Friday, October 14, 2011

The roller coaster of... healing?

And, I'm back down again, and big time. It was a pretty hard, unexpected crash down, too. How could I feel so good one day, and so terrible the next?! It makes me feel a little crazy.

The human mind and emotions are pretty remarkable phenomena, don't ya think? You always hear about mind control - it's an especially popular topic of conversation in my family - but is it really possible to control your mind/emotions when you've gone through a traumatic event?

I surely thought I was controlling mine. In fact, I've been so good at convincing those around me that I had bounced back from this experience that I even managed to fool myself in the process. I'd say I've been putting on a "happy face" for others since I returned to college after my "healing" semester. So I've kept up a pretty impressive performance for almost 9 years! And to think Meryl Streep with her 16 Oscar nominations only had to keep it up for movie takes :-)

Today I had a pretty embarrassing day. Broke down TWICE at school. I am 28 years old and feel like I've lost all control. The second break-down occurred in front of my thesis advisor - very nice, caring man. He was just trying to be there for me I'm sure, but he was asking questions that I wasn't ready to answer. I could only provide cryptic answers, and I'm not really sure how much time passed, but I ended up really shaky and dizzy and then shut down and couldn't really talk to him anymore. I shifted the subject to my thesis. Awkward much?

I can't help but feel I'm too old for this type of behavior, but I am trying to trust my emotions and just go with this roller coaster. I tried to control them before using my mind, constantly trying to rationalize and minimize what I was going through. And well, it didn't work.

So, HANDS UP, here goes!


  1. Hey sweetie, I know exactly what you are going through. It's like we try so hard to show no emotion out of fear of bringing everyone else around us down or making them worry about us that we drive our own selves be tween a rock and a hard place. It is very easy to lie to others and tell them that everything is okay and it is often very easy to tell ourselves the same lies. Letting my emotions out is something that I have to constantly struggle to do. If I don't let them out they will build up until I have self-destructive thoughts because the pain has built up so much that it is overflowing. I think emotions are like water contained behind a dam and our desire to appear normal is the concrete and steel that make up the dam. Sometime the water level behind a dam rises so high that the flood gates have to be opened to relieve some of the pressure. If they don't the structure of the dam its self can become damage and eventually fail in a catastrophe. If we don't open the flood gates sometimes and let our emotions free in the form of tears we too can become damaged and fall apart.

    We become so fooled into thinking that strength and courage equals no tears that we hold ours back when we need emotional relief.

    I cry for you because I know how you feel, maybe not exactly because we are all special and unique. Still I know it has to be hard to be dealing with the pressures of college while dealing with the the riggers of healing. I have so much trouble just getting to high school and high school is nowhere near the same pressure.

    I'm so glad your professor tried to help. Please don't be put off too much by the questions because men and women are different. We look to console through empathy while men look to console by making the pain go away. I'm sure he was just wanting to understand so that he could fix what is wrong. Fixing things is a guys nature. My dad will tell you all about it. LOL

    Anyway I have rambled on way too long. Sorry for the long comment.

    I hope you feel better.

  2. Hi Jaime,
    Thank you so much for your kind and supportive comments. I really like your dam metaphor - it's honestly the best description of the emotional build-up I've heard, so thank you for that. I think I'll probably start using it with my own patients :) They have different challenges but emotional turmoil nevertheless. The pretending to be okay is exhausting and compounds feelings of isolation, that's for sure. Please know that I am here any time you are tired of pretending and need to release the reservoir :) Thanks again for your support. Sending you lots of positive energy!
    xx MM

  3. Absolutely feel free to use the dam-metaphor.

    Are you a psychiatrist? I have been thinking about a career in metal health.

    Thanks for being here for me if I need it. I always need it. Trust me, I am a mess on the inside and have trouble letting my emotions out. According to my therapist I self-diagnose too much and hide my emotions behind a cloak of wanting to learn. I'm not sure what she means. LOL

  4. Hi Jaime!

    I am in the process of becoming a speech-language pathologist. You might be thinking..what's that? :) It covers a wide range of things, but my focus will be on the rehabilitation of adults with aphasia (a multi-modality language disorder resulting from neurological damage). Though I'm not a psychiatrist, counseling often plays an important role in our therapy sessions because the patients and their families are dealing with the aftermath of traumatic events (e.g., stroke and traumatic brain injury).

    I think that you would make a wonderful mental health professional! There is no doubt in my mind that you would make a positive difference in the lives of so many individuals.

    As far as you self-diagnosing and hiding from your emotions "behind a cloak of wanting to learn," I'm certainly no therapist, but it seems to me that if you are postponing dealing with the emotional side of your very traumatic event because your mind is not ready to process it yet, what better way to spend your time in the meantime than learning?! :-)

    I am here for you, Jaime. Tons and tons and tons of hugs!