I struggle to name them, or even describe them. But they kick me in the diaphragm like toddlers throwing tantrums. So violent their assault that I can act long before I think; just to make them stop. Before I even know what they are trying to tell me.
I’m told that my face and body show what I am feeling, clear as day, but when asked to say what’s happening inside me, I say “I don’t know, I don’t know”. And I don’t. It all just feels like emptiness, not so much nothing as a gaping hole; an agonising lack of anything, an all consuming vacuum.
Emotions are huge. And I’m learning to know them, to listen to them and treat them. To describe, share and resolve, rather than shut down. But it’s a process. A hard one, a painful one, confusing and frightening. And sometimes the battle feels endless and sometimes I lose all hope of ever finding my way out of this maze. I lose a lot of battles, but I keep fighting. I trust the people who promise in their wisdom that I can win the war if I just keep on fighting. If I just keep swimming, they tell me I’ll get there.
And change happens, almost against my will. It’s terrifying and unsettling. I spend a lot of time frozen in fear. Or numb because it feels too big and I need to rest. But as I go on ‘anger‘, ‘fear‘, ‘sadness‘, ‘shame’ and ‘guilt’ become characters. And I see them now; almost visceral. I can hear them. Sometimes they whisper, sometimes they scream. Sometimes I’m thrown from one to another by their storm and I’m afraid to feel them because they are so heavy. But as they become clearer and I know their names and shapes, I begin to believe that one day I’ll control them, as now I’m scared to feel them because of their power to control me.
So when I say I feel nothing, with tears rolling down my face, be patient. Know I’m not lying. I’m learning.
Accompanying image ‘What Are You Feeling?‘
Copyright Katy Matilda Neo, 2016.