I’ve just finished jury duty. It was particularly gut-wrenchingly hard for me. Which is why, on the day after it all wrapped up, I found myself in a coffee shop surrounded by a huge mug of coffee, a chocolate milkshake with ice-cream, musk sticks, chocolate wafer biscuits and my misery. They say misery loves company, so together with my coffee and sugar hit I invited a few friends.
I’ve learned some things about my emotional behaviour. I have witnessed myself emotionally eat, drink, binge on Netflix, shop, isolate myself or hide and excuse any kind of excessive treat as a reward. This is where addiction can chime in. When we feel low, sad, disconnected we try anything to push these feelings down and to fill ourselves up with quick pleasure.
Emotions are complex, tricky little fuckers. Sometimes we choose to behave in a childish way or indulge in excessive or compulsive behaviour. Sometimes we allow these emotions to lead us into regressive, addictive behaviour which we feel like we can’t control. Try as we might to swallow these emotions, they are evil and unquenchable and eager to return!
As much as I wanted to crash head first into a bath of double chocolate mud cake after a six day murder trial, complete with 29 post-mortem images, none of which I can get out of my head; I now know the combination of things which can soothe my soul and re calibrate my equilibrium. It has taken me many years to discover the antidote and it seems counter intuitive. But misery does need company.
People need people. Isolation and not having a support system can be crushing after an emotional event. Some people need to be heard, some need to be seen, others need to feel worthwhile, valued, and relevant. I need people, I need to talk about the issue, I need to be heard, I need to rant and bang on about the injustice of the world. I need to whine in a shaky voice about the fact that they didn’t tell me they were about to put graphic photos of a deceased person on the seven large TV screens. I want to discuss humanity, hatred, bullying, egos, the lack of compassion in the world.
After a few of my friends asked how it all went and I said “Awful, I don’t want to talk about it.” They let me talk, they told me to phone if I wanted to talk more and they invited me out for more coffee. I am grateful to have a strong support system. As the trial went on for 6 or so days and I couldn’t talk about it, I cried quietly on the train, then in a noisy squeaky way at home. I continued to see the disturbing images and dream of them for over a week. Thankfully, my family doled out hugs and my husband served up food and did the school run. I was a bit of a wreck. I felt traumatised.
Fortunately for me, over my life I have met a diverse collection of healers. I now have my very own army of freaks and weirdos who kindly offer to swap treatments. A personal trainer I met last month, spotted me in the cafe with my triple alliance of sugar, caffeine and friends and gently told me when I needed to move just send her a text. I don’t feel like moving just yet. I booked in friends for a reiki session at home and had some energy healing this morning. I feel better, clearer, more myself. Less angry at the world and less attached to someone else’s story.
I know as humans, we try to fill ourselves up when we feel empty. We turn to sugar, fat, sweet, salty foods for comfort. We try to fill and protect the space around the heart, or we use alcohol and drugs to shut down the feelings, to numb the pain and make ourselves feel full. We isolate, we disconnect and we pull away when all we need to do to heal is to engage with others and connect.
I know emptiness, unless addressed, returns, again and again. The hardest part, and what I have learned in the last few weeks is, with clients, friends and myself, is we have to be a little brave to show our vulnerable side and reach out for support. Thank you to the people in my life who have been okay with my snot and tears, I’m okay with yours as well. Thank you to the people this week who have hugged me, helped me, healed me and heard me. There are a bunch! Find the people in your life who are okay with your tears as well as your laughter. Hang out with the ones who are okay with you being human. They are the only ones you need.
If you need help with emotions, addiction, eating, stress, decision making, life, trauma or want to have a chat, I am available. I can be found in cafes around the Redlands as well as Step into Health, Mansfield and Wello Well at Wellington Point.
I am a holistic counsellor, massage therapist and reiki practitioner. Treatments are individually tailored to your needs. www.rachelwilkinson.com.au for appointments please email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0402 329 259.