It hurts so much.

I feel completely worthless, like there is just absolutely no hope for me.

In one of her novels, Agatha Christie makes a comment about there sometimes being one puppy in a litter that is just wrong, and you end up needing to drown it, and I feel like that puppy. No hope for me. Better to just call it quits on myself. I am not in a state when I think this. I feel calm.

That’s the problem actually. I have to do the laundry. I need to get breakfast on, and I don’t have time or energy to concentrate on my feelings. Pushing things down to get through things seems to do that. It seems to prompt total despair. I have also noticed when I push the feelings down, I get more rabbit-mind. I have more thoughts running around saying unpleasant things to me. Rabbit mind happens when I can’t attend to feelings, and feelings take effort to attend to. Sometimes I don’t have it in me to do that. It still takes effort for me to feel. It doesn’t come automatically for me. I have to work at it. It is probably completely unlike how an upset person with less trauma history feels, because I have this extra step. Calm down, concentrate, work at a sense of safety. Then feel. Then regulate the feelings. Someone else feels automatically and then works at regulation. I don’t feel safe enough to feel, but I still have emotions, and the emotions play out in my thoughts. Even when you lose the physical experience of having emotions, emotions alter your thinking, so you get the distortions.

It helps me to think about this though, because it helps me understand why this is happening to me. It might be that I am suppressing my physical experience of emotions, but I have an idea I am actually losing my ability to do that. I have an idea this is a new skill for me, integrating my physical experiences, and because it is new, under stress, or when I just don’t have the energy or concentration to give to it, I stop being able to do it. It’s like someone under stress trying to speak in a new language loses their ability to control grammatical construction. It’s a new skill, and under stress they lose it. Under stress, I lose the ability to integrate emotions into my experience.

In therapy, this was always confusing. There was this idea that I felt the need to deny my emotions, but if I knew I had an emotion, I had no problem saying I had it. The hard part was something I didn’t even know about. I didn’t know you were even supposed to feel emotions in your body the way I do now. I did feel them in my body, but not in the same way.

In other words, it was not necessarily the fact of the emotion that was the problem. It wasn’t, for example, that I felt disallowed from feeling anger or sadness or whatever. It wasn’t always that those emotions felt forbidden to have or to express. Instead, it was the actual physical experience of it. I felt afraid of having it, and I also did not know how to have it. I don’t think I felt I had a right to be in my own body, inside my own experiences, and I also felt afraid to be inside my body. It was too vulnerable to be there.

It makes me cut myself some slack. I’m new at this. It’s still hard. It’s going to get easier. But right now I need to go scrub the laundry, and then I need to make lunch. I can’t juggle everything. Not being able to juggle it all is very painful, but that’s where I am right now. It will get better. I will learn how to do this eventually, and it will come automatically and effortlessly, but I am like a little kid learning to ride a bike still. Every time someone says, “Hey, look at that!” I lose my concentration and I fall off the bicycle. Someday, I’ll get good enough at this that I can also look around. I can wash dishes while still processing emotions. Right now, it’s just hard. It’s a new skill and the emotions are very painful. There is hope for me. I am not the puppy that needs to be drowned.

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