January 27, 2021 at 5:42 am #373555
You are welcome. Keep meditating daily because it works for you, keep doing what works- even if it doesn’t work every single time. Healing in you is in progress: you don’t get that specific urge to self-harm anymore, well done, as the English say!
You wrote: “I just try to feel the pain to completion”- you don’t mean that you are aiming at feeling the pain or focusing on the pain, do you? When I experience pain or a difficult emotion my objective is to relax and my focus is on relaxing (I don’t try to feel the pain or to not feel the pain). When I focus on my physical breathing, the pain/ emotion lessens.
“I don’t want to be alone.. this loneliness feels so unsolvable… I feel like there’s something you.. are trying to teach me”- I will now look at that recent study I did and find something there that may help in regard to understanding your alone-ness/ loneliness more: I wrote that your fear of separation from an object of attachment is extreme, that you desperately crave attachment (not wanting to be alone) and you terribly fear attachment (wanting to get away once attached). The terrible fear is about either losing your mind or your very life. In yet other words, what you need the most, you fear the most.
You wrote in August 2018: “I struggle with feeling safe vs. Feeling loved, the two feelings have never been simultaneously present within me”- meaning that when you feel loved/ attached/ connected- you feel unsafe/ in danger. No wonder you run away from attachment the moment after you experience it: attachment= danger. After you run away/ end a beginning relationship you probably feel a relief, but after some time, you get lonely and you crave attachment. It’s a catch 22: you can’t be okay alone for too long.. and you can’t be okay with a woman for too long: the moment there is any sign of rejection, it may be her not answering your text quickly, your fear takes over, then anger, then you end the very beginning relationship.
anitaJanuary 27, 2021 at 6:47 am #373559
I mean that when I notice myself about to cry or feel overwhelmed with emotion i let it be. I digest it in order to go on with my day or else it will pop up at inopportune times. I didn’t used to do this. I rarely used to cry. If i felt myself near the point of tears i would attempt to suppress or distract from it with my various addictions. I learned this when i was trying to stop cutting. It would be so uncomfortable all i could do is sit with it, listen to what the emotion is trying to tell me, wait (and breathe) until it had passed. are you saying that is not helpful?
I want to make sure i digest my emotions not suppress them. When i focus on my breathing the feeling goes away for me too, although it takes a while, not as long as it used to, but it still lingers. If i had a breakdown like i did yesterday morning for 20mins 5 years ago i would be inpatient right now because it would just keep on going. im confused
Also, you are spot on with what i need most i fear most. I don’t know which is worse for me waiting for someone to text back or going through a week like im having now. Being in relationships feels dangerous to my survival in the sense that if, a breakup occurs > im an emotional wreck > i cant do my job > i dont get paid > i dont survive.January 27, 2021 at 7:46 am #373563
It is definitely unhealthy to suppress emotions. On the other hand, it is also unhealthy to hold on to and prolong the experience of emotional pain.
“when I notice myself about to cry or feel overwhelmed with emotion… I digest it… (I) sit with it, listen to what the emotion is trying to tell me, wait (and breathe) until it had passed. Are you saying that is not helpful?”-
– you are the one to judge, of course, about what is helpful to you and what is not helpful. I am not clear about what you mean by the parts I italicized, can you explain those parts to me: what it is that you are thinking, feeling and/ or doing at the times when you digest an emotion and listen to it?
“Being in relationships feels dangerous to my survival in the sense that if a breakup occurs-> I’m an emotional wreck-> I can’t do my job-> I don’t get paid-> I don’t survive”-
– this laying out of your fear has your adult thinking in it, but the Fear was born when you were a child, before you ever had a job and before you had to pay bills. If/ when you want to, come up with a layout/ description of your early-life (and ongoing) fear of emotional attachment and of separation from/ abandonment by your object/s of attachment.
anitaJanuary 27, 2021 at 8:08 am #373566
Okay, so I don’t intend to prolong the pain in those acute moments. That is something I used to do however because it felt “right” to me to punish myself. I try not to do that as much, although it does still happen.
What i mean by digesting my emotions is like the opposite of what suppression was to me. Instead of pushing it down i let it surface and be felt from the beginning to its end, trying to keep myself in a state of mindful awareness while experiencing the emotion. I would liken it to ripping off a band-aid instead of slowly pulling it off. I just want to get the pain over with so i don’t fight it (supress it) and let it run its course.
The exception to this is during times when it is not appropriate to digest an emotion for example when i’m doing therapy with people. I have to notice it, supress it and process it outside of working hours. I cant be crying on the floor of my office while my client is too.
My hypothesis is that i currently have a backup of emotion (and needs) demanding attention that i continually suppress, again for survival or else i may loose my income. This is why i feel being a therapist may not be right for me, because i don’t process my emotions regularly anymore. It was nice having coworkers who were supportive or being in school and having classes where we would process things. I don’t have that community with covid anymore, therefore it just sits on my heart, until the levees break.
I really dont feel like working today. I’m contemplating canceling my day right now. I just can’t focus. I cant manage to get any work done at home, i’m currently a week and a half behind on my notes, im tired, i’m lonely, i feel like shit, and really don’t have a good reason to keep trying anymore.
January 27, 2021 at 9:05 am #373571
- This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by noname.
“I’m tired, I’m lonely, I feel like sh**, and really don’t have a good reason to keep trying anymore”- some of the ways you are trying are not working for you, no wonder you lose your motivation to keep trying. Without positive results, one loses motivation. I think that you need to evaluate the ways you’ve been trying, and start trying different ways.
“What I mean by digesting my emotions is like the opposite of what suppression was to me. Instead of pushing it down, I let it surface and be felt from beginning to its end… (like) ripping off a band-aid instead of slowly pulling it off. I just want to get the pain over with so I don’t fight it (suppress it) and let it run its course”-
– Your intent and strategy has been to express all the suppressed pain by crying and be done with that pain, have no more suppressed pain. But this strategy failed: you cried and cried for years and the suppressed pain is still there, hardly any of it has been released and resolved:
“I have been having at least two severe crying episodes per day usually before going to sleep and trying to get out of bed” (June 2017), “I have been crying all night and morning” (July 2017), “I have random crying episodes that sneak up on me” (September 2017), “I’ve been crying in so much pain for the past couple hours” (October 2017)… “I have been crying alone for the past 3-4 hours.. with no foreseeable end to the pain.. the pain is so much sometimes” (December 2019), …”I did my takes last night and fell to the floor crying… It was about 11:30 am yesterday and I had a crying episode.. I screamed, cried… I finally picked myself up off the floor about 11:50 and washed my face” (January 26 & 27, 2021).
Your intent in crying a lot at any one crying episode was to rip off the band-aid instead of slowly pulling it off, but seems like what you accomplished is to re-experience the suppressed pain, exhaust yourself (experiencing a temporary relief at best), but release/ resolve very little of the suppressed pain, if any.
anitaJanuary 27, 2021 at 10:10 am #373575
“Your intent in crying a lot at any one crying episode was to rip off the band-aid instead of slowly pulling it off, but seems like what you accomplished is to re-experience the suppressed pain, exhaust yourself (experiencing a temporary relief at best), but release/ resolve very little of the suppressed pain, if any.”
Yes! this is what is happening re-experiencing not resolution. I don’t know what else to do (Which makes me feel bad saying that seeing as im a therapist). I guess the emotion isn’t actually getting resolved. When i said i listen to what it is telling me i meant using my emotion as a guide. So sadness is telling me something i need in this case connection. But then i dont get connection because of the way i am and now i feel like im stuck in a loop…January 27, 2021 at 10:29 am #373576
Re-experiencing the pain does not equal resolution of the pain, not even a lessening of the pain. Then.. what is the purpose of re-experiencing it, what is the emotional payoff (I ask myself.. and you)?
anitaJanuary 27, 2021 at 11:30 am #373577
I am so glad you suggested it may be re-experiencing. I have not looked at my episodes in this way and it makes perfect sense to me. I see this as my self trying to process past trauma. Often when i’m having these episodes my life story viewed from the perspective of a powerless victim is running parallel in my mind to the emotional experience happening in my body. Trauma is stored in the body. Therefore my taxes, relationship attempts, or any significant hardship turn out to be triggers for past trauma. The trigger being the feeling of powerlessness, such as i felt as child. The implication here is that i have not actually processed my trauma and reconnected with my authentic self that was suppressed as child?
I think it is interesting and personally extremely frustrating that I can’t figure this out on my own. It’s not like this is new information to me. I just cant see it objectively as an outsider can. Honestly i don’t even trust anyone’s objective opinion except you and my therapist. Probably because niether one of you make me feel like i’m crazy for being the way i am, whereas other people just don’t empathize very well.January 27, 2021 at 12:00 pm #373581
“Often when I’m having these episodes, my life story viewed from the perspective of a powerless victim… Trauma is stored in the body… The trigger being the feeling of powerlessness, such as I felt as a child”- bingo.
The key to your healing is not to continue to re-experience the old experiences of trauma and powerlessness, but to experience something new: power!
Power over the intensity of your emotions, power over your choices and behaviors, and as much power as you can exercise over your life situations, beginning in small ways, proceeding over time to bigger ways.
“The implication here is that I have not actually processed my trauma and reconnected with my authentic self that was suppressed as a child?”- I think that you connected massively with your authentic self of the past, a powerless child, a victim. You now need to connect to a new self that is in you, awaiting your attention and eager to earn your trust. This new self is a powerful man.
anitaJanuary 27, 2021 at 12:02 pm #373582
Thank you AnitaJanuary 27, 2021 at 12:40 pm #373584
You are welcome, noname.January 29, 2021 at 9:29 am #373686
I’ve come up with a plan to take back power over my life. I would be interested in your feedback.
- I need discernment with my pain-This means being able to determine if i’m just triggered and feeling hopeless or if what I am experiencing is truly a powerless situation. I’m confident that the vast majority of the angst i experience is being triggered or re experiencing past truama. This insight came about through our communication over the past week.
- I need to improve my self soothing-This means furthering my abilities to soothe the wounded child in me from the nurturing adult/parent within me.
- I need power over my monkey mind-This means better coping and impulse control. Im thinking meditation can help with this sitting in discomfort while creating a grounded mind. The times when i’ve felt like i had control over my automatic thinking and habits were easily the times in my life i’ve felt most confident.
- I need a girlfriend-I need to be brave and learn to tolerate the discomfort of building attachments. I need to stop pretending i can do everything alone. I need to drop the individualistic conditioning of my culture and acknowledge i am human with human needs. I have proven to myself I am a desirable partner, believing nobody is capable of loving me is no longer the issue, its now the fear of someone loving me
- I need to own my job– I’m getting robbed working for other people. I have been on the fence about doing therapy long term. However as i get more comfortable and confident in my skills i know i have something people need and i have been doing this long enough to see good results with people. The practice i work at now has tripled in size and this has only made things more complicated for keeping my caseload organized. i’m not getting my money’s worth. Office space is cheap where i live, im the only black male therapist in what feels like a million miles, this is a no brainier. My goal is to have this going by the beginning of 2021 when i’m fully licensed which also opens me up to even more earning potential.
Let me know what you think. I have to get my life together, sooner than later preferably.January 29, 2021 at 10:15 am #373690
So good to read that you came up with a plan to take back your power and get your life together, I am excited!!! My feedback:
1. “I need discernment with my pain”- It is a good idea to ask yourself when you are distressed regarding a particular situation: is there anything I need to do about this situation now or later? If the answer is Yes, Now- then do what needs to be done. If the answer is Yes, Later- then make a note of what to on a later hour or day, and move on to the next topic &/or rest. If the answer is No (there is nothing required of you to do now or later)- then aim at moving on to another topic &/or rest.
The re-experiencing of your trauma and expressing it through crying etc., did not lessen or resolve your trauma, so keep it in mind when you find yourself about to cry. I am not saying that you should try to not cry.. I am saying: remind yourself that crying etc. will not lessen or resolve your trauma and then.. cry or not, whatever feels right to you.
2. “I need to improve my self soothing”- Yes, improve your self soothing/ distress tolerance= emotion regulations skills, this part is absolutely necessary, do it every day and repeatedly.
3. “I need power over my monkey mind”- This is a continuation of #2: the more you are able to self sooth/ distract in healthy ways, tolerate distress= to regulate your emotions, the less impulsive you will be and the more control you will have over your choices and behaviors. If you do not have a favorite meditation series that worked well for you in the past, I recommend professor Mark Williams series of mindful guided meditations, free online, listen to one 2-3 times a day. If you feel an initial resistance, don’t give up, keep a routine of listening for a few weeks before giving up on it, if you give up on it.
4. “I need a girlfriend”- You wrote: “I need to drop the individualistic conditioning of my culture and acknowledge I am human with human needs.. I am a desirable partner… it’s now the fear of someone loving me”-
– (a) the issue for you is not a cultural conditioning, (b) you are already aware that you are human with human needs, (c) thinking and even feeling at times that you are a desirable partner will not lessen or resolve the fear when you find yourself in a beginning relationship, (d) the issue is not fear of someone loving you, it is the fear of depending on someone to love you and then, once relaxed and dependent on that person for love, being terribly rejected and abandoned.
What you have done was to rush into the experience of love with a woman, then get triggered by any perceived rejection, however minute, then escalate the distress and run away.
This will be your greatest challenge because here is your greatest fear. This is where your very early life trauma resides, the trauma of having been rejected/ abandoned by the person/s you loved deeply and completely. You will need a LOT of work on #2 and #3 to make #4 possible.
5. “I need to own my job”- Yes, do what it takes to start your own practice once you are fully licensed.
anitaApril 1, 2021 at 6:47 pm #376979
I hope you are okay, and better than okay. Are you???
anitaApril 8, 2021 at 5:42 am #377361
Hey Anita, I hope you are doing well
I haven’t been great since i last posted. Still giving in to my addictive behaviors, I’m very stressed with survival worries related to my finances. I’m going to be able to pay my taxes thankfully since they extended the deadline by a month. But it doesn’t feel great knowing ill be 29 this month and ill have nothing to show for it. I’m pretty close to my breaking point. its hard to even type this out. I was seeing a woman last month and it only lasted a couple dates because at one point when she asked if i was doing okay i unexpectedly broke down in tears. The question caught me off guard but really was just another indication of how i’m doing and how stressed and hopeless i feel. Im just not sure how to move forward anymore. All i think about is money and when im not thinking about how i can make it out of paycheck to paycheck lifestyle the weight of loneliness sets in and…i dont know im not great. thank you for checking on me.