pressure from being unattended to for so long. Everything that needs to be faced will continue to come until the lessons are learned and released.
The object, as thousands have shared through words, lyrics, art, and articles, is to learn how to cope with these feelings and emotions. To sit in each one especially when it is measured as uncomfortable. To some, even happiness can be hard to bear. We have to learn and sit in these moments and make a little map. Then when we visit again it is not so overwhelming, it becomes somewhat familiar. We sit in each one, undo the knots and damage and we deal. Then, and only then, can we begin to flourish even under circumstances that would normally dampen one’s ability to progress in life. You don’t need to live there, but rather let the waves come, hell grab a board and figure out how to ride it out.