I have been, as previous posts indicated, on an Up of late. This continues to be the case. Ive been adjusting certain habits and managing my thoughts quite effectively in a bid to re-wire my brain
However, it turns out, you don’t have to *consciously* think to still feel!
Am currently on an escapade away from home. The dance franchise I use holds regular weekend dance breaks and I had been meaning to go to one since I started, in 2007. As much as I wanted to though, I always found the prospect rather daunting, hence why it took me so long to get here
The last time I went away for a weekend back in September I was completely wrought with anxiety for the two weeks prior. The night before, as I walked to catch a bus after seeing my friend in Avenue Q, out of nowhere my mind screamed at me “YOU CANT GO!!! YOU CANT GO!!! YOU JUST CANT!!!”. It was like a fire alarm going off inside me. Loud. Insistent. Making you want to run.
That wasn’t the case this time. I had my fears sure but I was much much calmer in the run up, and no internal fire alarm blaring at me the night before telling me I couldn’t possibly go.
So the day arrived – yesterday – and all was good for the most part. Nerves. Excitement. But all within the normal spectrum of things.
Dropped my daughter off at school. As I walked away felt unexpectedly emotional, tearful.
”Its ok” I told myself “This feeling just means I love her and will miss her”
First feel of note.
Pottered around for an hour or two and then came the final preparation. The final pack. Make-up. In total the whole business took me around an hour and a bit. All I consciously thought about during that time was getting ready. I thought entirely about the packing as I went about it. Thought entirely about my make- up as I went about that. Getting ready was all that filled my mind.
But I started to feel a little strange. Fed the cats and felt a pang. Saw the photos on the wall and felt a pang.
“Ok, I’m not used to leaving them for so long. It’s new still. I feel this way because I’ll miss them. That means I love them.”
But gradually I become hot. My heart beat faster. My lungs felt tight. A tight knot forms in my chest and a hard lump in the pit of my stomach. Adrenalin’s coursing through me.
I’m just going about getting ready to leave. Am not catastrophizing consciously at all. All I’m thinking about is the tasks in hand but non the less the physical sensation of panic and anxiety looms up in me
Deep breaths. Calm. Sip water
A number of books I read, and agree with, and a therapist I see have all stated that rather than resisting our big emotions we should turn to face them. Even the yuck ones. Especially those in fact
I was never on board for suppression
I’ve been deliberately readjusting my phone habits of late too so have been using travel time for reflection. Looking out the window. Thinking. Noticing people and surroundings. So in the car to the station I took the opportunity to sit with my feelings and ask myself “What?” And “Why?”
Anxiety for sure. Panic. Fear. Fear of what? Fear of forgetting something. Fear of not looking the part. Fear of looking frumpy or ugly or like a fool. Why do you care about what other people think? Because I don’t want them to look down on me. Yes but WHY? Because I felt looked down upon a lot as a child and it made me resentful and angry at the injustice…. maybe? Perhaps I’m seeking meaning that isn’t there
Fear I’ll miss the train and get myself muddled and inconvenience my friends, in one way or another. It’s a 40 minute journey tops and you got in the car an hour and a quarter in advance. You’ve plenty of time. It’s highly unlikely you’ll miss the train. Why would you inconvenience your friends? I don’t know, by making some mistake!! Like what?!? What mistakes are there to be made? Also, they’re your friends. In he unlikely event you cock up they won’t hold it against you. They cock up too sometimes
Fear the children will be sad without me. They’re in capable hands and will most likely get over any “I want mummy” moments very swiftly, if they have them at all!
90% of the things we worry about never happen
Anxiety is a focus on a possible outcome, not an actual outcome. Your worries probably won’t happen. Your worries aren’t reality.
Why? What does that emotion tell you? That I love my children. They’re fine and well looked after. They know you love them. I feel selfish. Like I’m abandoning them. You’re coming back Monday. Your life centres almost entirely around them and has done for many years. You’re allowed time away. You’re allowed something for you. You’re allowed to be happy!
I did calm in the car but wasn’t entirely at ease until I clapped eyes on my friends on the platform.
Reflecting on finding that you’re feeling despite not thinking, I realised all the times it’s happened before. The time I had a major physical reaction to a teeny tiny snub (that may not even have been a snub) before I’d even mentally processed the snub. The very many times I’m ridiculously happy just to be near someone, without actively thinking “This person is wonderful” or thinking of anything at all really. Am just feeling
You can implement coping techniques and manage your thoughts as much as you please but sometimes emotions don’t need thoughts, they grab you anyway.