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Hey! I think what I’m hearing you say is that you aren’t sure how to comfortably express your upset emotions because you, A) have been in the close presence of a family member who is emotional and complains often and then B) you don’t know a good, respectable way to release these emotions. Am I right?
IF I am right, then I have some advice for you. If I’m not, then what I’m about to say may not be exactly what you’re looking for. I grew up with quite a few people who weren’t comfortable with themselves or with life for that matter, so they were all highly emotional and complacent. One of these people was (and still is) extremely anxious and worrisome and would verbally express her fears all day long. I couldn’t go anywhere with her without her worrying of at least 5 of the following: her looks, her hair and makeup, if she exercised enough, if she turned the stove/oven/toaster/washer/dryer/any appliance off, if she had enough gas in the car, if I was going to leave my purse in the car where we went to (what if someone broke into her car to steal it), if her other family members had contacted her and if they were alright, if the car in the lane next to her was going to crash into her, if I was mad at her, etc. It was only reasonable that after experiencing life with a family member like that, I had a LOT of trouble expressing fears or personal problems to anyone without worrying that I was going to look like that crazy person in front of them. I learned to ‘put away’ my feelings instead of expressing them in a socially acceptable manner right off the bat. But that wasn’t healthy because holding your feelings in isn’t healthy!
After experiencing several years of sudden emotional attacks that would have me crying about everything that had made me angry or sad or frustrated in the past year, at least once a year, I decided I needed to stop stuffing my emotions away because it was causing me stress. I think that’s what you meant by feeling crazy and having trouble thinking or concentrating because even if sometimes you can’t clearly feel it, the back of your mind is all clouded and full of pent up emotions! It’s very important to allow these emotions out in the form of a comfortable release. Not knowing how to let them out makes finding peace very difficult. And I do know what you mean by this habit making it difficult to find help for your personal problems because if nobody knows that you’re sad how are they going to help?
But my advice to you is to start by letting them out when you’re alone BUT ALSO writing down how you feel. It helped me to write down my feelings because then I could make sense of what was really troubling me on paper and single it out away from the rest of my thoughts. It is okay to cry. Everybody cries. Even men cry sometimes. They just don’t talk about it. Crying is embarrassing when it’s in public and no one else is crying. Crying in front of someone randomly is embarrassing. There is no easy way to just cry in front of others unless that’s what you grew up doing but it sounds like you didn’t grow up doing that. You’re doing what most people do. You go cry about it in a place where nobody else will bother you or ask you questions or watch you as you scrunch your face up weirdly and water comes out of your eyes. MOST people do not cry in front of others! That’s totally okay!
I think that you should follow your intuition about seeking a place to talk about your emotions. It doesn’t have to cost money. There are plenty of support groups and meetings that happen all over this country that do not cost money. I actually think it’s a better idea than counseling because then you meet others who are experiencing your same situation, you are totally allowed to cry in front of everybody, and you don’t feel alone. You don’t even have to have that pressing of a problem to be in a support group or meeting! I hope this helped! Good luck 🙂
I too have been in your position of obsessive thinking. What helped me was to go to the very deepest root of the problem and to read about it. So after spending several years obsessively thinking about my future, any fears that I had, any relationship problems I experienced, anything I experienced that was out of my control (i.e. a customer yelled at me at work and I spent the rest of the day thinking about it angrily), I realized that FIRST of all, I had formed the habit out of anxiety and SECOND of all, I continued to fall back into this habit due to the very fact that it was a thinking HABIT. So the obsessive thinking began in childhood as a sort of ‘comfort’ that went hand in hand with my anxiety. I was constantly anticipating punishment or humiliation that was out of my control because I grew up in an abusive household. It was a sort of way to control what was happening in my life that was out of my control. Instead of turning to sports or extracurricular activities to relieve this stress and anxiety, my control/release took the form of obsessive-compulsive thoughts. Then, years later, I found myself obsessively thinking about things that didn’t even cause me much initial anxiety (such as the angry customer who yelled at me) because at that point it was simply a bad habit. I slowly broke out of it by reading more about it, by talking about it, and learning to understand why I was doing it. Then afterwards I tried meditation (a GREAT idea like what John said above me) and I also started talking myself out of those pesky thoughts in my head, as well as working them out on paper through writing in a journal. Exercise is another great way to break free of your OCD thoughts because it forces you to focus on something else and release stress. Those are the things that helped me. I rarely have OCD thoughts now today. I hope that you will give any of these methods a try or all of them if you can! I’ve found that a combination of these methods is even better than just one. But remember to take baby steps and treat yourself kindly. Good luck!
The dictionary definition of “carefree” is “free of worries and responsibilities”. So if you have responsibilities and worries are you supposed to just drop them? That’s a little extreme, right? I think that it’s absolutely okay to have responsibilities and worries. Everyone on Earth has worries and responsibilities unless they’re children or perhaps happily retired elderly folks. It’s the extent to which you think about them that is the problem you may want to address. Excessive worries can lead to emotional trouble and anxiety. Excessive responsibilities can lead to stress and anxiety. Worrying about worrying and worrying about responsibilities also cause emotional trouble, stress, and anxiety. If you want to be less anxious or stressed out, then it’s very important to find ways of expressing these feelings. Try exercising and sleeping right. It really helps. Try writing your thoughts down if you have constant thoughts. Meditate or find your own personal form of meditation like a hobby or something. Remaining in the present like Matt said can be extremely helpful even if you start by only being in the present for 5 seconds a day. Also, Matt touched on something important with his zen joke: humor helps us get through rough times and stress because it makes light of stressful situations. Watch comedy or hang out with friends who you laugh together with. You might find your stress eased even a little just by cracking a smile.
You mentioned that you were putting a lot of pressure on yourself in your life, which led you to attempt to be “carefree” but I think that attempting to be completely carefree is still putting pressure on yourself. Even millionaires have certain responsibilities or worries that may come up from time to time (in fact, having a lot of money may not always be less stressful). Involve yourself in healthy activities, even if it’s just exercising at home, writing down thoughts, or reading books. It seems you already understand what’s stressing you out so you’re already taking a step in the right direction! Good luck! It only gets better from here.
There is no way to be fearless. But there are many ways to be strong in the face of adversity. I grew up beneath the strict rule of an emotionally unstable parent who criticized me heavily, forced me to stay in the home, and ignored me/yelled at me/slammed the door in my face whenever I “messed up”. It was only until I moved out of my mother’s house that I realized that I was constantly trying to avoid conflict with others due to the punishment I had received from my mother. I never disagreed with anyone on their opinion, I never suggested to anybody what they should do about their problems. When friends came to me asking for advice about problems it made me highly uncomfortable because I didn’t want to anger them with my opinion lest they should cut me out of their lives and/or humiliate me in front of other people. These 2 punishments were my mother’s way of keeping me in control and preventing me from being myself and having my own independent opinion. So I think I understand where you’re coming from. After a life experience like that, it’s hard for the victim of emotional or physical abuse to perceive what others around you think of as rude or weird. Here’s an example: it took me 5 years to come to the understanding that it’s okay to ask your friend for a snack if you’re hungry and you’re sleeping over at their house because they invited you over. Here’s another example: it’s okay to be honest with your closest friends about your opinion on anything. I spent a huge portion of my young life wearing a people-pleasing, doormat smile in order to subconciously prevent any outside abuse like the abuse I was receiving from my guardian. Here’s my advice to you and to anyone else who’s seeking the way out of people-pleasing, walking on eggshells, being a doormat, etc. and it goes for anybody whether or not you’ve experienced abuse or it’s just a strenuous habit you formed. Be honest with yourself. Write your true feelings down or speak with a counselor if possible. It’s important to know where you picked this habit up from (abuse, insecurity, fear, etc.) so that you can address the problem and understand it. Then, it’s important to understand that even though your abuser or your insecurities or whatever it was that caused the habit was what originally started you down the wrong path, it’s solely up to YOU to want to forgive yourself and change this behavior. You are the only one who is in control of your mind, so it’s your responsibility to work on yourself. Breaking a habit is not an overnight process, but if you WANT to change that’s all the fuel you need to get started. Read books, get educated, take a class, talk to your counselor/a trusted friend or relative, give yourself time to work on this behavior and you will begin to notice results. Continue to journal your feelings or something similar so you can notice your progress. That will motivate you to keep going. Then, once you feel bold enough, take baby steps and try new things out verbally. If your friend tells you that they like rock music and you don’t, say so. If a stranger gives you the right of way when approaching an open door, take it. You may take a small tumble on your journey (someone may disagree with you at some point, etc.) but if you truly want to break this habit, you will get back up and keep going.
It’s up to you and what you want to do! I am not a doctor or a counselor, I’m just speaking from my personal experience. I was once somebody who cowered in fear beneath my mother while she yelled, “You’re weak and sensitive!” in my face, and now I’m bold, strong, and I’m able to give you my opinion here online. Just keep in mind that if you want to change you can, most people are NOT like your abusers and will not punish you in some way for having an opinion, the worst that can happen is a disagreement, and I think it’s also nice what you said that people vary and everyone is different. Push yourself forward but take baby steps! Think of yourself as “recovering”. If you’re overcoming a physical injury, you must work through the pain but you also must take it slow. It’s the same as an emotional injury. Good luck!