How to feel…

What does this mean? This word, feel?

How do you feel? How do I feel? I still don’t know. I am afraid to feel.

Or rather I am struggling to learn how to feel. For many years, I have bottled up or hid my feelings. I have tried to stay strong and intelligent and ‘feeling-less’ because I didn’t want anyone to think I was weak. (Thank you Barbara for your plurk regarding this idea). When I had my panic attack almost 4 years ago now, my body was saying enough is enough. You need to face these feelings. You need to learn how to feel. I know this. I am working on this. But I still don’t know how. Or rather I still hide.

I sit at work sometimes tearing up over the sometimes sad, sometimes amazing stuff that goes on in the Emergency Room. But I don’t want anyone to see. I hide the tears inside. I stay alert and powerful. I am afraid that if I cry, I will lose that power. Plus what will people think of me if I cry? That I am weak? That I can’t handle my job?

That I am human???

I almost cried in therapy the other day. I have kind of teared up in a couple of sessions, but again I held back. Maybe I am not ready to let go? I understand to feel is to be brave, to be strong, to be powerful. Why can’t I feel?

Ok, maybe the problem isn’t that I can’t feel. Because I do feel sometimes. We just had some very very sad news yesterday and I am heartbroken. I came home and cried. So I am capable of feeling. Sometimes I just choose to not feel. Is it easier? Is it because I am alone and can’t share my pain with anyone? Why???

4 thoughts on “How to feel…

  1. Wow, hun. I relate so incredibly. I used to close myself off as well. To become numb. Hell, I literally couldn’t cry without pinching my eyelids between my fingernails. I remember one time, while working at a chain delivery steak joint, after recently losing my closest friend (and my brother’s closest friend) to a horrifically violent death that touched and affected almost everyone I knew, one of my co-workers started saying some really nasty things about the deceased – in essence he said that the deceased had gotten what they deserved. I was incensed and so sad that anyone could not understand what a tragedy it was that this beautiful human being was literally forcibly taken from this plane of existence by another human being. I remember clenching my fists and jaw, scowling, and, after announcing that I was going outside for a smoke break, stomping off and slamming the door to the dumpster area, where we could smoke. I was becoming a tight coil. In essence, I was attempting not to feel. Then, all of a sudden, I realized that i actually WANTED to cry, that to not shed tears for someone I considered a family member was ludicrous and insanity. I tried and couldn’t. That’s the day I began pinching my eyelids with my fingernails, pulling at the skin so it stretched out away from me, and finally, slowly pulling the skin even more until my nails released the skin with a sharp biting sensation. Yes, tears welled up, but I was still not able to truly cry. I am lucky, though. While I have gone through periods of numbness, for the most part, I feel too much. That is, in and of itself, another kind of curse, but it opens you up to so much more of the realm of human existence. I wish that you, too, can find a way to release all that bottled up emotion festering within you. I will not say I’m happy, that would be a lie, but I am so much more happier than I was and now, at least, I have moments of pure, unadulterated joy. And really, what is life but a moment?

    “Laws of silence don’t work …
    When something is festering in your memory or your imagination, laws of silence don’t work, it’s like shutting a door and locking it on a house on fire in hope of forgetting that the house is burning. But not facing a fire doesn’t put it out. Silence about a thing just magnifies it. It grows and festers in silence, becomes malignant ….”

    “But one thing I don’t have is the charm of the defeated, my hat is still in the ring, and I am determined to win!”

    both quotes from “Cat On A Hot Tin Roof,” Tennessee Williams ❤

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