Friday, November 6, 2009

Stored up and let out

My lovely counselor (MLC) and my lovely doctor (MLD), who have literally been life savers for me in the last several weeks, have been advising me that I have a lot of stored up emotions that need to be addressed. The phrase "an emotional reservoir" was used. At first, I did not like hearing that. I don't like to lose control of my emotions (period). For years, I have put a lot of my feelings/emotions in a mental box and placed them on a mental shelf never to be looked at again. In coming to terms with my diagnosis of depression and being treated for it, MLC and MLD have both been advising me that these emotions and feelings need to be let out of their respective boxes. That means I have to allow myself to FEEL them.

Okay, you may be asking, "Why did you store them Kristy?" Well, the main reason was I didn't want to burden Keith anymore than he already was. Since the majority of these emotions were related to him and his illness, it just seemed better for me to store them. It's called a coping mechanism. That is one way that I have coped for years and years. Yep, that's right. I have discovered that there were some boxes on that mental shelf from as far back as 14 years ago when Nick was first diagnosed with cancer. Talk about a surprise! Those emotions are so buried I am still uncovering some. I hazard to say I'm libel to find some from even further back, but that's for another day...maybe.

Ok, back on track. I can honestly say that feeling these emotions was scary to me. Letting them out felt like opening Pandora's box. MLC finally convinced me that allowing myself to feel these really big and heavy emotions would not kill me. He finally convinced me that in order for me to heal from the depression and the grief, I have to let the emotions out, give them face time (literally since I cry a lot and it isn't a pretty sight), and stop adding more boxes marked for permanent storage. Yep, I've lost my main coping mechanism.

Yikes! How am I supposed to do this that is my life now? Well, I can shelve the bigger emotions until I reach a place where I can let them out. I do have to reach that place sooner rather than later. Absolutely no permanent storage allowed. This realization made me worried that I would become a woman that did nothing by cry and scream at no one in particular all the time. False worry. That hasn't happened. Yet.

Letting these stored up emotions out apparently falls into the category of treating myself gently. Hmmm. That's another thing that I don't know exactly how to do. Something else that I am learning to do.

These are aspects of grieving that I didn't expect to encounter. I knew it would be a journey, but I didn't realize how much like a roller coaster the journey actually is. For you that know me really well, you KNOW I can not stand being on a roller coaster. This journey is hard. It is the most difficult path I have ever been on. There are so many unknowns.

So, if you see or hear me crying and screaming at no one in particular, just know that I am unpacking boxes. MLC says it won't kill me and it gets easier. I can agree with the first part, but I'm not convinced that it gets easier.

In His grip, especially when in the valley!


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