What Happened When I Allowed Myself to Feel My ‘Extreme’ Emotions
I’ve had a moment today that is worth writing down, and in turn this moment has developed into one of the most essential skills people with borderline personality disorder (BPD) must know. As far as other mental illnesses go, I’m positive this will help them too. As a survivor of BPD, I can only speak for other BPD survivors.
I woke up today feeling happy and in love. It’s just me and my husband and we are doing our normal morning routine.
I was reminded of someone special I have had to let go of in my life, and all of a sudden, my world changed. Immediately, I knew something was wrong as I went from happy and in love to extremely sad and depressed. Within a minute, I was in tears. These aren’t just tears; my whole body was consumed with remorse.
In these moments, I have typically left whatever room I’m in without saying anything and lock myself in the bathroom to allow myself to weep and feel depressed. In turn, the rest of my day is shot. I’ll spend hours lying in there, curled up in a ball of sadness. All of the chores and errands and important tasks we adults have to play along with don’t get touched. My husband knows he won’t see me for however long I allow this situation to carry out, which in turn upsets him because I am no longer available to get anything important done. Big sigh. I’m sure a lot of you reading this can relate.
But something different happened today.
As I started crying, I just didn’t move. I allowed my body to feel the sobs and remorse… I closed my eyes and allowed those painful memories to play, like an old school recorder playing those pictures you took because you couldn’t print them. I felt embarrassed I was allowing this to unfold in front of my husband, but I chose to not care. I didn’t want the whole day to be ruined. I held my head and let the tears flow, feeling how bad it hurts to let go of people you loved so much. Within minutes, I was leaning my head back, wiping my eyes and realizing the heavy feelings of remorse and depression were lighter. I was still sitting in the same spot and my feelings were being released every second. As I sat there, feeling shocked that I completely altered my existence with a choice that felt uncomfortable to make… I came up with an analogy that fits this story.
A train can be many different lengths, but a train is a train. A train has a station, a lot like our emotions have one. Once this train is loaded, it leaves its station and takes off on the tracks, heading to its new destination. Our emotions also “leave their station,” if you will, and they begin down our “tracks” inside our body, mind and soul. Some trains are longer and may take a bit longer to travel, as sometimes our emotions take a lot longer to fade away than others.
Imagine yourself watching this train go down the tracks. You can’t watch the train disappear into the distance from any other spot but the one you’re in. Watch as that train begins to fade. You no longer see the details of this train or how many people or “emotions” are in it. You just continue to watch it fade away into the distance.
Now, imagine yourself doing this with your waves of emotions. What if you allowed yourself to feel your emotions first, instead of reacting while feeling? What if you allowed yourself to watch the train disappear into the distance until it’s gone?
My whole day is no longer doomed. My emotions have subsided and I am able to resume with the tasks and things I want to do. I am absolutely amazed! I have isolated myself due to extreme emotions for years. Today was my day to change that.
This is my story I hope you read, and read again, and again when you feel like you have no control over yourself, or when you feel like all hope is lost. Let yourself feel those emotions and understand, if I am still sitting on the other side of that wave, you will be too.
Photo by Joanna Nix on Unsplash