3 tips that have saved me and might save you too!
It’s taken me nearly 2 weeks to write about this — not because I didn’t want to — but because I didn’t feel ready to.
For Harry Potter fans, coronavirus has felt like Voldemort to my mind. Writing about the virus that I wish didn’t have to be named has taken me lots of mental and emotional processing time. And perhaps you can relate. It went from being insidious to pandemic within weeks.
Suddenly my daughter’s school was canceled “indefinitely.” My heart lept into my throat when I read the school district’s email. I was moving into my new therapy office that day. I brought Clorox wipes with me and cautiously wrapped the wipe around the door handle as I walked into my new space. I saw one client and then got a notice from my supervisor that the county mandated us to start seeing clients via telehealth.
Suddenly the seriousness of the matter hit home — literally.
As a mental health professional, I highly value western doctors that get that health is not just about the body.
“Okay, take a deep breath and cough for me,” the white-haired doctor said as he pressed a cool metal stethoscope onto my bareback.
“Hmmm, no signs of wheezing at all. And you said this has been going on for a month?”
He invited me to step off the high check-up table. “Why don’t you sit beside me in this chair?” He was facing his computer, but quickly spun around and looked me in the eyes with all the sincerity in the world.
I will admit, I was hesitant when this much older, rather brusk mannered fill-in for my regular MD walked into the room. I judged him for his age. I feared that he would be too old-school. That was until his hazel eyes stared into mine with empathy and compassion I didn’t know I was so hungry for. His eyes reminded me I wasn’t just hungry — I was starving.
Hint, it starts with this thing we call “purpose”…
Do you live every day to the fullest?
I’ve spent years plucking away jobs, activities, and people that suck the marrow out of my life. Why? I’ve seen one too many people I love wither away into a sea of despair — spending their lives doing what they thought they should do rather than doing what they love.
After devoting their whole “working lives” to their jobs, both my parents (Baby Boomers), and grandparents (the Silent Generation) retired into a state of purposelessness, despondency, and depression. Sometimes by watching those we love spin into a state of discontent, we learn what not to do.
To learn to live an empowered life
I used to yearn for friendly gazes from people, even strangers.
My highly sensitive, empathic self would shrink when my eyes were met with a glare or a snarl from a stranger. I would give my power away, unconsciously merging with an unknown soul, and join them in their space of suffering.
But recently, this all changed…at a traffic light.
It almost killed me too
I, like you, have been fighting my negative emotions all of my life.
Somewhere along the mucky maze of societal conditioning and dysfunctional family patterns, I started to doubt most of my feelings, especially the so-called bad ones.
My self-doubt led me down the bleak road of emotional repression. However, as I repressed what I deemed the icky, I also began to repress what I deemed good. For my emotional brain, it became too challenging to veer off the emotionless road of repression into the colorful field of expression. It was easier to just treat all of my emotions with the same doubt and mistrust. Maybe you’ve been there too?
One perception shift at a time.
My body hurts, and yet, I’m smiling the deeper-than-lips smile of inner contentment.
Contentment was something that I felt sparingly in my early life. I was raised to think emotional pain and inner and outer discord were typical baseline experiences.
I suffered from Celiac disease for years (because I guess I thought chronic stomachaches were the norm). Then I found yoga and meditation, and I was somehow able to tolerate my physical and emotional discomfort with a newfound connected, yet detached, awareness.
If you’re addicted to your feelings of inadequacy — then you’re not alone.
For years, I’ve seen only the gaping holes in my life. I’ve looked around me and often ignored the love and the connection that is reaching out to me.
I’ve focused on the empty moments: the texts that aren’t returned by friends, lovers, or family members. I’ve focused on the gruffness of the cashiers that suddenly turn my open heart sour. I’ve focused on the quiet nights when I’ve gotten no phone calls. I’ve focused on the debt and the lack of funds in my bank account.
I’ve been addicted to seeing what I don’t have, instead of seeing what I do have.
And why the writer in me wants to tell it all
Everything that has happened to me is a story.
I’ve always felt this incredible desire to share my stories in hopes that they might bleed into the fabric of your story and perhaps transform you because that’s what stories do — they transform.
But I can’t tell it all to you.
I really want to. Trust me, I do. I have some juicy stories that will make you feel all sorts of crazy. I have some heartwarming tales that will melt your soul up. I have some hot and steamy sagas that will light you up, inside and out.
But I can’t tell it all to you.
I sought him out because I wanted to work on my trust issues with men.
The first time I sat down on the couch in his plant-filled office, I sobbed. His doughy body and cherub-like face were warm and inviting. I took comfort in the fact that I wasn’t at all attracted to him. He felt like a father-figure to me. I was able to open up with him the way I wanted to be able to open with my own father.
It was in the quiet moments between my emotional unraveling that he inserted his desires. “Maybe you should try not having sex right now. What we have here is intimacy. This relationship we are fostering in this room is authentic. You don’t need sex for real intimacy.”
His words elicited mixed feelings. They were soothing to my ears but stirred up a deep discomfort in my soul.
When self-sabotage is a comfortable discomfort.
I wrote an article about an emotionally triggering event. It went viral.
I should have been ecstatic — over the moon, really. Instead, I was left with mixed feelings.
The earnings I made from that article paid for my rent and then some.
Instead of writing more to “earn more,” I wrote less and shockingly watched my reader stats and followers go up daily.
Let me unpack my mixed feelings one layer at a time.
Soul Writer. Single Mama. Life ponderer. Nature Lover. Therapist. Introvert. HSP & Empath. Life is my playground and each day a blank canvas.