It was 2007 when the tide began to turn. Doing the math, I was almost 36, and according to my counselor a little bit ahead of myself, but all in all, right on track for the crisis that was presenting.
I don’t have feelings.
That is one of the things that started the whole process. One of many things, but my lack of feelings was curious to me.
Curious and annoying.
You see, I went from numb to anger rapidly. I survived by not feeling. By detaching myself from reality. It made it confusing and complicated to answer the question, How do you DO it? With it referring to being patient with my children in all of the chaos.
I could just detach and observe myself from a distance.
Not healthy or wise. Very broken.
So there I sat, being assured by the counselor that I did, in fact have feelings and could learn to find and feel them.
What a mess.
Really. It was quite the mess.
Going from an emotional flat line to a spectrum of feelings, allowing feelings to emerge after being stuffed for much of my life, was messy and complicated.
Here I return to the scene of an imaginary riverbank where I found myself one day in my journal. It was the only way to describe how I was feeling about entering my story and processing my feelings at the time.
This is an unedited entry to offer hope and encouragement to those of you who struggle and suffer with emotional pain. The process of authentic writing about where you are and what you are feeling can help.
I didn’t write this yesterday and have had almost eight years of work since then, but the act of getting the thoughts and feelings out of me and onto paper was helpful.
It bubbles up.
I push it down.
What is up with this?
A polluted muck of a stream with dead fish floating by.
Brown, foamy water.
Let me go!
To get to the other side
I must enter the muddy stream.
I must immerse myself,
Drink of it,
I must survive it.
I will survive it.
I already have.
Reading back over this years later helps me to see that, yes, I did get in and did come out on the other side. Are there other mucky streams and rivers ahead on my journey? I think that there are. Have I arrived? Absolutely not!
The process of entering and learning to navigate the muck has given me skills, however, and I am better equipped for what is up ahead.
And I didn’t drown.
And neither will you.
You are not alone.