Today, November 22, our podcast is entitled: Respecting Feelings

I am going to share a post I wrote back in January for my Gina’s Life Journey Blog.

Drowning in Tears: Feeling my feelings and moving through them

Last night, I was very upset and so I went to my cozy chair in the basement where I write. I curled up with a blanket and my “Sad” playlist, adding more sad, sappy songs from the 70s.
I brought my crochet bag with me. I crocheted the blanket I have been working on for my nephew’s birthday. I crocheted and cried and got lost in the music and lyrics.
I realized it has been a long time since I have allowed my feelings to flow like that. Bottled up feelings came pouring out, anger, resentment, frustration, sadness…
My mind was flooded with so many situations that have bothered me over the past several years. I felt very alone at the time and rejected. I felt like I was being swallowed by my feelings. I was in the flood of tears and sorrow like floating alone in the middle of the ocean, out of sight from land.
I felt ignored by my partner, my best friend, my spouse. Yet, I wasn’t ready to accept anything from him. Looking back on it now, I see that I needed to stay in my feelings and allow them to be really be felt. I curled up and fell asleep for a short while. He came downstairs around 11:30, tapped me on the shoulder and said, “You’re falling asleep. It’s time to go to bed.”
I didn’t want him or anyone telling me what to do. I was awake when he came down and I know I had fallen asleep. I had intentionally set my crochet down and curled up to sleep because I was exhausted by my feelings.
I did get up because sleeping on my chair, as comfortable as it is, is no way to sleep. I wanted to be in my bed with the covers over me. I just didn’t want to interact with anyone. I had my earbuds in the entire time, lost in my music, comforted by my music. I got ready for bed and climbed in with my ear bud still in one ear as I lay on my side to sleep.
I did not fall asleep right away. It was late and our 12 year old was still awake which bothered me. It was almost midnight and I worried she was having a flare up of anxiety and worried how he would handle it. I took out my ear bud, heard talking but not the words and decided it was calm. I lay there partly wanting him to approach me and give me a hug, apologize.
When I was curled up on my chair crying and crocheting, my 19 year old came down the stairs several times doing her laundry. She looked over at me and I looked up. She put her arms out and without words, let me know she would like to give me a hug. I still had my earbuds in listening to my music. She came over to me and gave me a big hug.
“Thank you” I told her
And she went upstairs without a word.
I felt seen and heard and loved in that moment.
I realized that was exactly what I needed. And it made me cry even more. Tears of joy and pain. Feeling proud that I had raised this amazing young woman and grateful that she understood. She understood what I needed in that moment and gave it to me without judgement and in the way I needed in the moment, without words.
When I am depressed, as in experiencing major depression, I do not curl up in a chair and cry. I may spend moments curled up and alone, yet for the most part, I feel numb and detached from my feelings. I distract myself from my feelings and at times even see that. Knowing it is too painful to feel everything that I am feeling and that I still need to function. I need to function enough to work to bring in income to take care of my family, to be sure they are fed and attended to with their basic needs.
I disappear from myself and engage in avoidance which usually looks like me lost in a game on my phone or binging on tv shows.
Last night, I did it differently.
I was upset at my husband and unhappy with how an argument had ended, how the entire conversation had transpired. I choose to be alone, listen to music and work on a project I was eager to complete. I withdrew to my safe space, my personal space I have created for myself. As I cried and crocheted, I realized I needed to let these feelings out. I got lost in how alone I felt yet looking back now, I see I needed that.
Today, I woke up not knowing how my day would proceed. I showered because I never did that yesterday and wanted to feel fresh. I was happy that I woke up while everyone was asleep. I needed more alone time to process and in order to move forward.
I decided to step outside on the porch like I have done regularly over the past week or so. It is my new morning routine, a meditation and quiet reflection time standing on my porch with the eastern sky view of the sunrise.

I stood on the porch, listened to my meditation song and watched the beautiful red and purple colors of the sunrise on this cold, crisp, January morning. I was deliberately choosing each next step that I took. I fed the outside cats, I had made my tea. Standing on the porch, I decided I needed to take a walk and what a wonderful morning to walk.
I needed to express my feelings outwardly to release the intense emotions with movement of my body. Flipping through songs on my iPhone, I matched my walking pace to the songs. I reflected over thought provoking songs and I danced and sang with empowering music. It felt so good to walk as I realized how much I needed to take that walk.
I am the one who tells my children that when their brain feels stuck either with depression or anxiety, that getting out and moving their body is so important.
Moving helps the brain to move out of the anxiety and getting outside helps to ground ourselves and to center ourselves. Walking or exercising or just moving outside is brain food. Exercise for the brain and body which is one of the best things we can do for our mental health.
Now, I write.
Writing is meditation for me. Writing is who I am. When I am writing, I am expressing myself, enabling myself to be the grandest version of the greatest vision every I held about who I am.
Find your outlets for your feelings. Find what works for you. When you can take care of yourself in this way, by feeling your feelings and moving through them with intention and reflection, you give your children the greatest gift.
Our children learn through our example. In order to help them accept and process their feelings, we need to take care of ourselves and this includes feeling our feelings and allowing them to see our experience.
We can create a safe space in our homes for feeling feelings. We can give our children a time when they can let out their frustrations without any judgment from us. We empower our children when we empower ourselves.
In order to move through feelings, we must first step into them like entering the water to swim to the other side.


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