I started writing this post 13 days ago. I got as far as the title but I couldn’t finish it because, quite honestly, I was too distressed to write. Look, I’ve been having a rough couple weeks, even more rough than things had been going the weeks prior when I was depressed and not doing anything. Without being explicit, let’s just say that a little over a week ago I participated in a maladaptive coping mechanism that I had avoided using for nearly a year (I know the number down to the day). I don’t know quite how to describe it, except that I just couldn’t stop thinking about that action. I fought with myself for days, calling my therapist and friends, using skills that I learned in DBT. Unfortunately, I decided to engage in that behavior. I didn’t feel that bad after, which is a scary thought, because I know it isn’t healthy for me. Luckily, I haven’t had the urge to act on it since. (Breathe a huge sigh of relief — I know I did.)
About a week before this happened, I met with my therapist. During session we were discussing something when all of a sudden I got really teary eyed. I immediately said, “I feel like crying, but I’m not going to.” As soon as I said that, my teary eyes cleared up and I sat back and smiled. When I did that my therapist pointed out that maybe it would be healthy for me to allow myself to cry. I knew it would, but I don’t really know how to cry anymore. It’s as if, right when I start to “get into” crying, a vortex sucks my emotions back inside and I just can’t cry anymore. I even find it hard to feel sad at that point.
Then last week, when I was trying to fight off the urge to use that maladaptive coping skill, I used the Lifeline Crisis Chat to talk about my feeling and everything. When I was talking/chatting with someone, this one person noted that it seemed like I hold a lot of emotions inside. They also commented that it would probably be good for me to cry.
So why is it so hard for me to cry?! I think it all started in 2011, when my brother-in-law passed away. I think I shut off my emotions for a while when I became depressed, like seriously depressed. I was put on medications, but they didn’t seem to work that well. I was still incredibly apathetic – I just didn’t really feel anything and didn’t really care about anything. I had a pretty flat affect and that didn’t change for a year or two. I finally started feeling my emotions again like a year ago or so, but it’s been a rough road. I feel like the sad emotion especially has been working on a yo-yo string. I start to feel it and then it’s sucked back up. Where is it sucked up to? I have no idea.
I feel most of my negative emotions in my gut. I get this tense, chaotic sensation that feels like it’s swirling around. I can almost visualize a twister or hurricane going through my gut, tearing up all of these emotions and whirling them around. It’s so frustrating, it needs a release. Sometimes I feel like I need to just burst into tears and cry and sob and not stop for a long time. But it feels so impossible. That’s why, when I’m mindful of it, I try to let myself cry when I feel those emotions.
What can I say? Sometimes you just need to cry…