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Taking care of the feelings. How? Tuesday August 19, 2014

One of the responses to Mary's reassuring post, Don't do something, just sit there! read in part like this:

"...that sense of going for brisk walk always clears my head. What when I can't do this?? Mindfulness comes in here but I struggle with my raging feelings, mainly directed against myself (or the world in general). Then I feel ashamed for my "self pity", I end up in a self loathing space that only makes the whole thing worse. I feel like a hamster on a wheel...What to do with rage? I think rage, and regret can eat one up. I'm not an angry person as such - no friends would recognise that description - but inside I feel eaten up with it, and there's no channel for it - nobody to blame (but self?)."

Taking care of feelings. How?

This comment sounded so much like how I sometimes feel that I had to think twice as to whether I'd written it! You may even remember my post entitled, Letting out the mad.

Yes, of all the feelings or emotions, for me, rage is the hardest to deal with and yet can be such a strong player in my lows. It's akin to wanting to hang up your wet coat but finding that there are no pegs left to hang it. Where to put it? What to do with it?

I know, through therapy over the years, that the key is to take care of the feelings but it's something I still seem to grapple with. In fact, sometimes I feel rage at the mere thought of 'taking care of the feelings', and often the word feelings is preceded with an aggressive imprecation!

If you've had any form of counseling you maybe familiar with the therapist asking questions like: What does the feeling look like? Where do you feel it? What colour would it be? And so forth. I find it so dashed hard! Until, last week, I realised that really, it's no different to some advice I was given about writing.

Helen Drysdale asked: "Are you telling when you could be showing? Don't tell your reader what something is like or how someone is feeling but show it instead. Showing makes the reader feel they are there. If you tell when you can show, you create a distance between the narrative and the reader, which undermines their emotional investment in a scene."

By failing to take care of our feelings then, are we creating a distance between us and our true selves?

So, sitting in a car full of people last week, feeling stressed, under pressure, anxious and claustrophobic, I closed my eyes, looked down and asked myself what the feelings looked like.

I saw an egg smashed under a bag of spuds. I saw a foreigner in a strange unfriendly land. I saw a goldfish in a small glass bowl and I kept seeing...

Is this taking care of the feelings? I'm not sure - it's work in progress but let me tell you, by the time we had reached our destination I felt less like a broken egg and more like a wee chick. I felt less of an alien and more of a local. I felt less like a rabbit in head lights and more like the rabbit that had escaped, just. I felt less like a goldfish in a small bowl and more like a small fish in a big tank...

Help! Somebody stop me!

A Moodscope member.

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heather Tue, Aug 19th 2014 @ 6:42am

Love that finishing sentence ! Very interesting, particularly as I am battlling with rage at the moment, even shouting and swearing insanely at a man with an umbrella who was the fourth to turn us back because of road closures on our way to mum in law's 100th birthday, with food, in the middle of hurricane Bertha last w/e. (out of character). Since then I have told one or two people what I think of them, particularly my partner, who incidentally thinks nothing of having a very violent outburst when I run for cover, saying HE needs these outbursts to keep sane. Not the wisest thing to antagonise him (an otherwise pleasant man!). I guess the answer is that some of us bottle our anger or disappointments for too long and they turn in on us unless we can find way to let them go. I will try your way Suzy. Thanks for the blog. Love from Heather xx

Suzie Tue, Aug 19th 2014 @ 9:03am

Hi all. It helps to paint or draw the feelings too, especially helpful if you have a close friend or healing buddy to share a paint-the-feeling session with, then share after. Or share by email. Am doing this with a counselling client and a friend, for myself, and somehow externalising the feelings onto paper changes them. Thanks for your blogs, Suzy....

Suzy Tue, Aug 19th 2014 @ 9:52am

Hey Heather and Suzie, I'm definitely with you both. Important to release the feelings before they get to explosion point.
Suze, I'm LOVING the "paint the feeling" idea! And can you imagine if this was incorporated into schools as a lesson? Emotional Intelligence would surely grow as children were taught to listen to/take care of their feelings.

heather Tue, Aug 19th 2014 @ 9:55am

I am finding that even imagining in technicolour my repressed fears and disappointments, is helping already, because I then feel I can actually do something about them.

Vicky Tue, Aug 19th 2014 @ 10:03am

dear suzy, this could have been written by me (though likely less eloquently) - never before have I read someone's summing up of exactly how I feel - the rage! the regret! eating you up - eating me up (own it Vicky). Sometimes the rage is like a tsunami - whipping everything up in its path - I don't know if to run from it or face it and in facing it, drown. I run from the feelings most of the time because they're so damned scary. So powerful. This morning I'm facing builder in bathroom (behind schedule), roofers next door, and not being well - sore throat, nausea, peculiar cocktail of symptoms. All I want to do is curl up in bed and sleep. But not in this noisy, chaotic flat full of dust and grit.... so then the rage starts (why? lucky me being able to have a new bathroom!), and the fury with the roofers (why? they're perfectly affable) and most of all me - fury with self for being ill AGAIN, for being trapped in this impossible head of mine, fearful of reality, even more fearful of unreality, not being able to find any safe place to land.... So a big THANKYOU Suzy. I shall endeavour to find a description of these feelings, that threaten to overwhelm. I shall stop running (I'm too exhausted anyway), and try and turn my gaze from the dust and chaos (it can all be dealt with when builder gone) and my ear away from the hammering and banging (radio 4?). Most of all I need to face my inner demons. And maybe I'll discover they are not demons after all.... phew! did me good typing all that out - now i'll pop over to Kind Neighbour to use her shower - and remind myself of the good in the world, and dare I say it, in myself if I can only but learn to see it....

Mary Blackhurst Hill Tue, Aug 19th 2014 @ 11:09am

Love this one, Suzy! Those images are really powerful.

Anonymous Tue, Aug 19th 2014 @ 12:01pm

I often find that behind the rage lies something else, maybe fear, vulnerability, sadness, shame, and that once I can identify what it may be I can be gentler with myself and work on 'dealing' with that hidden feeling.

Anonymous Tue, Aug 19th 2014 @ 12:53pm

Yes, that's so true for me too. When I find myself "out of sorts" whether it's angry, depressed, upset etc I try to find myself a quiet place and just sit and breathe for a few minutes and try to switch my brain off and listen to my heart instead. Sometimes I realise what the hidden issue is but sometimes I need to accept that I'm just annoyed or angry at someone or something and that's OK too! It also gives me an opportunity to calm down.

Anonymous Tue, Aug 19th 2014 @ 1:02pm

I think the idea of imagining your feelings is really helpful. I was told once to close your eyes and imagine yourself as an animal, look at its condition, what is it doing etc. I was very sceptical but over a period of a few weeks I tried to do it, I did find it difficult because I felt a bit stupid to be honest. However the picture because clearer and I was horrified by what I saw. It was a tiger but it was starving, beaten, bruised, chained and crying out in pain. Over the following months even years I continued to periodically imagine the tiger and was amazed by how what I saw reflected how I was feeling. Happily I have been recovered from my "melt down" for a couple of years and now I only see a healthy, happy tiger. I really learned that our bodies communicate with us in so many different ways - but unfortunately at that time I was only able to listen to my mind and not to my feelings. It took a long time for me to learn to listen to both and it's something I still have to remind myself to do each day.

Suzy Tue, Aug 19th 2014 @ 1:18pm

Hey Vicky, the first paragraph IS you, you know. ;o)

Having workmen around can be hugely challenging when struggling healthwise. No peace, unable to nap/rest, the dust and muck... stressful!

I was struggling with this recently and a wise lady said to try and absorb the good humour and affability that most good builders inevitably bring with them and to just try and enjoy this aspect instead of feeling constant anxiety about it. I have to say, it did help me.

Writing down my feelings, uncensored and unmeasured, helps enormously too.

One hour at a time m'lady. One hour at a time.

Anonymous Tue, Aug 19th 2014 @ 1:35pm

Loving your work Suzy! This is very useful to me. Love from the room above the garage.

p.s. Some days I just cannot get the blogspot to accept my comments so apologies to all writers...sometimes I am trying to compliment and contribute but I am taped shut :-)

Richard Harrison Tue, Aug 19th 2014 @ 1:56pm

Suzy tells it how it is.
Love, R

Julia Tue, Aug 19th 2014 @ 3:50pm

Spot on Richard. Suzy tells is like it is,not how it should be or how she would like it to be. I believe Bob Dylan succeeded in doing this; he never wrote songs he knew the public or his managers expected him to write. He wrote about life etc as he saw it or experienced it or believed it to be at the time. I like that courage and honesty. Well done Suzy again and continue to stay true to yourself.It's a difficult path to tread. Or skip!

Suzy Tue, Aug 19th 2014 @ 6:48pm

Thanks Anon 12:01 and 12:53,

Quite right; soooo true


Suzy Tue, Aug 19th 2014 @ 6:55pm

Such a touching comment this. Thank you. I remember a friend describing herself in a similar way.
You are so right when you say that it needs to be part of our daily mentality. Even when the "tiger" is healthy, strong and confident, the key is to continue taking care of the feelings; listening to the feelings. Alas, this is a slippery lesson that I've had to learn again and again.
Long live the healthy, happy tiger! x

Suzy Tue, Aug 19th 2014 @ 6:58pm

Ah RATG, I have the exact same problem.
RATG being taped shut is such a sad thought :o(
Moodscopers the world over love the RATG!

Suzy Tue, Aug 19th 2014 @ 7:11pm

Sir Richard and Lady Julia, I'd happily go a skippin' with you good folks. :o)
Skippin' doon the rood is a happy, ticketyboo thing to do.

"Skip, skip, skip to my lou..."

Suzy Tue, Aug 19th 2014 @ 7:14pm

Ah thank you m'lady but not as powerful as the comment made by Anon 1.02 me thinks. ;o)

Vicky Tue, Aug 19th 2014 @ 7:37pm

hey Suzy, that's hilarious! well it certainly resonated.... :)
yes, you're right about absorbing the good bits. I think I struggle with accessing the good amongst the rest. I agree about writing about feelings. Getting down to the nub of them. Peeling away those layers. Thanks for encouragement.... Vicky

Anonymous Tue, Aug 19th 2014 @ 9:25pm

Love ratg

Richard L Peacocke Wed, Aug 20th 2014 @ 7:07am


I was sat here raging inwardly, yes raging, at the numbers of women's voices in the comments compared to men's as a measure of their need, when suddenly I'm hit with "ticketyboo". Ticketyboo?! I sat and stared. That is MY word! It is the word I use when people seeing me I a black cloud say, tremulously, "how are you feeling today?" Then get ready to run. I smile and say, "oh you know, ticketyboo."

To see it in use here tickled me. I am now no longer raging but am decidedly ticketyboo.

Thank you, Suzy. Xxxxx

Ticketyboo Su Wed, Aug 20th 2014 @ 10:10am

I really do hate to break this to you Richard but it's MY word. I'm Ticketyboo Su don't you know! Ticketyboo Richard? Hmm it just doesn't have that same ring. :oD

And I tells you what, seeing as you have such a dashed cool surname, I think I can have Ticketyboo. ;o)

I've got to admit I'm pondering on your rage at the comments. How do you know the anonymous comments aren't male?

Also, I dinae know that is shows "neediness" on behalf of females if they comment. My guess would be that it shows females are just more likely to communicate feelings. It's certainly my first language!

Mind you, it was my dad's too. He'd start many sentences with: "I just feel..."

Have a jolly goodly day Sir.

Comment more and make that male presence known! ;o)

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