OR, What It Means to Be a Grown Up.
One of the most difficult and hard to accept lessons of adulthood is realizing that you will feel pain and that you cannot go over or under or around it. It’s a terrible place to be in because, well, it’s painful. But the most relevant aspect of pain is that it is caused by something that cannot be ignored or avoided. (*Clinical depression is not included in this description.)
The most important fact to remember about emotional pain is that it will not kill you. It will sting and make you cry, and perhaps make you not want to eat or talk or whatever, but it will not kill you and you will recover. It will simmer and sift around inside you, then eventually it will pass. After it is gone, you will change as a result of it. Whatever you feel at any point in time is not forever. I think one of the reasons that so many become addicts is that they have experienced a pain at a point in their lives that is in fact potentially life-threatening; a pain caused by a trauma so intense that it created a motor reaction to run screaming from feelings that feel similar. (Yes, I am describing PTSD.) The horror that one might feel in reaction to those feelings is in many ways totally logical, and therefor much harder to see as invalid.
Pain – and to a certain extent depression – is a typical experience to have at some point in life and yeah, it’s super terrible, but you can enact important basic steps to get you through it: eating healthily, sleeping, exercising, getting outside and forcing yourself to be around those that love you even when you feel crappy for being a sad or angry complainer in sweatpants. Basic self-care and human interaction is the best medicine when it comes to being stuck in personal purgatory.
And though sometimes it lasts way more time than you wish it did, when you pass through it, you are actively becoming stronger and more stable and more healthy as an adult. You are growing tools that will help you to faster and faster recoveries in future pain. One day that same feeling will not be so scary or unfamiliar. It will just “be”. Kind of like being stuck in traffic. It’s crappy, but it’s not like you can’t handle it. Despite how much an idea like this sucks, this attitude is an extremely healthy way to deal with the emotions you wish you didn’t have. It’s in fact a sign of maturity. Sometimes a middle state of ambivalence is one of the hardest places to be. Good for you if you can accept it and travel through it with grace.
In emotional band-aid short hand: First things first. Take care of your body and your brain will much sooner follow. Just remember that pain is a healthy part of life and when it’s so intense you feel like you can’t be in your body, try to cling to the things that take care of your body and support your serotonin levels. That includes rest and exercise and a little bit of pampering in the name of a happier you. And if it helps you try and repeat to yourself: this too will pass, your body and heart will heal and there are many who love you that will help you get back up again.
As always please share any stories! And happy Sunday. xox Sarah
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