Another Sad Story
In January, right in the middle of my depression, my mother died. She was ninety-two. Somewhere along the way I had lost touch with her. Yes, I visited her once or twice a year, but we never hugged or kissed. When she died, I did not feel anything: no longing, no regret, no love. We were a very large, five-generation, French Catholic family. During my eulogy, tears erupted from all corners of the packed church. These moments require tears to wash away the pain of separation, the pain of lost opportunity to somehow fix something that had been broken. My voice broke, but I could not cry.
Six months later, after my therapy program, I visited my mother’s grave site. I looked up all the other members of my lost family that were buried there, my grandmother, two sisters, and two brothers. When I got to mom’s grave, I just sat down and started the conversation we never had while she was alive. I told her how much I loved her and thanked her for giving me all she could. Somewhere in that conversation, I felt a tear roll down my cheek. I sat there for hours crying like a baby, just feeling her presence and all the love that she was not able to show me while she was alive. That empty place in my heart, from that day forward, has been filled with a mother’s love. The child within me finally felt complete.
And the blues begin again. A sad song, a sad, sad song, Begins to play at the back of my mind, That colors everything it touches With the soft brush of silent despair. And the storm begins to build, The feelings billowing into gigantic anvils. I sit there absorbing the storm’s vibrations, Hoping to break the dam, And release its redemptive waters, But the crying on the outside will not begin, While the crying on the inside will never stop.
The Silver Lining
Once we become aware of our emotional safe place, we can then determine what is causing it. We note the kind of situations that our mind feels that it subconsciously wants to avoid. We respect that. It is our responsibility, and ours alone, to take good care of our self. We no longer have to hide from emotional situations. We can now consciously avoid them and/or make plans to handle our emotions when they do arise.
Secondly we now have two resources that we can now use consciously. First of all, we have our emotions back so they can now do the job they were meant to do. It is sometimes good to cry, to experience grief and loss, and yes, even to be angry. We are not always to blame and sometimes it is good to show anger and let people know they are stepping on our toes. Secondly we now have a nice safe place to consciously go in the middle of a stressful series of events. Keep in mind it is also essentially a pain suppression response. It even works in the dentist’s chair.
My five suggestions for borderliners:
1. We face our emotions. We notice that numbing sensation before we begin to shut down. If appropriate, we seek a quiet moment and allow the feelings to surface. We analyze the situation, notice the cause of the numbing producing anxiety, make a plan to handle the situation, and go back and face it.
2. When dealing with work and social conflict situations involving people who are not part of our intimate circle, or when an emotional reaction might lead to further conflict and pain, we consciously allow our mind to suppress the emotion, and we consciously let it slip into its altered state. Once we feel comfortable with, and in control of our emotions, we can bring it up at the next opportunity or we may just let it pass and chalk it up to experience. Either way, we give ourselves a great big hug and congratulate our mind for once again escaping that mean old sabre tooth tiger.
3. When dealing with intimate relationships, we let our loved ones know that we have difficulty handling emotional problems and ask them to be patient with us when we do not respond appropriately. When these emotional situations arise (our life partner is hot to trot and will not allow us to escape), we again allow ourselves to knowingly go into the altered state of numbness, smile and listen* (aside: on second thought the smile might not be a good idea in this situation). However, we do not bury these feelings. Later, when we have gained control of our emotions and anxieties, we bring the situation up again and give our side of the argument. We continue to discuss until both parties, and yes, that includes our self, can feel the situation is resolved and we can feel the peaceful flow of serotonin flowing through our neural circuits.
4. If these situations activate some deeper traumas, we bring them up during meditation, consciously invite our higher self to have control and be the judge, and then invite the mind self to state its case. We want to go from thought activity into feeling activity. This can involve a visualization process which can bring a sense of reality to the situation, which in turn will assist the mind in processing the information and making the necessary connections. The more senses we involve the better. We visualize a solution to the trauma thus completing the circuit and removing the cause of anxiety. We then refire and form positive circuits through powerful feelings like forgiveness, gratitude and above all love. *(Aside: In my case this process felt so good, I pretty well cried the whole time.)
5. We continue to process these past emotions on consecutive days until all the old wounds are healed. It may take several weeks before we feel the issues have been resolved. Whenever they resurface, we thank our mind for bringing it to our attention and we give it permission to once again experience the old emotions. We soothe it with love from our higher self. “There, there it’s okay to feel this way. It’s okay to cry; it’s okay to be angry.” And then we always refire through forgiveness (especially for our self), gratitude, and love.