All my life I’ve found it hard to accept my feelings because I was not taught that they were normal. Who was? Not many of us.
We all have a yardstick or some such measurement in our mind that is embedded in us like a nasty virus from disappointments in childhood, adulthood, and painful attempts to meet rigid cultural norms.
It eats away at us because it isn’t us. It’s some maddeningly persistent archetypal demon that has buried itself in our psyche, overpowering our intuition.
Mine flings recriminations at me like wet paper towels. Some stick, most don’t. My safe space is in bed and warm tropical beaches.
I have gone back to bed.
I have taken a day or two from work.
I have gone beyond distracted to avoidance.
I have read books, written journal entries, and bitten my nails.
Just like you.
So, today your best friend is your fraying loungewear and binge-watching shows. And when it goes on for more than a day should you get worried?
Google “how long is it okay to stay in your pajamas all day” and we should start worrying after 2 weeks. And see a doctor. Is that the best way to evaluate emotions? Whether they stick around longer than the two weeks you can take off from work?
I totally understand it, believe me. I get that it is scary. That you are thinking that you might be “depressed.“ And that’s okay.
I would like to suggest that you’re having perfectly normal feelings of distress when there is a Worldwide pandemic been bearing down on us for almost 2 years. (Not that I want you staying in your jammies anymore, though).
But I promise you, many of us are still underestimating this virus’s emotional impact. And more than a few of us will be offered antidepressants by our physicians without discussion of short-term and long-term side effects and withdrawal (known as Informed Consent).
Like innocents on the beach, we’ve been hit with a wave. A big wave.
Can we accept that our feelings are normal human feelings, changeable, and understandable? That we risk our lived pain becoming an immutable fact, unchangeable, and misunderstood if we measure our emotional timeline for healing by outside forces?
Human pain relived as a burden or even trauma rewires the brain in a negative feedback loop and boy do antidepressants look like a good option! But they are more complicated than they’re made out to be. Buyer beware!
Nothing I’m saying here I haven’t experienced for myself. The only thing that makes it possible for me to stop negation of my true emotions from becoming a tailspin of self-recriminations is to allow myself to be whatever I am whenever I am. Doesn’t that sound easy!?! It isn’t. It isn’t a magic bullet or pill.
And I’m sorry about that. Depression isn’t easy, I know.
I practice training my brain to stop the negative feedback loop with purposeful meditation and affirmation practice, just like I train my dog to roll over. And he’s pretty good!
But I’m serious. I try to practice every day. And when I don’t, it shows in my resilience. Don’t get me wrong. It is not easy. I am not downplaying my dark feelings, and I’m not suggesting you should, either.
My aim is long-term emotional healing. For this to happen, I know I need to examine my relationship with the world and how I connect to it and the people around me because positive human connection is what drives human need.
So, while mindfulness practice and affirmations are excellent and necessary practice tools; healing for the long term means reframing our perceptions of fear and pain. To see difficult feelings as an integral part of our courage and wisdom so that we can find meaningful human connection.
Otherwise, you are dancing around the pain, not with it. Even if you don’t understand how it works, you can love yourself. Imagine the gift to yourself when you acknowledge where you are now and consider where you can go from here fully grounded in self-love.
Self-love is real.
Let’s believe we are a children of the universe deserving of reaching our highest best self together!