How You Feel is Important
I recently had a mini breakdown. Yea. A breakdown. A miniature size version of a full on mental breakdown. I say that because I've never had a huge mental breakdown before and I've been around people who have and it's not the same. But I'm ok or so I'm discovering.
I woke up a couple weeks ago feeling overwhelmed about the day but I brushed it off since half of my mornings, up until this point, I woke up feeling this way. I had my coffee. Read my bible. Showered and went off to work. I couldn't shake this feeling of being overwhelmed but thought, "Well, I'll get through this day and then come home and figure it out or it'll just go away at some point." I went to a meeting where playful banter with my coworkers was a normal occurrence but today I had no capacity for it. I felt this anger rising up within me and felt on the verge of tears or screaming or both. After the meeting I went back to my office and a close friend I work with met me there. She asked me if I was ok and all the emotions came flooding out. I realized in that moment that this was a reccurring thing for me. I often would come to this breaking point but wouldn't really quite figure out how to process through it and didn't know what I needed to fix it. I had a second conversation with a mentor/friend that day. They gave me the advise that I needed to begin processing emotions better. I needed to check in with myself more often. I also needed to ask people to help me with my emotions. I needed to include people in my internal world.
Since that day I've started to do those things. I've learned that I tend to go on auto-pilot with my emotions. I power-through in order to continue life as normal and to give myself the impression that I'm fine. I've learned that it's not bad that I feel overwhelmed. That the things I'm facing in my life are legitimately hard and scary. I've learned to check in with myself daily. I've been doing this by journalling. I've found a process that works for me right now. I sit down with my coffee and my journal at the very start of the day and begin to process.
The first thing I write down are my Feelings. This process is easy some days because the feelings are right there and some days it's harder and takes some digging. I've learned that I've got more going on inside than I realized and getting those emotions onto paper has helped me to pin point what I'm really feeling. For example, I could be feeling sad but when I dive deeper it's more like disappointment than sadness. Knowing I'm disappointed allows me to directly discover what it is that I'm disappointed about.
The second thing I write down are my Needs. I ask myself the question, "What do I need? What do I need to feel differently, to feel better, to help me process these feelings, etc.?." It could be something simple as I need to do something fun today to something more complicated like I need to have a conversation with my husband about finances. This helps me put action to my feelings. To be proactive in getting to a place where my needs are being met.
The third thing I write down is called Rhema. Rhema is a Greek word for utterance. This is where I ask God to speak to me about the feelings and the needs. I ask Him to give me revelation about my life that I might not see without His guidance and voice. Sometimes He gives me revelation on why I may be feeling the way I do. Sometimes what I feel is spiritual warfare. It helps to know that because there's different approaches I can take with that. Sometimes He just comforts and reassures me of His love for me. He's so loving and patient. He wants to walk us through those hard emotions.
Lastly, I write down my Prayer/Thanksgiving to God. I thank Him for my life as it is right now. I thank Him for all the blessings that I have. I pray for continued help in processing emotions. I pray for grace if I have to communicate with someone. Thanksgiving is huge in shifting emotions. To stop and thank God really shifts our perspective.
This process has been really good. But I'm realizing this is a day-by-day process that I have to do consistently. There are some things we're facing in our lives that ARE really hard but they are easier to face when we can process how they're affecting us. I experienced and continue to experience trauma in my life. I think we too often underestimate the power of traumatic experiences. We think that it's normal and we'll just figure it out or it'll just get better as our experiences get better. My emotional life has gotten better since I've been able to communicate and check in with myself in regards to experiences or circumstances I'm facing. Before I started this process I remember telling a close friend, "I have every reason to be happy but I'm just not and I don't know how to get happy." This process has begun to unlock and expose those deep places of pain and hurt. When we do that it allows healing to come to those places. When healing comes to those places we become happier and healthier.
I hope this post encourages you to start your own journey of processing the stuff you're feeling. God cares more about how you are doing than you realize. He wants you to be able to enjoy your life in the midst of the difficult circumstances. There's an abundance of joy waiting for you in the midst of pain and trauma.