Did you know that it is totally ok to feel all your feelings?
Sadness tells people that we are hurting and invites our loved ones closer to tend to us. Fear is there to alert us of the potential dangers that lurk. No need to explain joy, I know you like that one. Although, for some people it can feel scary to surrender to any feeling, including joy because to do so would mean coming out of a shut down, a just barely functioning state. We’d need to drop down into our bodies, and who knows what we will find there.
You can do it, but you don’t know you can yet.
Therapy is helpful in that it is a place to practice with someone who has tools to offer you along the way. It’s good to do the practice in bite size amounts. When we are asked to tell our history, that can be too much. It can be retraumatizing, too overwhelming, and cause many of the symptoms you are trying to alleviate.
Start exactly where you are and focusing on the environment around you. Take notice of objects, colors plants, pictures, and animals. Let your eyes wander, taking in the space you’re in. Be curious, letting your eyes lead. Now notice what its like on the inside. Beginning with what feels good is a safer, lighter, easier way to step into the body.
When we are in a stuck feeling state for too long, the nervous system shuts us down. We can have anger issues, flood into grief over the littlest things, or curl up into anxiety at the thought of something that isn’t rational to be afraid of. There’s no judgement around these things, its hard. It can be overwhelming to the point where shut down becomes the only option left. We leave our bodies, feel numb, escape our minds in various degrees from spacing out to full blown lapses of time.
To come back to our authentic selves means going through the very emotions that were too much. The irony is that you must go in to get out.
Therapy helps provide a container to observe the sensations that come with these big feelings together. We can also take a look at any impulses that come up, even ones that we would never in a million years do in real life because we’d end up in jail or alone. We can imagine acting out impulses to give the nervous system the completion that it needs to release stuck trauma energy. When we feel like running away, but society says, stay put while your boss is talking to you, this can put us into that shut down state where we are talking heads instead of entire beings, body, feelings and sensations included.
Discharging energy from perfectly acceptable impulses that are not acceptable in our day and age is something that we do not even think about. We get a headache and take a pill instead of sitting with the sensation, allowing it to float us to a place in time and listening to the body’s ideas of what needs to happen to release the tension. Maybe we need to ROAR, run, hide, or say something that we simply are not allowed to do in regular life.
There’s nothing wrong with pain medication, thank God it exists, but are we ignoring the body’s design for releasing energy? God designed our bodies to survive. There’s an intelligence inside of us that tells us what feels safe, what feels threatening. Trauma can confuse our bodies. The traumatic experiences from the past are the biggest predictor of more trauma happening in someones life in the future. Tragic isn’t it?
Thank God there are modalities like EMDR, Somatic Experiencing, the Trauma Resource Model and Internal Family Systems (IFS). While all completely different, the things these theories share are locating the various parts, memories, and body sensations, then allowing the body to do what it knows to do naturally (just like bones know how to heal from a break). We make friends with our protective parts and renegotiate the ways we survived those traumas. In our fight, flight, and freeze we may have found protective habits that were sometimes effective, or the best we had at the time. Now, as adults, we have to both set limits on the way we behave with others and ourselves, allow the experiences from the past to be felt, witnessed and find completion.
Also, in the process of therapy, we discover together what might need to be strengthened, such as boundaries, accepting feelings that are more uncomfortable or have previously felt unsafe or shameful to acknowledge, feel and share. We can imagine what we would have liked to have said or done in the past that wasn’t able to happen, if acting it out is too much. In my practice, I have training in EMDR, Somatic Experiencing, Trauma Resource Model and Internal Family Systems. It would be my honor to support you in finding stabilization, healing, and growth. Therapy is work, and along the way, weave in peace and play because it’s healthy and necessary to experience balance. Let’s feel those feelings and process that material so you can move on and thrive.
You can find me at agapechristiantherapy.com.