I stepped on this path over 13 ½ years ago, and much of what got me to this path was not wanting to feel my feelings. At first it started with not wanting to feel bad, or different, or less than, disappointed, or unsafe, but as my disease grew, and I continued to stuff my feelings down, I got to the point that I didn’t want to feel anything, even the good. The good, toward the end, was worse than the bad, because I didn’t feel like I deserved the good, so when a good feeling crept in it was immediately followed with guilt, and, fear that something bad was going to quickly come because I didn’t deserve to feel good. Much of the work I have done in recovery has focused on feeling my feelings, all feelings, acknowledging them, giving myself permission to have them, and letting them go. It has been many years since I have been challenged the way I am right now with not wanting to feel.
There has been an ongoing issue with a neighbor, a neighbor, ironically, who suffers from mental illness, and appears to be self-medicating with an illegal substance that affects our home and our own mental health greatly. We have tried through different channels to address this situation and it was decided on, through council, that our best option is to remove ourselves from the situation altogether. This, brought up a lot of feelings. And even though I am an advocate for everything I talk about here at State Of Slay™ I am still human and the feelings that came up knocked me off my feet.
I’ve really struggled, this week in particular, and I realized that since dealing with this issue next door, something that has been so upsetting and traumatizing that I may actually have some emotional damage from it, and, alongside that, the feeling of anger, frustration, and grief at having to leave a home we love because of someone else’s illness. Again, I can see the irony in this, as I was once, very much like this person next door, was living inside the darkness of my disease, although, never brought my disease to someone’s front door and into their home the way this person has. And as a result, I’ve had a really difficult time through this. I struggled in a way I haven’t for a long time and there were moments in my struggle that scared me. And, it’s interesting being so open about mental health and an advocate for self-care and positive thinking, because I almost didn’t give myself permission to feel what I was feeling, and, to not want to feel it. Having been on this path for so long I have many safety nets in place, and, ultimately know what to do to get myself back on track, openly admitting this to someone I love and trust was a big first step and eased a lot of the shame around it, and digging into the foundation I have built has gotten me on stronger footing already, but it was a bit of scary week. I think, also, having this all come during Suicide Prevention Day and this month of awareness also brought up some old feelings and gave my disease a little bit of a soap box to stand on. I am grateful that I know better to listen, but those all too familiar feelings came up, and they felt awful.
My point for sharing this today is that no matter who you are, how far you’ve come, or what you use for voice for out in the world, you are allowed to feel, whatever that may be, and if those feelings bring you to a place that scares you or gives you concern, reach out to someone and share with them, and do the things you need to do to get yourself back to where you feel safe and at your best. Life does has it’s ups and downs, and most of it is beyond our control, accepting life on life’s terms and doing our best to navigate the twists and turns is all we can do, sitting in our hurt, or hate, or anger, and not accepting the truth only hurts us more. Today I will work on seeing the silver lining in all of this, of what I can learn and take away from my pain, and to use it to shine a light for others who may be feeling the same. SLAY on!
SLAY OF THE DAY: Do you allow yourself to feel your feelings? How do you do that? Do you share how you feel with others? If not, why not? If yes, do you have a circle of friends or people you trust you can be open and honest with? It’s OK to feel, you are entitled to have feelings, but what’s not OK is letting them dictate how your day is, or life is, or your value as a human being. Feelings are great indicators of what is really going on, they are triggered by memories or situations from our past, and can tell us a great deal about where are mental and spiritually. Let yourself feel and then set those feelings free, thanking them for showing you what you needed to see.
S – self L – love A – appreciate Y – you