I'm starting to feel

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Armadillo

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I'm starting to feel
« on: April 17, 2021, 03:58:34 AM »
Hi...

I found my way here from Out of the Fog when someone there saw my welcome post and suggested it.

I'm in my 40s have a beautiful family with two kids, loving kind spouse, great rewarding career with a loving "work family." Perfect life, truly everything I want and need. But um, numb, dissociated, disconnected, alone, untrusting...living in the past without realizing that's where I was living. 

Raised by a single mom with severe mental illness. Traumas are relatively mild compared to what others go through. Still the healing has been slow and tough but rewarding and worth it. Never got help as a kid, thought I was fine, went into therapy after some present life stuff triggered past trauma...thinking I'd just be a couple months to set boundaries. Now going on 2.5 years and getting better. Much better. But some times it's shocking how my nervous system still reacts to little things.

But the exciting thing is...I'm starting to feel emotions finally! I mean emotions beside guilt shame and fear. I haven't cried cried yet but my eyes are starting to water a bit regularly and I even shed 2 tears this week!

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InTheQuiet

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Re: I'm starting to feel
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2021, 06:12:51 AM »
Hello there

I'm pretty new too. Here we are. Seems great.

Totally relate. When i first went to therapy I was totally numb. It took a little while to get a tear out. I am so pleased for your progress.

Also, I'm curious about 'traumas are mild'. I have only just realised (over 10 years of therapy) that telling myself that has been a way of still taking cate of others before myself. I don't know if the scale helps, I guess? I wonder if it just adds to our judgement of ourselves. But whatever, that part of you just needs love & kindness, right? You'll get loads of kindest on here I suspect :)

Best of luck with your healing

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Jazzy

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Re: I'm starting to feel
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2021, 10:36:42 PM »
Hi Armadillo, and welcome to the forums!  :wave:

I'm glad to hear you're getting better, and starting to feel positive emotions. It hasn't been all that long since I started being more emotional myself. I'm still "very sensitive" now, which is a big change from how I was in the past, and I'm still trying to fully accept and appreciate. So, be gentle with yourself as you go through this new phase. :)

Congratulations on your accomplishments thus far! I hope you continue to do well.

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Armadillo

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Re: I'm starting to feel
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2021, 05:22:00 AM »

Also, I'm curious about 'traumas are mild'. I have only just realised (over 10 years of therapy) that telling myself that has been a way of still taking cate of others before myself. I don't know if the scale helps, I guess? I wonder if it just adds to our judgement of ourselves.

Welcome to you, too! This is a very wise point and I agree that it is absolutely a way to pile on the self-judgement and is not useful in healing.

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Armadillo

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Re: I'm starting to feel
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2021, 05:25:34 AM »
I'm still "very sensitive" now, which is a big change from how I was in the past, and I'm still trying to fully accept and appreciate. So, be gentle with yourself as you go through this new phase. :)


Thank you for the welcome! I am a bit worried about what it'll be like once those flood gates open. They've been locked shut for more than 30 years through some yucky stuff. I'm mostly worried about what it'll be like when the anger starts to emerge. Yikes! Thank you for the wisdom in advance to be gentle with myself. I'm pretty bad at that still! Congratulations on your emotional thaw!

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Kizzie

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Re: I'm starting to feel
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2021, 05:16:13 PM »
Welcome to OOTS Armadillo, so glad you found your way here  :heythere: 

I love your username, it should be our spirit animal, that or a tortoise (spirit reptile? ;D).  A hard shell protecting us and able to roll into a ball or pull everything inside the shell a need be.  It works for us when we're children for sure - protects us against those who abuse/neglect us, but as you say makes it difficult to feel much if anything as we become adults.  Lovely to hear you're making progress in this regard  :thumbup:   :applause:   :grouphug:

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Jazzy

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Re: I'm starting to feel
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2021, 12:48:34 AM »
Quote
I am a bit worried about what it'll be like once those flood gates open. They've been locked shut for more than 30 years through some yucky stuff. I'm mostly worried about what it'll be like when the anger starts to emerge. Yikes!

30 years is a very long time! I imagine this is a tremendous thing for you. Congratulations on making this progress. I understand that you're concerned. I think it's wise to be cautious about the behaviours that your emotions may lead too... especially when they're new, and have been repressed for so long. It's good that you recognize this now, before anything bad happens, so you can take action to prevent it. I would suggest you look in to some anger management strategies, and tools you can use to help yourself, for when that time comes.

Everyone has their own strategies that are helpful for them, so you may connect with something else better, but what I found especially helpful when I got angry, is to leave the situation and come back later. It didn't matter who or what was involved, me leaving was better than me getting violent. The other thing that was helpful for a while, was to keep some light sedatives on me at all times. I rarely use them anymore (and not for anger), but for a time, the adrenaline was just so overpowering. My entire body would literally shake and tremble. I'm not a big fan of medication, but adrenaline overdose like that is a matter of chemistry, so I took the sedatives (chemicals as well) to help balance that, until I could train my mind to work better on its own.

Healing is a process, and it is challenging at times. The anger is something to be careful of, but it is also good to respect it, and understand why it exists. There's often a good reason for it, or at least an understandable one. All the best in your continued journey! :)

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woodsgnome

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Re: I'm starting to feel
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2021, 04:39:42 AM »
My feelings about feelings have always been hard to fathom. They range all over, from avoidance, almost fearing what lies  hidden in my soul/heart; to a willingness to just, and finally, open the floodgates.

So on the one hand, I'm scared; but it can go the other way. The latter acceptance/allowance of feelings has come about only in the last few years. Shortly after starting with my present T I began to notice that attitude softening -- at least with her I finally felt somewhat safe in that regard.

This still varies, as I'm pretty sure it must for lots of us. I've felt for years like I'm walking around carrying this enormous bag of tears ready to burst, while still fearing it. I remember telling my T that if I ever let go, I feared they might never end.

But I'm still okay with even partially finding release via the ability to express deep hidden feelings, at least a little. I feel more human having made this step. The situation can still dictate the how and why, though; I'd be less inclined, I think, in a more public setting than in the privacy of my T's office, for example.

Even alone, I still resisted, while the bag of tears seemed only to get bigger. I'd feel embarrassed, as if someone was watching, and laughing at my weakness. That's better now, too, even if I still notice the urge to hold it all in.

I wish you well with how this develops for you, Armadillo. There is no right or wrong way to our emotional expressions, due to many internal and external circumstances. The key seems to be to find a safe niche with feelings that allows you to live with yourself better.

Walking beside you, I'll just add this --  :hug:. Having been in your shoes, I understand how difficult, but also how freeing, even a small step forward in this area can open up other ways as you venture past the hardships already endured. 

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Armadillo

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Re: I'm starting to feel
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2021, 11:51:17 PM »
These are all such sweet words of wisdom and solidarity. Thank you Jazzy for the fair warning and for some recommendations for how to manage the intensity when it comes. I can't even imagine... not feeling much of any anger ever  ...what that would be like. Or who I'll be...

Thank you woodgnome for sharing your experience of letting it out slowly and cautiously. I realized I was carrying a similar bag and the way I keep it from exploding is that anytime I start to feel an emotion ..before I even recognize it...I immediately habitually remind myself what a terrible person I am...masterful bait and switching.

But I've had even more progress this week. I had a therapy session yesterday and a really legitimate tear drop rolled down my cheek while I was with my T. Despite some really really difficult topics coming up over 3 years of working with him (first with my son, then alone), and immense trust...I've never cried with him.

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Kizzie

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Re: I'm starting to feel
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2021, 03:28:27 PM »
 :grouphug:

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PhoenixA

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Re: I'm starting to feel
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2021, 05:28:43 PM »
Wow Armadillo it sounds as though you are well on a healing path already.  Recognizing your dissociation and compartmentalizing, working on accessing all those hidden parts, and letting (as I call it) some of pressure out of the pressure cooker all sound like great progress forward.  I agree with others that the anger was the hardest for me to get through safely.  Due to a whole lot of combining factors I had as a mid-late teen gotten extremely violent and it took a LOT of time to not flip back to that as a knee jerk.
Some things I found helpful was to release all that pent up rage in a safe way. I have used things such as beating a rock with a dead tree limb while steaming or yelling (might not work so well in an urban setting lol), punching bags (with gloves so it doesn’t become self punishment beating my hands and feet to ribbons), and vigorous physical exercise because as others have noted that rage comes with a huge adrenalin dump and the best way for the body to burn it off is to use it up in a physical outlet.  Of course, I typically carried it too far at first and turned it into a way to self abuse, but increased self awareness and coming to be gentler and less judgmental of myself cured that.  I don’t know if that might work for you but hope all of us can suggest enough that you have some tools prepared.

As to tears that is the one piece I have yet to integrate. I have not yet found the way to access that bottomless well of aching grief without being swallowed by it. It is very encouraging to hear your progress!! Glad for you that you have a great T.

I also so relate to the life on the outside being so ‘perfect’ and the inside life feeling out of sync with that.

Thanks for sharing and look forward to witnessing more of your journey and growth and learning 😊

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wondercrew

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Re: I'm starting to feel
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2021, 12:42:59 AM »
Hello and welcome to the forum!

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FlushDraw

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Re: I'm starting to feel
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2021, 05:20:53 PM »
I was drawn to your post title because I am also starting to feel again, I know exactly what you mean! I grew up holding everything in, all my emotions and feelings. Part of why I'm here on the forum is learning to cope with feeling so much all the time. I cry every day, it's hard not to. Even harder when not everyone is so understanding. But I do it anyway.
I'm so happy you're feeling everything again. I wish you happy healing!

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Armadillo

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Re: I'm starting to feel
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2021, 07:51:49 PM »
You're ahead of the (my) curve if you are crying!  :whistling:

I have yet to actually cry but a single tear drop has escaped my eye in the past month and I am proud and encouraged that my eyes get a little moist regularly now.