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What I Mean When I Say, 'I Feel Empty'

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“I feel empty.” 

“What does that even mean?” I find myself at a loss for words when I’m frequently faced with that question. How does someone feel empty? How can I adequately convey the void I’m experiencing within my mind and heart? Emptiness cannot be defined within the constraints of just one word. So you ask me, “What does that even mean?” To me, it means feeling a sense of dissatisfaction. Not with a situation, but with my life. It means feeling a heaviness in my heart as if I should be searching — yearning — for something more, something to satisfy this ache I’ve grown so familiar with.

It means feeling as if something needs to be done to placate this emotional void that is causing me so much discomfort. Sometimes, I foolishly attempt to anesthetize this sense of emptiness with self-destructive habits, just to feel something other than empty. A distraction. But the thing about distractions is they’ll always be just that — distractions.

Distractions act as palliative efforts to ease the symptoms, but never serve as a curative solution for the origin of this emptiness. Never healing the wound — never mending the broken mind.

Emptiness, just like every other feeling or emotion, is fleeting. But in the moment, emptiness can consume you. It is so easy to lean into the emptiness and frantically search for comfort — but recovery means not always doing what is easy.

Recovery means experiencing the emptiness for what it is and learning how to reflect — how to cope in a healthy way. So next time you experience that dull ache in your chest, that impulsive need to fill the void, stop and reflect. Experience the emptiness and regain control.

We are not empty. We are full of potential.

We are whole.

Getty image via Clicknique

Originally published: June 20, 2019
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