Dealing With My Own Suppressed Emotions
I used to run from my emotions. I was an addict. I loved every part about it – the rush, the high, the comedown. I couldn’t get enough.
It was difficult for me to imagine being happy without any sort of influence. Every high was an escape from reality. I would go deeper, deeper, deeper. And when the drugs stopped working, I would take more, more, more.
My reality began to mirror my inside. The drugs weren’t working like they once were. I was always on the backend of a long night and I was in constant search of relief. I wanted to get better, I would try every few weeks to put it all behind me.
I wound up in the same place every time. “This is the last time” I would tell myself, as I had countless times before. You know how that story ends.
Deep down inside, I was still fighting. I wanted to get better, I didn’t know-how. I only knew what I had known for the last six years. Being an addict.
Facing my reality was becoming an insurmountable task. Every morning I dreaded getting out of bed. I couldn’t hide behind my addiction any longer.
Releasing My Suppressed Emotions
One late night, I took too much. I got out of control. I called my mother and started shouting, screaming, how I couldn’t take the pain any longer. I was fighting alone, I had enough.
My dad woke up and we talked all night. I told him how I was miserable working this dead-end job with no end in sight. Having no friends and feeling utterly alone, all while my reality felt like it was collapsing around me 24/7.
I decided that was the end for me. I had to deal with my emotions now or they were going to eat me alive from the inside.
I’m over six years sober. By learning how to deal with my emotions, rather than suppressing them, I have been able to find happiness.
The path wasn’t straightforward and at times I felt that I was going backward. But here I am today, able to share this wonderful story, hoping that it can help as many people face their emotions as I did.
How To Release Suppressed Emotions
If you were anything like me, your habit of avoiding your emotions only bottles them up inside you. They don’t disappear unless they’re dealt with. The longer this process goes on, the more pressure starts building up inside of you.
It becomes increasingly difficult to be present with your emotions the longer the avoidance goes on. The resulting emotions end up manifesting in uncontrollable emotions and thought patterns that wreak havoc in your life.
The road to recovery isn’t linear. Every person will have to carve their path. You have to be willing to experiment and find what works for you.
I spent years after sobering up trying to find a baseline. Be patient with yourself. It IS possible to feel happy again even if you have forgotten what being happy means. You have to start by giving yourself a chance.
If you’re ready to begin, I’ve outlined below exactly how to release your suppressed emotions.
1) Be with your emotions
If you’ve never been able to sit with your emotions, you have to start somewhere.
That doesn’t mean take out your phone, start browsing social media and get to it another time. You have to be willing to take part in your life. Your emotions are a part of you. Ignoring emotions is ignoring your inner being.
“Negative” emotions are an invitation to look within. “Good” and “bad” exist on the same plane. They are the same emotions just on different ends of the spectrum. You can’t have one without the other, Yin and Yang.
You can start being with your emotions by finding a quiet place and observing how you feel.
If two seconds is too much for you, try one. Then another, and then try and see if you can bear to be with yourself for more than a minute. Slow, small steps are how you make real, tangible progress.
If you have to cry, cry. Let it all out, for once in your life. The pressure building up inside of you has to be released somehow – and this is your chance. Learn how to release your emotions by crying. It’s ok, you’ll live.
Angry, sad, joy, guilt, fear, be one with your emotion. You are not separate from your emotions. Learning how to slowly be able to bear your emotional state is how you begin to release the pent up pressure.
If at any point it feels unbearable, give it a break. You need to be gentle with yourself during this process.
2) Be present with your emotions
Let your emotions speak to you. Under all of the weight that you’re carrying, there is a specific moment that created this emotion. Your emotions are capable of helping you, but only if you are capable of listening.
I used to get bullied growing up. “I’m not good enough” would go through my mind on repeat. As I sat with my emotions more, I realized that a good chunk of my depression was coming from this repressed thought pattern.
By seeing this process happen in real-time, it began giving structure to the way I continue to deal with emotions. Emotions and thoughts are intertwined. They aren’t separate. Each thought pattern has an emotion behind it and vice versa.
I was able to sit with this thought and notice that it wasn’t me anymore. It was a thought that was happening, but this thought was from the past. It had just stuck around for so long that I was identified with this thought.
Becoming aware of my identification with this thought was the first step for me to start healing my inner being. Your inner being is giving you all the tools to start the healing process, you only need to give yourself a chance.
Now is the time to deal with the emotions you escaped from your whole life. Your doubts, your guilt, your jealousy, whatever it is that you threw into a corner in your mind. It’s never too late to find peace, happiness, and love.
Stick with it. The less attention these thoughts get from you, the less they stick around. The less painful emotions you have to deal with and the happier you start to feel.
3) Be Patient
Give yourself time. You will feel great one day and the next feel as if you’ve fallen behind. That’s ok – you’re going to keep moving forward. You will be dealing with your problems rather than running away.
I wanted to give up countless times. I would stay awake all night wondering why I couldn’t shake this feeling that had been haunting me for years.
The secret is that you can’t fix yourself overnight.
If you’ve been suppressing your emotions your entire life, you need to understand it isn’t going to be fixed in one week. Not even a month or a year. But you will make progress. Slow and steady, daily, progress, that will eventually amount to something real.
As I’m typing this today, I feel happy. I have no real reason to be happy. My life isn’t anything special nor do I have anything to show off. If the old me were in my position now, I wouldn’t know how to deal with this situation.
Years of emotional work has given me strength like no other. I know myself better today than I ever have and understand what makes me tick. I dive into my emotions, wondering what I’ll find next.
And you will, too. You are capable of being happy. You can find peace. This feeling is available to everyone, you only need to help yourself.
PS: I don’t want to give the illusion that I was the only person responsible for getting myself out of my hole. I was helped by family and friends along the way. The important part was that I asked for help. If you need help, please reach out to a loved one or counselor if you can. You will be surprised by how much people care when you are in need.