One of the people I follow here on WordPress wrote a blog post with a paragraph that hit a very deep part of me. Her name is April…go read her blog, it’s pretty amazing. I hope she won’t be upset that I quote her (and if so, April, let me know and I’ll edit and remove your words)…
The worst part of depression for me, is that I can’t show, or I withhold the love I feel for the people I love. I don’t hug, tell them I love them enough, pay attention to what they are saying. I deeply feel it, but for some reason, I can’t show it. That makes me feel the worst about myself, which continues the cyclic pattern of my depression. Not only does my behavior hold me captive by depression, it truly hurts my heart.
That struck me so much, and right now it’s something I’m attempting to deal with in therapy. T says I’m disembodied. The thing is, I feel everything so deeply that it is often painful. But on some level I’ve begun to realize that I feel pain, anxiety, unhappiness, guilt, shame, self-judgement…and the like very deeply. I can feel anger and fear and panic. I have a very deep understanding of my body and how it feels when it relates to any of those emotions (or pain). I know when to rest if I’m tired or feeling unbalanced. I know when to hold back energy-wise so that I can do things I really need (or want) to do. My relationship with my physical body is probably more on point than most, because I’ve HAD to be that way.
But T asked me in my last session about feeling emotional happiness, contentment, joy, things like that…in my body. ANYWHERE in my body. Where do I feel it when I look deeply into my husband’s eyes, or hold my mother’s hand… And I told her I had no idea. She asked me to think about something important, someone important, and asked me where I felt it physically. My mind went right to my first dog, who I still grieve over. I can feel the texture of her fur, smell her unique smell, see her deep brown eyes. She asked me where I was feeling that energy in my body…and I immediately burst into tears (which I rarely do in sessions). I told her I felt it in my throat, a huge lump. But it wasn’t what she was looking for, because that went right to grief and pain, and loss. Those are “easy” for me to feel.
Why do I always go right to those feelings, those emotions? Why are they so easy to manifest physically, but the good things are so hard. I love my husband and my family, my dogs, my friends. I love the people (and dogs) who are gone from my life. I love my writing, the creative side of me, but I’m disconnected from them physically. I would do anything for any of them, without hesitation, and often do what I can to show them I love them. I hug them and tell them I love them, but it’s almost an effort, in that I have to THINK about doing it. Finding the physicality of it is not automatic for me anymore. But ask me to make something, do something, go somewhere, look something up, buy something…I do it without question. Ask me about the emotion of it, how it makes me feel to show that love? I can verbalize it, but I don’t know that I FEEL it inside me.
T sent me home and told me to listen to a piece of orchestral music and to try to breathe with it. Feel it, find where it touches me physically. I did it once last week and got…nothing. In her office, she had asked me to focus on a painting and find where it brought up physical feeling in my body…but it was just a picture. I could talk about how it represented hope, and the future, and how it was full of dreams. But those words didn’t connect to anything inside me. It was a painting. I don’t have a thing about artwork, and I don’t have a thing about music. I’m not sure I EVER have. How am I supposed to find connection, embodiment in those things?
She was quick to tell me in the office that the painting thing was a diagnostic tool, not a show of failure on my part to connect. And yet, I felt like a failure. Listening to the music and feeling nada made me feel like a failure. Something else I can’t do right. I left the office, practically ran out to my car, and burst into tears again. I cried in the parking lot, I cried on the way home. I feel split open…filleted. I cried over my failure, I cried over my dog…the one whose grief haunts me. I often feel that I’m still grieving her, and that it’s blocking my ability to feel real happiness and contentment. Not one time have I mentioned Sweet Pea in therapy that I haven’t cried. That I haven’t felt inundated with grief and loss. Am I still holding on to that? Is that really doing a number on me? Or am I overthinking things again? Am I looking for a WHY when there is none?