Yesterday I made my decision. I will do as my counselor has said.
I met with a couple of friends and had a long talk with Darrin. I suppose my hope was to build some sort of physically present support system. I think the results were as good as can be expected. One friend indicated that she was supportive and empathetic--then she helped me understand that her life was fairly busy right now, but she was sure if I gave her some advance notice she could pencil me in if I needed to talk. The other friend said that she felt what I was doing (i.e. allowing myself to feel the emotions from my past) was a really good step, and that I'd find it wasn't really a big deal. She said I'd probably not need any support, because feeling emotions was a natural thing--everyone does it. Then she listed all the things I do well, and said she was certain this would be a breeze for me. Then her phone rang and our conversation was over. Darrin was concerned that the timing for this is bad. He's right. My Father-in-law is coming for a 2-week visit on Tuesday night. Darrin also has reservations about the necessity of doing this at all and is concerned that I might become overwhelmed to the point that I can't cope. He also indicated that he's not sure he can be available for me when I need him.
So my support system is "iffy" at best. It really doesn't matter, however. I've decided that I'm tired of living each day, carefully watching for something I might feel that will make me uncomfortable, and using all my efforts to push that away. I'm too tired to do that anymore. Some of you who have been with me in the past two weeks have been the recipients of inappropriate comments I've made in reference to being raped by my cousin. The comments have been unsolicited, compulsive, random, and rude. I'm realizing that my ability to suppress my feelings at any given time is diminishing, and that at some point I will express them in some way. If I don't deal with my need to work through the feelings in a positive way, they will expose themselves unexpectedly and without my permission. Regardless of convenience, it's time for me to do this.
If you were unfortunate enough to chat with me last night and early this morning, I probably asked you to not talk to me about my feelings over the next few days. My thought was that I really don't need anyone. I can acknowledge the feelings, analyze them, give them permission to stay and even cry about them without help. And there's nothing anyone can do anyway. If I'm miserable, that's sort of the point--to allow myself to feel miserable without devaluing the feelings causing the pain or insisting those feelings leave. And in my case, misery truly does not love company. I feel a deep need to be very private about this. I suppose part of that stems from knowing that if someone asks what I'm feeling or what I need, I won't be able to give adequate expression to help them understand. But probably the most honest reaction I'm feeling about going through this fun exercise, is that I'm embarrassed that I feel the things I do, because it makes me feel tremendously weak, and I don't wish anyone to know about that.
I was up most of the night last night establishing a framework for what will come. I was envious of those of you enjoying your midnight Harry Potter parties. That would have been much more fun. I practiced analyzing the emotions of a few with whom I was chatting, until one of you pointed out that it's a little uncomfortable for you when I do that. Then I apologized to the others (at least I hope I did). But I learned a lot about how you allow emotions to stay, how you feel them, and it was interesting that many of you don't think twice about the emotions and rarely, if ever, qualify those feelings in any way. So I beg your forgiveness, once again, but also thank you for sharing with me. It was helpful. It's from that information that I was able to understand the methods I use for shutting emotions down, and I think I can circumvent the process now.
Things I must do in order to allow the emotions to stay:
1. Acknowledge what I'm feeling--name the emotion.
2. Notice if there are other accompanying feelings.
3. Decide if the emotion is related to a present or past event.
4. Understand if the feeling is directed toward a person, and think about why I would feel that way about him/her.
5. Do not qualify the emotion in any way.
6. Allow any physical response that may accompany the emotion, to take place.
7. Write about the feelings. Create a tangible record.
8. Allow the feeling to be resolved. This may take several occurrences of the feeling before catharsis can happen.
9. Do not use the feelings to define anything about me. Remember that they are normal responses to events or people.
10. Pray for all the strength I can get because this is really gonna hurt.
At about 4:30 this morning I recognized that there are some things I wish for, in conjunction with this "feelings" thing, that won't happen. I wish there was a person who would be able to sit with me while I cry, who won't feel helpless or feel a need to make things better. One who will understand that it's okay for me to feel awful right now. I wish I could go through this without crying at all, because I hate that--but my counselor pointed out that I need to allow myself to cry and I suppose she's right. I wish I didn't feel alone.
So I'm rescinding my request. If I asked you not to talk to me about this, please pretend I didn't. I still may not be able to answer you. I may not be able to say anything at all. If I don't answer, I'm not avoiding or ignoring you. But please talk to me anyway, because I think I might need some help--even if it's just expressed interest from people I love. So I suppose I'm asking for anyone who loves me to just help me understand that what I'm doing is okay, and it won't make you think less of me if I ache and cry. I guess I'm saying that I need you and I don't want to be alone. And I'm really, really scared. And this sucks.