So we talked today in therapy about the loss of connection I’ve been experiencing with my emotions. If you remember in my last post Icky Sticky Feelings, I was talking about how to sit with your feelings. reading back I guess I never really completed my thoughts on that. I AM indeed trying to sit with those feelings and it’s true that I want to lessen the burden of my insiders, but it seems in this endeavor I’ve managed to shut down my emotions completely instead. I am in a state of non-feeling. That is aside from the anxiety I’ve been feeling about a volunteering opportunity that’s come up.
This means that yes, there are words of the day. Compartmentalization and containment. We followed the trail of breadcrumbs, my therapist and I . It turns out the non-feeling is my way of working the skills I’ve been trying to learn. Emotion regulation, check… no emotion at all. Distress tolerance, check… no emotion at all.
I’m not doing this consciously mind you. It also has to do with the phase of treatment I’m in. We aren’t dealing with yucky trauma stuff right now. Not until we can be reasonably sure I have a grasp of grounding skills. Things like staying in the moment, being present within myself and also being able to tolerate intense emotion.
This is where the containment conundrum comes in to play. If I practice feeling a little more intensity than what I can currently tolerate I slip away and an insider takes over for me. which ok, hey I’m used to that. But with most of my insiders comes trauma content and very intense emotions. Flooding, a bunch of past events rushing to the surface, they start to spill over into everything. It’s not a pretty sight or a comfortable place to be. So in essence I’ve compartmentalized each emotion into a different insider. Shitty job they have right?
In the back of my mind I carry around this containment field that automatically switches into action any time I reach my tolerance level. So how does one practice feeling a little more, a little more, a little more when the switch is not under your control? Any ideas on that would be great.
The whole thing becomes an inescapable loop. Feel–>Switch–>Trauma–>Shut Down. Maybe it’s not so much a loop as it is a squiggly line. Unless, of course, the containment field is somehow breached so that the feeling comes roaring back, then it does become a loop. Ugh!
Coincidentally on a final note for the night, we went through a list of feelings I can tolerate and how much of each. Anxiety is something I tolerate quite well. Which yuck! Why would I choose that one to be MY job?