Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried, than before–more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle.”
― Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
Charles Dickens got it right. No matter what you are feeling on any given day, you need not feel bad about any of your emotions. What I have learned over the past 2 years in therapy, and from years of reading almost every self-help book available, is that there is no shame in anger, fear, sadness, or tears. What we feel is our truth, and for healing to occur, the feeling in question needs to be seen, heard and validated by you and maybe another (like a therapist or friend).
You are not in a hurry, and neither am I. If I put up with suppressed anger for over 30 years of my life, I must remember that there is no quick fix for mental illness, or any emotional set-back one can experience. Mental illness or not, we all have our demons, our hidden feelings, thus, these demons need us. They need us to take a good look at them. They are scary, and even very ugly, they even think they are tough and loud, but once we face them, they do not run, they do not charge, they stand in awe of our bravery, and become our ally.
Our Dragons do not need to stick their head in the sand.
In my last post, Are You Feeling It? I Sure Am. I discuss how, after years of feeling absolutely numb, and anxious all the time, I am starting to feel again. I am beginning to remember what it feels like to have both feet on the ground, and even though all those emotions are not all positively blissful, and make me feel uncomfortable, the importance is that I am feeling again.
When I have a couple of days when I feel totally under the weather, like I did last week, I noticed my mind start to wander. Old habits of negative thoughts started roaming around like a vulture eying its prey, and the fear of losing it actually hit me. Again!
Then I noticed the shame I was putting myself through. I was even afraid of other’s being disappointed in me. What if they notice I am not doing well again? The fact is, I am not always doing well every day, I am doing better but not all the time.
I must admit, I am not quasi suicidal like I was exactly 2 years ago. Who knows what would have happened if I didn’t get the help I needed, and work through all the garbage I piled up inside myself for most of my adult life.
“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection.
Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.
Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare.”
― Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are
There is no shame is stepping back, shame is a feeling of «I did something wrong and I feel so bad about it» . So when I started feeling bad over the weekend, when ugly words started popping into my head again, I reminded myself of what time of year it was.
Dark, cold and yes.. dark!
I didn’t bring on the Autumn, in fact I LOVE Autumn (read my post here), and because I love the Fall so much, I am often blindsided by the depression it brings on. I try to remember I have a tendency to get Seasonal Affective Disorder, however, I often forget the shorter days as I am in awe of the colors of the season and how they make me feel.
So feeling ashamed for something that just «hits» me like a ton of bricks, is counterproductive in my opinion, yet, I can make changes now that I am aware of what is going on. Just like my son, who is failing math, I never EVER make him feel ashamed. His math brain is exactly like mine, deprived or something (LOL) yet, I told him the other day, “do not take a failing mark and allow it to make you feel less than you are, take that mark and just try again, and again, and AGAIN. Keep on trying until you get the C- then the C and if you try your darndest and it is still a C, then be proud!”
All I ask of myself and my family is not to settle for less than we can give. That’s all.
There is no shame in trying, and there is no shame in mental illness, and there is no shame in feeling angry or sad one day.. Just like there is absolutely no shame in joy.
It really is just riding the waves of daily life… and there is no shame in surfing.