I’ve started to think the goal at the moment isn’t to process any particular experience, but just to get better at processing emotions. At the moment, fear seems to be the one I need to get a handle on.
There was a point in this process of trying to heal when it was as though I thought I could just “work through” the trauma and then go back to the way I had been dealing with life minus the flashbacks. Then I started to realize there was something wrong with my personality and I started to think I needed to put it together. Now I think I just need to be able to regulate and process emotions—all kinds of them. Ordinary, day-to-day ones, traumatic ones, positive ones, negative ones. I didn’t learn how to do something important with them in childhood or didn’t get very good at it, and this has caused all kinds of other problems. And then there was all the trauma, with all these emotions….
I came home after the half-day of Saturday and the power tools were up and running. They are both sanders, I think, but this doesn’t seem to help that much. It was really, really difficult to deal with. I tried to stay with the emotions as long as possible, trying mainly to breathe. I couldn’t think straight enough even what to do beyond that. But I have the hope these days that this is practice, and I am getting better at it. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but I’m giving it a shot.
I can shut the feelings down and go on with life. Periodically, that happens without my consciously choosing that. I suppose it gets too much, or I get tired, and things just kind of dampen down inside. It makes me realize I have a particular feeling when I do this. The dampening down is like a hum, a sort of mechanical sense. The hum is probably fear, that keyed up state of being anxious when really what I am feeling inside is terror. It used to be my normal, so I suppose that means I’ve changed since then, as it isn’t normal anymore. It’s abnormal enough that I can notice the difference.
Anyway, I tried to stay with the feeling, tried to keep breathing. Eventually, I took a nap. I am not sleeping well—I think it’s fear waking me up. I lay in bed a long time after that, thinking, maybe not productively. Who knows. I don’t exactly know what is helping at the moment. I can’t tell. The power tools stopped eventually, but then it got dark. I still have to deal with that trigger.
But I feel optimistic now. I think I can do this. It’s not very easy, but I have an idea it’s like riding a bicycle. It’s this coordination thing that has to be learned by doing. You keep trying and eventually it happens. Then you can ride a bicycle. I think I can do it.
The thing is whatever is happening in my head, it’s just thoughts and feelings. It was unbearable before because I had no idea how to manage them. They were torture. It is still torture, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. The thoughts and feelings can be managed. I just need to learn how to do it.
I think I had the wrong idea about it for a long time. I think I had no idea what it was to have normal feelings all the time, or what it might be like to do that. The thing to do seemed to be to try to find a way to get rid of all the really bad ones, like maybe vomit them out if that worked. Or express them until they stopped needing to be felt or something. I had no idea you go through life feeling things, quite a lot of them negative ones, and if you have a lot of trauma many of them are negative, but they don’t need to be torture. There is a way to make it manageable, but it takes time to learn.
At the moment, I am afraid of being this person. I think that’s what is really going on. In some way, I feel out of hiding. Not that I wasn’t me before, but I was me without having to know I was me. If I was showing more of myself, then I suppressed the feelings I had about being myself in the world. I didn’t have to see it.
Now, I am seeing more that this is me—the person acting out in the world these days is much more authentically me than it has ever been before, and it’s really quite scary. I imagine it would be scary for anyone in my position. Still, it’s possible it’s doubly scary for me. Maybe. I don’t know. It just seems possible that I am more unique than average. I guess we all have our own paths. What I know is that if I can cope with the fear of where who I am is leading me, everything will be a lot easier.