🧠 #112: Emotional honesty

This week I relearned the lesson that handling challenging situations requires emotional honesty.

These weekly updates share life with OCD as part of my Mental Work Health project to reduce stigma around mental health, especially at work.

On Monday, I had a difficult situation come up. Plan changes are always hard for me, and this basically took over my whole day. Strong emotions surged, and I realized that part of my reaction was inflated from being personally triggered.

In the end, I was pleased with how I was able to handle the situation. There are definite improvements I want to focus on for the future, but overall I thought I acted appropriately and navigated things well.

Even as I was going through it, I had the flash of insight that this is exactly what I want to be doing with my time right now. It was simultaneously draining and affirming. I love being in people leadership.

I was also struck with gratitude at my increased emotional capacity. No longer was I overwhelmingly crippled when I feel strongly. This represented major progress for me. I think a similar situation even a couple years ago would have sent me into debilitating panic attacks, and I would have been completely spent for days.

The next day, I started my day with some morning pages (free writing journaling) and realized that I was still ruminating on the events of the previous day. I was obsessing over a message for someone and trying to craft it perfectly. I forced myself to pause and just send something, practicing the “Quick and Reckless” skill that I had learned in OCD treatment. It was such a relief to get that off my mind.

Despite all of those positive aspects, on Wednesday, I realized that I was still struggling. I did some more free writing:

A question that I need to repeatedly ask myself is, “What emotion am I not allowing myself to feel right now?” Right now, that is anger.

I realized that as my Angry playlist started playing in my mind this morning. I had started playing Instrumental Chill as I was writing, and I just started my Angry playlist on my HomePod, and it feels so much better.

I need the release sometimes. I think of it as equalizing the pressure inside and outside of me.

I don’t have to hide it. I don’t have to pretend. I can be fucking pissed and just own it. I need it to just course through my veins unabated and make its way through my system. I can’t keep holding on to it.

I can’t change things at this point. I did everything I could. Now it’s time to move forward.

How am I going to do that? It starts with actually feeling my emotions.

I had been planning to discuss the situation and its effect on me in therapy later that day, but when it came time, I didn’t need to.

Writing out my thoughts and validating my own emotions with matching music was exactly what I needed to process.

That’s a great lesson for the future. It’s not always easy, but it is simple. You must feel your emotions to move through them.

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