I mentioned something to a friend yesterday (the lovely Kat) that got my mind churning. Before my eating disorder began and during it, I had trouble with emotion. Sometimes I wouldn't feel anything (especially in response to big things happening--like moving far away from my home) or explode at the smallest thing (especially after I moved). It seemed like my emotional barometer varied from empty to full at lightspeed. Would it be too much of a stretch to relate this to my eating habits at the time?
Anyways, flash forward to now. I've been through hours of therapy with professionals I've mostly hated, until I hit the jackpot. The woman I currently see (but haven't seen since returning from a few trips) I really seemed to connect with. She felt for me. I would venture to say she helped me relearn to feel, to connect with my emotions. I would tell her a sad story, and she would look sad, get teary eyed. I would tell her a story back from when I was a kid, and she would get pissed off. I would sit there, wondering to myself while talking why she felt so much about me. I was, after all, just her client.
I started to notice, though, she really did seem to care about me as a human being. She showed these emotions because she was receptive to how I must have felt at the moment in these stories, and how I might feel about them now. Expect--back up--I usually don't feel very much. It occurred to me that the problem wasn't that I didn't feel--it was that I literally would not let myself feel. I would not think anything that would lead me to feel, and I would berate myself when I did feel anything. When I would go home from sessions like these, I would let myself feel full force. I would think about her comments, how it must have been unfair, upsetting in this story's experience, or how relieved or happy in this experience. I would be seriously grateful for turning things around with my mom, or truly sad about how I grew up separate from my blood-brother. I would just steep myself in the emotions, both fearful of them and amazed by them.
I noticed at the same time it started becoming easier to be emotional in the moment, instead of later. I could get upset when treated unfairly, or express joy to people I cared about. I could relate a story with emotion rather than a bland rationality (that probably seemed sort of eerily stoic, in retrospect). It's sometimes hard to feel the shitty emotions, but it's so real, so true to the situation, that I can't help but be grateful for re-learning this skill that comes naturally to most people.
I feel anxious about decision I have to make regarding my ex.
I feel nervous about my upcoming GRE test.
I feel happy that I discovered family that I really like.
I feel relieved that I finally took care of some chores I needed to take care of.
I feel accomplished for being published recently.
I feel jittery from the excedrin I took earlier for my headache.
I feel amused that I can sit and write all these emotions out in this blog entry--which would have remained blank just a few years ago.
And so much more.
How are you feeling? No, really think about it. How is your feeling? Do you avoid your feelings? Embrace them? Somewhere in between? Let me know how it goes!
Love love love,