I’ve struggled with understanding my emotions, because they are often confusing and overwhelming to me. My personality wants to quickly understand my ‘feeling’ and get the hell out of it as soon as possible. I often have tried to act my way out of feeling uncomfortable.
For example, I recently finished an oil painting I’d been working on for a few months. I know that completing a project like that makes me sad. Like the French say,“a petit mort.” something has ended. It’s not the greatest feeling. I tried to tell myself that completion is a sense of accomplishment, but the sad feeling remained inside me, at least for one day. I don’t like to feel uncomfortable.
What to do? Well, in the past, I’d try and escape, say with some abusing substance, alcohol, marijuana, overeating. It didn’t work, but I did it anyway. Or I’d try and get super physical, walk ten miles, swim laps for two hours. Watching a movie or reading a book can be my current great distraction. I can easily binge-watch or get lost in a book, and get completely away. Those are the best solutions I’ve found so far. I won’t call anyone and talk it over, for God’s sake, I don’t want anyone to know or think me a ‘wuss.’
This time I tried something different, to actually feel my sadness. I did a little talking with myself, like a mother would try to help her child. That’s a good therapeutic strategy given to me by a counselor. Acknowledge my problem first. Yes, I’m feeling uncomfortable and want to run, like usual. I also told myself to close my eyes and go inward.
This is a solid spiritual solution to face my discomfort. I can breathe. I can shut my eyes. I can simply exist, without trying to change my life instantly. I can be patient, for at least a few minutes.
It worked, after a few short prayers and ten minutes of quiet time. I decided to vacuum my house, and clean a bathroom, which I hate to do, but I always feel better when my house is cleaner. It took me hours to do those chores, because I did one room, laid on my bed and breathed for ten minutes. I got up and vacuumed another room, and so on.
It was a solution that worked for me. I was already miserable, why not go double into misery, vacuum, scrub a sink and toilet? I lived through that uncomfortable day, enough to ‘tell the tale.’
This little blog may not seem like a big deal to you, Dear Reader, but I didn’t do anything negative to myself, so my esteem is a bit more grounded, and I survived the sadness. Thanks for reading, and hopefully you’ve gotten a little something.
Fake It ‘Til You Make It.
My depression always passes if I can just wait it out and not do anything rash in the meantime.
Good that you’ve discovered this system and can use it to get thru the sadness. These little discoveries about how to make life work are such bonanzas when they are revealed. Good work, Pru. And thanks for sharing too.