I had to smile when I saw this quote on the screen this morning: “Whenever we decide to take things to the next level, we shake things up within.”
That was written by the author of The Jennifers: Jenny G. Perry onto her Fcebook wall this morning. And this just happened to be the morning after I had wondered if anyone else has strong bodily reactions to emotions the way I do. I’ve heard plenty of people talking about emotions getting stuck in their body and causing problems down the road. But no one ever talks about how they deal with negative emotions in quite the same way I experience them. I suspect there is more of “my kind” out there. Those of us who can’t simply distract ourselves from feeling bad or who don’t even want to ignore that something is making me feel sad, angry, or uncomfortable. There are more of us who feel they could go insane from the strength of their emotions, particularly if you’ve ever had the experience of riding one out in front of someone else. I’m not saying that Jenny has the exact same reactions as I describe below but her words certainly resonated with my gut-wretching events of yesterday. And for that, I thank her.
Most days I am proud of my strong emotions and the way I express them.
- My kids know they are loved.
- I make friends easily.
- People open-up to me.
- I’m great at public speaking.
- I am passionate.
That’s a pretty awesome list of great things because of my emotions. Let me try some more.
- I grab the good times and live them with zest!
- I make fun and in doing so, bring others along for the ride.
It’s just… the… negative… emotions… that trip me up from time to time.
I don’t know if I’ve practiced an unhealthy way of feeling those emotions or if I’m a genius at transformation.
It usually starts something like this…..
I’m full of a mix of dread and anticipation, sometimes for days beforehand but not this time. I’m restless and irritated. It increases to uneasiness.
I fidget and I go from task to task to attempt distraction.
When the discomfort finally peaks I have to sit or kneel on the floor while I rock my body back and forth. By the time the process starts I’m already thinking that “I just want to get through this” so I can get back to my normal life!
My breath quickens. The corners of my mouth turn downward. My mind is a constant loop of criticism. I feel a rotten presence in the pit of my stomach. This is sometimes triggered by having done something that frightened me (the irrational kind of fear). Walking through the fear creates a void in my being where something once was hidden. The seat of my soul was exposed, if only for a moment. Release of my emotions now turns to weeping. Stinging tears crash down my face. I gasp for air, wipe my face, blow my nose, and repeat. I have no idea how long this lasts but I think it is longer than it feels because I usually lose whole afternoons or even the whole day when negative emotion has its’ way with me.
The cat knows something is wrong and tries to comfort me. I breath only with labored heaving of my chest, a mere attempt to take back control. I wrap my arms around my stomach in a desperate attempt at self-preservation but it is futile. The work of destroying the walls that kept me “little” have already been toppled. I only need to let the dust settle. To let things reequilibrate within. I continue to gasp for air like a guppy out of water. A desperate wimper and then a moan escapes from between my lips. I look desperately up at the ceiling as though I’ve had enough.
Then I get shivers that roll from the bottom of my spine, up, into and then through the gaping hole that used to house the fear. The tremble continues upward to finally exit out of the throat chakra. I feel the blur of dizziness wash over me. I sigh multiple times and graciously with more and more space between the exhales.
The cat validates the intensity on display with his patient but engaged stance at my feet. It was only yesterday I allowed myself to be vulnerable, to do something that stretched me beyond my comfort zone. The realization that I did it gives no relief in this moment. I’m still breathing hard but less violently now. This is all so exhausting.
I reach up to my head and grab my hair in the last stance between going insane or returning back to reality. I stay there for a while with the fragile sense that I very likely do look insane. The cat rubs her face against my foot as though to say, it’s time to come back. I wipe the final tears off of my face and blow my nose. My senses heightened in the aftermath, particularly hearing. The tips of my fingers are tingling but freezing cold. It seems that time stands still for the moment. A few remaining tears well up in my eyes one last time but a subtle sense of pride sets in with one long slow controlled exhale. I make eye contact with the cat, start to get off the floor, smile and say “I made it to the other side”. He now seems bored with me so I know all is back to normal.
Experience has taught me that tomorrow is going to be a fantastic day and walking through the thing that I feared will bring multiple rewards but I still have to ask:
- Is it worth it?
- Can I survive another “stretch of my soul”?
- Is there another way?
I don’t want to be the only one.
Is this an unhealthy way of feeling negative emotions or is there a purpose to the madness?
What do you think?