Sunday, October 12, 2014

Learning to feel...

It has been a difficult week and I am trying to process all that has happened.  It started with an experience that opened up a lot of emotional boxes that I have kept carefully locked for a long time.  This resulted in an average of three hours sleep each night and dreams that I wish I did not remember, that made my waking hours uneasy. 

This weekend I spent with loved ones and attended the celebration of a cherished friend.  I have been looking forward to it for months.  Before the party, we engaged in a few hours of very energetic play that included pushing my limits in ways that I did not expect. 

My reaction to these experiences, before we ever even arrived at the party, was unexpected as well, although not unfamiliar to me.  My anger escaped and I felt overwhelmed by feelings.  Not specific feelings that I could identify and process but, rather simply too much feeling.  And as has been the case for the past week, my ability to shut down those feelings was missing.  It was just gone. 

The part that was familiar was an almost overwhelming desire to walk out onto the highway and catch a ride to anywhere else.  The thought that “I could be ten states away by morning” kept repeating in my brain.  The desire to hurt someone was also very strong and difficult to silence. 

I have not had those thoughts, those desires, so strongly in decades. And I returned to a behavior that I rejected years ago.  I resorted to sipping on a bottle of fire whiskey all night long to quiet those thoughts and to numb those feelings.

That form of self-medication has never proven to be very effective and, while I managed at first to regain some semblance of control and even danced and spent time laughing with loved ones, the moment eventually came when I just fell apart.

I know exactly where I was when it happened.  The truly mystifying thing about it was that, suddenly I was surrounded by six people whom I love, and I do mean surrounded.  They were standing around me in a circle.  One moment to the next, they were just simply there.  I have no idea how they knew what was about to happen.  None of them have ever seen me in that state before, certainly not at a party.  But I could not hold it together any longer and I could not keep the feelings contained, nor could I keep them out. 

It feels as though they stood there with me for a long time.  I believe I was crying.  I know that I was ashamed.  I know that I kept apologizing for my weakness.  I know that they kept reminding me, that if it were any one of them, I would not consider it to be weakness. 

I am incredibly grateful for their support.  And for a beloved who sat in a car with me and talked me down from a very bad anxiety attach after, and for beloveds who never complained when the dreams that kept waking me, woke them as well.  And who let me remain silent on the long drive home. 

I am home now, alone in the quiet with my beloved Pwca.  My chest still hurts and I keep crying, over what I don’t know, but I am safely away from the thoughts and the feelings that seemed so overwhelming.  I will try to sleep again and hopefully the dreams will let me.  I will try to make sense of this week when I wake.  


  1. This post sounds like someone who has discovered the reservoir of 'feelings I'm not allowed to have,' a reservoir created long ago when someone else thought they were in charge of your feelings and told you which ones were okay. Now that you're starting to experiment with letting them out, it doesn't surprise me that dreams want your attention. I hope you know I'm another one who is 'here' for you. Sending you so much love and light and laughter

  2. Big hugs to you! The last time I had an emotional breakdown in a group setting, I was lucky to be in the presence of loved ones who were nothing but compassionate and understanding about it, and gave me the time and safe space I needed to feel my feelings, express them, and move through it. I'm glad you had the same!