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