How do you feel?

After my therapy session last week I feel like I have a pretty good idea as to why I’ve continued to struggle in spite of the progress I’ve made.  I’ve been feeling like with all I’ve been doing, and how hard I’ve been working to maintain I should be doing better than I am.  Not that I’m doing bad… But I keep having meltdown moments and some really bad days.  But the realization I had this week in my session gave me some understanding as to why that keeps happening.

So the revelation I had was that there was still a disconnect between my emotions and my intellect.  I’ve known for years that the wounds from my early childhood have had a huge impact on so many of the issues I’m dealing with as an adult.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that being left on the side of the road at 5 years old when your mother decided to check herself into a mental hospital is going to generate a significant abandonment issue.  Growing up in a home that is almost completely devoid of affection is why I so crave physical contact and attention.  I never saw emotion from my father.  He was a complete stoic when it came to expressing any feelings.  I don’t remember him laughing.  I never saw him cry.  The only hint of anything was a profound sadness, and the occasional anger. I believe my mother was bipolar.  Or if she wasn’t bipolar, she certainly had some significant personality disorders.  Likewise, I believe my brother was schizophrenic.  Not exactly a healthy environment for a child to grow up in.  Sure, I’m bipolar.  And there are significant issues that go along with that illness.  But the upbringing I had only created further complications.  Understanding all this explains a lot.

I’ve felt like by acknowledging the wounds from my early years I’ve been able to deal with them and effectively move on.  But understanding isn’t healing.  The disconnect I’ve recognized is that there is a large gap between what I know, and what I’ve felt.  A five year old doesn’t have the skills or even the concept of understanding the feelings that come from the traumas I was subject to.  Such overwhelming feelings and emotions can only be suppressed; locked away in the deepest subconscious.  I believe it is nature’s way of protecting those who don’t have a way of protecting themselves.  The problem with that is that those suppressed feelings never really go away.  They just remain in the subconscious mind and continue to generate unexplainable feelings and bubble to the surface when you least expect it.

So now I have a new focus in my therapy.  Of course there’s no way to go back and feel all the suppressed emotions from the past.  There are just too many of them, and too much time involved.  But there are ways to bring them up from the subconscious mind, face them and put them to rest.

The problem is, I haven’t a fucking clue how to do that.

How do you access feelings that happened over 45 years ago?  Over the years there have been new unresolved emotions layered thicker and thicker in the subconscious,   The emotions that are the most damaging are buried the deepest and the hardest to get to.  My Therapist tells me that I have to open myself up to be vulnerable and allow those feelings to come to the surface.  Oddly enough, it’s because of all these past emotions that I stay vulnerable.  The slightest thing can trigger a reaction that is far more intense than it should be.  I cry watching touching movies.  Getting called out for a mistake at work can make me physically sick to my stomach.  And when it comes to relationships, I completely wear my heart on my sleeve.  I feel deeply and can’t help but express my feelings, even when it isn’t appropriate.

But I still haven’t connected the dots between the mind and the heart.  I’m having that struggle now with my current relationship.  I did reconcile with my lady friend after some long conversations and a little time apart.  But our current circumstances have me in a quandary.  Her new job has her working second shift, so I have little or no chance to see her during the week.  She never knows when her dinner is going to be, so it’s really difficult to meet her then.  I tried one day last week, but she was late getting out, and I had to wait for almost an hour.  Not that I mind too terribly having to wait, but it’s hard to accept when the time we actually spend together is half as long as the time I’ve waited.  I did see her on Saturday, but she was going to visit her grand children on Sunday, and we spent the day running errands.  Then I left for home right after dinner.  And the whole time we were together she was distracted by everything she has going on.  But I understand this.  She DOES have a lot going on.  She wants to see her grand children, and she should.   She and her ex just sold their house, so she has 30 days to sort through everything and get it out of the house.  Then she’s has to figure out where it’s going in her house.  I figure at best, it will be 3 months before there’s any hope of things settling down.  But I get that, and I want to be supportive and helpful.

But then there’s the heart.  I’m not getting my needs met.  We do stay in touch some during the day through texting, but it’s sporadic and brief.  We don’t talk after I get off work, that’s when she’s working.  I’m committed to try to make this work, but I stay lonely 95% of the time.  My head tells me that this will pass, but my heart tells me I can’t wait.  The different views are creating a lot of stress and anxiety, and I have to work very hard to not add to her burdens with my struggle.

And that’s the way it’s been my whole life.  I have a very analytical mind.  I’ve always been able to gain deep insight into myself, and been able to reason through any problems.  My understanding of myself is greater than most.  I’m also a very deeply feeling individual.  But because so many of those feelings have been more than I could handle at the time, my analytical side explained them away and put them away.  But they never really went away.  And therein lies the root of the problem.

I have my next therapy session tonight.  I’m trusting that my Therapist is going to be able to help me figure this all out.  It’s beyond my grasp to know how to do this.  But it’s taken me 51 years to get to this point; I know I’m not going to resolve anything quickly.  I’ve just got to make sure I give myself time to learn and be patient with myself.

Maybe I don’t have a clue.

But it’s a start.

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