Against all odds, I have been happy(er) the past couple of days.
The thing that I think has made the most impact on my ability to be happy is allowing myself to feel.
I tend to push my feelings back or aside for many reasons. Sometimes that reason is fear: fear of the pain, or fear of addressing the pain and making Ben more depressed or suicidal. That may sound dramatic, but that is a real concern for me. Two years ago at Christmas, he told me he had been thinking of "making it easier on me" by killing himself (or leaving me. Two great options to make it easier). I'm always afraid that will happen if he gets depressed enough, especially if the root of his depression is the addiction and knowing how much he has hurt me. That was a downer, but I had to get it out. Sorry. Anyhoo...
Sometimes I push my feelings aside due to stress and lack of time: I don't have time to feel or don't want to take the time to feel and get depressed and have it throw off the other things in my life (mainly school--I can't afford for my groove to be thrown off at school). But mostly, I push my feelings back because they are painful, and I don't know how to cope with them very well. And, honestly? I don't want this to be happening to me. I think if I ignore that it's happening, it's not happening. Grrrrrr.
For the past two and a half years, I've allowed myself to feel for a short time, but then I tell myself to buck up and be a man. And I do. I'm the queen of bottling up emotion. I should have a crown. When I think I should be past feeling, I stifle the rest of the emotions that are there and get a move on. Then a few weeks or months down the road, I completely lose it and go crazy. It's a vicious cycle, my friends.
This time, I allowed myself to feel. I cried. I opened up to my bishop. I opened up to Ben. I took my ring off. I talked to my mentor teacher about things. I told some of my students (who expected me to have their tests graded the day after they took them. So not happening. I'm behind on grading) that I've been depressed and having some off weeks. I told the special-ed teacher (who is amazing and like a mom to me at school) that I'm depressed. And I ate a lot of homemade bread this week. I'm allowing the emotions to cycle through me, and I'm also doing things to help myself cope.
I'm taking my time. Because I'm not putting pressure on myself to overcome my feelings (I used to tell myself, okay, after a relapse, I should be willing and able to have sex, kiss, cuddle, etc within "x" amount of time) and am allowing my spirit to recover as it will, I'm actually feeling some joy. Two days after d-day. That is amazing to me!
I wish I could do more for myself, but I can't because I'm a first year teacher with four preps (next semester it will be five...), one of which is a catering class, and a club to run. I really don't have much time for self-care. But this week, I have made it somewhat of a priority (which has resulted in a lack of sleep, but I've been blessed to make it through that). I've written. I've studied scriptures. I've done some ADDO. I'm hoping to be able to paint a little bit sometime today or tomorrow.
It's still hard. I still feel an underlying sense of stress and anxiety. BUT I'm allowing myself to feel it when I need to. And that is making all the difference. I know I have to feel in order to heal, and I'm grateful for the blessings I have received while I have taken time to slow down and just feel.
Feeling is so important. It's scary.