Emotional Expression 101

I want to start by saying thank you to everyone, for your kind words, thoughts and prayers. It blows me away how wonderfully supportive the blogging community is and has been throughout my short-career online. Please accept my sincerest gratitude for all the generous comments, e-mails and text messages. You seriously are the best bl-ends anyone could possibly ask for…

Since Tuesday my mind has pretty much been consumed by thoughts of my sister and the situation she is going through. I apologize if I don’t articulate my feelings on this subject well, but honestly my heart is full of emotions that I am not quite used to dealing with.

Although her being pregnant was not the ideal situation due to circumstance; her only being 19, with a part-time job, etc. but we still considered the baby to be a major blessing in all our lives, and were ready to welcome it with open arms.

When I heard I was no longer going to be an aunt, I was devastated. Not so much for me, but for my sister who was going to have to deal with this both physically and mentally, and there was nothing I, or anyone else for that matter, could really do to help.

…Nothing I could say would alleviate any of the pain, and all I wanted to do was make it better.

I have to give her credit, she has been a trooper; strong and courageous beyond belief, but unfortunately this is also what worries me…

My family and I don’t express emotions very well. I think I mentioned in previous entries we don’t typically cry. We tend to put up a shield that prevents excessive displays of feelings, and in my opinion (which I have concluded after many frustrating therapy sessions) that was a large factor that contributed to me getting sick.

Keeping sadness, anger, resentment, fear, and any other “normal” feeling, inside is toxic because suppression can only go on for so long. Eventually the emotions will come out, whether it is in an appropriate manner or not.

My years of bottled up feelings decided to manifest in restriction, extreme amounts of exercise, and physical harm, while someone else may cope with their pain by gambling, misdirected lashing out, spending, drugs, etc. but either way it is not necessarily the best form of management.

There are a bagillion mal-adaptive methods of expression, and I worry, since Linds is also not good at demonstrating her feelings, that she will never effectively deal with what she is going through now, or what she has dealt with in the past.

I can certainly resonate with that and I wish I had done things differently.

It just seemed easier to distract myself with physical pain, or the high from restriction, rather than dealing with the hurt I felt from familial abandonment, disappointments within my own life, and believing myself to be a total failure.

But let me tell you. Eventually the feelings come around full force, and you either need a stronger unhealthy coping skill (farther, faster runs, less calories…hello, addiction) or to deal with the issues head on.

Now that I am actually confronting the problems, of past and present, it is WAY worse than if I had addressed them one at a time, or when they actually happened.

Now it is like a tidal wave rather than ripples. Now I want to cry for days rather than just a brief moment. Now I want to scream and yell and beat up pillows instead of just being angry with words.

This might sound completely ridiculous if you are a person who accepts their feelings, states or expresses them in a healthy manner, and moves on, but this is truly something I have no idea how to do.

Just like with food and exercise, I have difficulty finding an emotional balance.

But I am working on it…

Since I havent yet mastered the skill I obviously can’t tell Lindsay what to do. I can’t force her to explain to me all the things within her mind, but I can let her know I am here to listen, and perhaps if I show her my feelings, that I am sad this happened, she will follow suit.

I never thought it was ok to cry. Since no one in my household really did it, I thought it was weird, abnormal, and a sign of weakness. But maybe, if I demonstrated that tears are a sign of bravery, and strength, she would feel more comfortable letting out what she has inside. Not to mention crying is totally appropriate for a loss such as the one she, and our entire family, just experienced, even if it does last longer than a few minutes.

I am a human-being and I cry. I am not longer ashamed of that.

Thank you again for being so kind, and reading. You are all, truly a blessing to my life 🙂

What are your feelings on crying?

Expressing emotion?

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9 thoughts on “Emotional Expression 101

  1. This must be so hard for you guys… I hope you can support each other in this situation…

    Crying relieves stress and emotions, it relieves pain. I believe a good cry can help, there’s nothing wrong with it. Don’t bottle up feelings, show them to others.

    I wish you a lot of strength in this difficult time..

  2. That was beautifully expressed, my dear. You have come a very long way! I do believe that you are, now, a better role model for Linds than you know. You do need to remind her where holding in and denying your feelings got you. She is not going to change overnight either. She has a wonderful support in you, which is something you would have blossomed with. Keep emoting…you are getting really good at it…xoxox

  3. CJ, I am so sorry to hear of the loss that your sister and your family has had. I will keep you in my prayers.
    I am so impressed that now that you realize that crying and expressing emotion is normal and ok, you want to show that to your sister. I believe that seeing you deal in a more healthy way with your emotions can be such a powerful thing for your sister.

  4. Crying is definitely okay! I cried really hard last night and just let myself feel sadness for the first time in a long time, without using ED stuff, and it was so hard but this morning I feel SO proud of myself and that is worth everything.

    I am SO sorry to hear about your sister’s loss. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  5. Hello Love!

    Beautifully written for sure! Have you ever read a book called ‘The Diet Cure’ by Julia Ross – if you havent you definitely should! It was a huge inspiration for me generally when recovering from restrictive eating – implementing her suggestions helped me to feel SO much better! The link to her book is also on my blog!

    Anyhow, the part of that which is most relevant is she details how the physical act of crying can release certain hormones which actually physcially help us to cope – I need to find the book again so I can read. There is also this article which is really interesting:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/features/how-crying-can-make-you-healthier-1009169.html

    Ive NEVER had a problem with crying – even though Ive never really faced any on-going life trauma – someone just has to shout at me in the office and I’m off! Ive always found it pretty embrassing – but I do think it helps so I was pleased to find this evidence! Take care my dear! xoxo

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