Taking care of the feelings. How?

18 Aug 2014

One of the responses to Mary's reassuring post, Don't do something, just sit there! read in part like this:

"...that sense of going for brisk walk always clears my head. What when I can't do this?? Mindfulness comes in here but I struggle with my raging feelings, mainly directed against myself (or the world in general). Then I feel ashamed for my "self pity", I end up in a self loathing space that only makes the whole thing worse. I feel like a hamster on a wheel...What to do with rage? I think rage, and regret can eat one up. I'm not an angry person as such - no friends would recognise that description - but inside I feel eaten up with it, and there's no channel for it - nobody to blame (but self?)."

Taking care of feelings. How?

This comment sounded so much like how I sometimes feel that I had to think twice as to whether I'd written it! You may even remember my post entitled, Letting out the mad.

Yes, of all the feelings or emotions, for me, rage is the hardest to deal with and yet can be such a strong player in my lows. It's akin to wanting to hang up your wet coat but finding that there are no pegs left to hang it. Where to put it? What to do with it?

I know, through therapy over the years, that the key is to take care of the feelings but it's something I still seem to grapple with. In fact, sometimes I feel rage at the mere thought of 'taking care of the feelings', and often the word feelings is preceded with an aggressive imprecation!

If you've had any form of counseling you maybe familiar with the therapist asking questions like: What does the feeling look like? Where do you feel it? What colour would it be? And so forth. I find it so dashed hard! Until, last week, I realised that really, it's no different to some advice I was given about writing.

Helen Drysdale asked: "Are you telling when you could be showing? Don't tell your reader what something is like or how someone is feeling but show it instead. Showing makes the reader feel they are there. If you tell when you can show, you create a distance between the narrative and the reader, which undermines their emotional investment in a scene."

By failing to take care of our feelings then, are we creating a distance between us and our true selves?

So, sitting in a car full of people last week, feeling stressed, under pressure, anxious and claustrophobic, I closed my eyes, looked down and asked myself what the feelings looked like.

I saw an egg smashed under a bag of spuds. I saw a foreigner in a strange unfriendly land. I saw a goldfish in a small glass bowl and I kept seeing...

Is this taking care of the feelings? I'm not sure - it's work in progress but let me tell you, by the time we had reached our destination I felt less like a broken egg and more like a wee chick. I felt less of an alien and more of a local. I felt less like a rabbit in head lights and more like the rabbit that had escaped, just. I felt less like a goldfish in a small bowl and more like a small fish in a big tank...

Help! Somebody stop me!


A Moodscope member.

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