There are moments where we have all or will all feel trapped. In a situation, in our mind, in our body. Daily feelings of frustration and stuckness can feel like having lead weights around your shoulders. At times, these feelings can suddenly peak and become terrifying moments of fear, panic and hopelessness. Nothing makes sense in these moments – your existence seems both surreal and yet ultra-real. Sometimes it feels like your head is going to explode. You want the ride to stop so that you can get off.
Times like these can feel the absolute worst for trying to see a way forward – after all, if you knew that you wouldn’t feel like this? So you keep pushing through it and the weights around your shoulders feel heavier. Allowing yourself to stop probably feels the most counter-intuitive thing to do right now… but what if that’s exactly what you need to do?
With anything in life, there is a balance. And sometimes, if you’ve been pushing through a feeling for a long time, you need to balance things out by taking some time to be with that feeling. And this begins by acknowledging it and allowing yourself to really feel it. What form this exactly takes will vary from person to person. The lead weights to one person might equal heartfelt sobs of grief that this is what your life is. For another person, the lead weights might manifest as rage and ‘why me!?’ For someone else it might mean admitting they are exhausted, and having a pyjama day in front of the tv to rest and recharge their batteries. Or maybe a combination of the lot. Sometimes after some rest or rage or a good cry, your head can feel a lot clearer. You’ve done it – you’ve admitted how you really feel behind the daily greyness that is ‘coping’.
I use quotation marks to say ‘coping’ because while we might think this is what we’ve been doing all this time, it’s not always the case. ‘Not coping’ is easily confused with coping – you may have been pushing whatever it is out of your mind, avoiding it, putting a happy face on it. This can be a good thing – as I said, life is about balance – but there comes a point where ‘something’s gotta give.’ You’ve reached boiling point.
Now is a good time to evaluate where you are – is this how you want your life to look? Is a change of career an option? Or retraining? Could my relationships with my family be better? Is this the right relationship for me? Do I need some help with all this?
Sometimes we can’t change the things we would like to, in which case it is just as important to take time out to air your feelings and give yourself some breathing space. Being creative with your feelings can be a safe way to let things out: writing and drawing can help you to understand the feeling better if you can see it solidly on a piece of paper. It can give you a sense of ownership over that feeling. A sense of control. Of validation. Other creative mediums can have this effect too – music, dance, drama.
And for some people saying it out loud to someone who is not there to judge or tell them what to do can be the most powerful and effective way for them to express their feelings and find a way forward. When we communicate our feelings (through whatever medium) we literally let it out of our system and make room for other things, other thoughts and feelings, and make room to move forward. Moving forward can simply mean knowing where you are now, which you may not have done before.
Standing still… to move forward. Life is a paradox!
Copyright © 2016 Laura Hughes