As soon as we feel pain, it is natural to try to escape it. Or perhaps we have become so skilled at escaping pain, that we do not feel it right away. The reality is we need pain. We need to feel the pain in order to move on.
Dealing with my emotions and feelings has always been a weak spot for me. I was never taught growing up that it is ok to feel, how to feel, and that feelings won’t last forever. It is very normal not to learn these things from a young age.
I am blessed and also cursed to be able to not only feel my emotions, but the emotions of people around me. Strangers, friends, and family. A person will walk into a coffee shop and I will feel lonely and destroyed. I’ll meet a friend of a friend and feel all their nervous energy and anxiety seep into my body. Even some animals I will feel their feelings. Naturally, I gravitate towards people with calm, almost emotion-less energy. It makes me feel at peace and grounded.
This is empathy. I don’t know if you can relate to this or if you are capable of understanding, but this is how I relate to the world around me. My feelings are intense. There are high highs and low lows and it is why I continue to focus on finding balance through yoga and meditation. It fulfills me to give to the people around me, but also drains me.
Self Harm & Suicidal thoughts
I recently went through an extremely intense second wave of break up pain. The situation unfolded more. I found pain buried that I had not fully exposed myself to. Once exposed to the truth, I was destroyed. Crying. Helplessness. My mind went to: I need to move away immediately. I’ll die if I ever see my ex again. Escapism. My mind went so far as: I want to end my life. Suicide. A darker form of escapism.
This pain was so deep that I even considered ending my life. I had not been to this dark place since I was in high school. When I was 16, I was going through a lot of different traumas. I felt attacked by my home life and school life. There was so much pain that I began delicately slicing my arms with needles and scissors. Not an excessive amount, just a few incidences. Why did I do this? I didn’t fully understand my feelings or behaviors back then, but I see now that causing physical harm lessons the emotional pain. My friends at school noticed, asked me about it, and so I stopped.
I had another slip while in college and did it once more. I can’t even remember why, but I think I was drunk at the time. To this day, I have faint scars on the inside of my left wrist. I notice other people and strangers who have the same scars. Pain is complex. Yes, we are feeling and we are getting through something hard. We all get through our pain in our own way. Self harm is not a healthy coping mechanism and not something that should be practiced to deal with pain.
Concealing The Wound With Work
The next day I went to work. Eyes swollen. I mentioned to my friend in passing about what happened. I ended up leaking a few more tears and had to gather myself in the bathroom before going in to teach my first class. I sucked it all up and banged out my next four classes. In fact, they were the best classes that I have taught so far this school year. Why? Because I channeled the desire to not feel the pain into energy and focus for teaching my students. I used my job to avoid my pain.
Have you ever noticed that your career excels or your job performance improves while you are going through a difficult time? It is because you are using your job to escape. Think about this. Are you too afraid to be with your pain? So you put more energy into your work? It can benefit you to channel this energy into your work, but it means that you are avoiding the truth. And when you prolong, the wave grows bigger and bigger. Pain festers. Now is always the best time to face your darkness.
endings bring new beginnings
After lunch, I was done for the day. I went back to my room and saw that my friend left me little encouraging notes on my laptop to help me get through the break up. I was reminded of how destroyed and broken I am feeling, so I tried to meditate, but ended up crying for an hour. I thought about calling my mom and asking her to help me get on a plane to go home. Suicidal thoughts came up. I started looking around the room. How would I do it if I were to do it?
I did not act on it. I just observed. As I write this, these thoughts only happened an hour ago and they have since faded.
It is natural to feel depressed and have feelings like this. We should question our life and what it is worth. We should have experiences in our life that bring us so low, we think that we can never survive it. I thought: this relationship is all I have ever wanted and it is being taken from me. Loss. Death. It is so natural. It is part of life. Accept it. Because we cannot have birth without death and endings bring new beginnings.
In this situation, no one has physically died. The relationship has died. And it is like this person that I have invested so much in and spent every day with has died. So, I will grieve. I will cry. I will feel. I will take care of this wound. Perhaps, this wound will be with me for the rest of my life. Yes, it will be and I am little bit pissed because it is not my fault. But it is my responsibility to heal myself. All I can say is: this sucks. And get on.
The Truth Behind Anger
At first, I was angry. Anger is an easy way to avoid pain. Because when you are angry, you don’t understand that you are hurt. You cannot see how or why. It is a part of you that goes straight for the attack instead of feeling sadness. I can’t even be angry now because I am aware of how destroyed I am.
So, if you are angry or some one is behaving angrily towards you, ask why. Try to understand. Underneath all anger, there is a sad, hurting child. Try to see that.
The Gift of Suffering
So, here I am. Suffering. Grieving. In and out of the sea of pain. I think about drinking tequila, smoking cigarettes, running away. But none of these things will save me.
I’ve found that if I just give myself the time to feel it, pain releases. No, not all at once, but it eases itself. Then it inspires me. That is why I am writing this. I start thinking in poems and stories and blogs and I have to get it out. So, use your pain to your advantage. Don’t avoid it. Watch it. Observe it. Be with it. Yes, it’s hurting you. Good. Let it hurt. You are alive. You are human. Let the pain in and release it so you can get back to those peaceful, happy moments.
Enjoy this experience here because, in your next life, you might just be a dandelion.