When you are so high-functioning that numb and rah rah are your default feelings, it’s interesting to say the least seeing how it shows up in your life.
I had an experience recently that brought this front and center. I’ve been seeing a therapist for about 2 and a half years. She retired a few weeks ago and assigned me to a new therapist, who I had my first session with recently.
So let’s talk about therapy first.
Therapy has been an on and off coping technique for me through the years. About 3 years ago, I began to lose my grip on hope and purpose again and that’s why I took up therapy again. The story of finding help is another exhaustive tale that I’ll tell another day. I’ll admit that I’m still uncomfortable admitting that therapy is something I need as a part of my toolkit. The truth though is that it’s been a worthwhile choice, especially with my last therapist and I’d really come to think of her as one of the most important people in my life, albeit sometimes not my favorite person. She was the person that I could be and express it all to who was not in a hurry to fix me or make it easier on herself to hear by whisking me up into “the sun will shine again and this is just part of the journey” speak (which btw, is not helpful when someone is spiraling. It just isn’t and I’m sorry that doesn’t work for a lot of you/people. Perhaps, I’ll explore those whys later as well.).
So you’d think that when she dropped the bomb of news that she’d be retiring a month from that date, I’d not take it extremely well. That I’d have some trepidation. That I’d express some type of concern.
The most interesting thing is that I actually couldn’t access any feeling. I couldn’t tell if I was upset or disappointed or feeling betrayed or abandoned. My default polite demeanor and rah rah ness kicked in and I immediately started thinking about how it might be 1. A sign that I didn’t need therapy anymore and/or 2. Just something else to deal with and move through.
My therapist gave me the choice to take a break and assess myself in a month or so or to continue with another therapist and ultimately I decided to meet the person that she recommended. Therapy *has* been a great tool for me and I’m not quite yet ready to put aside one of my best tools just for the quest to *be better*.
Two things about that: 1. I’ve been coming to the slow yet comforting realization that it’s not about some end point of “I’m better now”. It’s the journey and the journey is what keeps you better. The work is what sustains you and the work is always being done.
That might sound depressive at first, but it’s not at all. It’s all that self-care turned into self-love that I’m always talking about in my teachings. You’ll constantly be peeling back layers and having new epiphanies. Even with being on the frontline of helping others get to where I am from where they are (which is where I was), I’m always understanding more.
Back to our topic though, I had my first session with my new therapist and one of the things she mentioned was that I might have some feelings about having to switch therapists and how hard that might be. And until she mentioned that, I hadn’t really thought of it.
And after my session, the more I thought about it, I realized I hadn’t thought about it because I hadn’t given myself the permission to have an opinion, especially not one that was unpleasant or upsetting. I’ve been so used to *sucking it up* and *keeping it moving* that I had just learned by default to bypassing *feeling something*, let alone expressing it.
This is truly about layers, because in my life in general, I am the queen of processing. What I’ve also fallen into though is being the queen of getting back to feeling good as soon as possible.
And that my friend, is not always a plus.
What I’ve noticed is that by not letting myself acknowledge my reactions to things that make me sad (that are not in my control) – particularly the way they make me feel – I never give myself a chance to truly work through it, thereby truly releasing it. I’m pretty sure that my life trials are testament to the danger of what lurks beneath the surface when you don’t fully process and instead just turn up the rah rah.
So in true, peeling back the layers fashion, I’ve been exploring the idea of sitting with what I’m feeling. This isn’t a new concept or a concept new to me at all, but I believe I’m understanding it on a deeper, more impactful level now. It’s been eye-opening and freeing to allow myself to have my emotion without worrying that it will create some horrible consequence in my future, perpetuate the things I don’t like about my present, or keep me stuck and feeling bad.
By allowing myself to just be with what I’m feeling, I’ve had so many more epiphanies. This may sound extremely cliche, but there really is a great gift in conflict. And there is so much relief in coming to the knowing that I don’t have to “get it all back together in a hurry”. That I don’t have to be *good* or a role model of positivity at all times. It all ties in together with letting myself off the hook. Yes, I get to let myself off the hook. I get to be a messy mess and sad and blah and a debbie downer and aghast, it’s ok. It’s really ok. It’s really so ok.
So I’m working with that concept and practicing it and observing myself and learning from myself and continuing the practice. It’s really magickal. This time in my life is full of metamorphosis for me. It’s as exhilarating as it is difficult. It’s worth the ride though indeed.