On staying present.

I’m sure I’m not alone in not wanting to feel “bad” emotions, such as fear, anger, sadness, etc.  Years ago I developed my personal method of achieving Detachment Level: Expert.  The problem is that it has practically become an instinct to detach from my physical self when I am emotionally disturbed, which although no longer serves me well, is a tough habit to shake.

I bring this up because the last two weeks have been such an emotional rollercoaster that even though the most recent doctor that I saw had relatively good news, I am still in shock from the original bad news.  I feel like I am underwater, trying to break the surface to catch a breath and look for the shore.  I know it’s there, as much as I know I’m going to get through this, but I just can’t see it yet.  I am in a bubble of un-reality.  Nothing in the “Real World” makes any sense to me right now.

I have told myself that I need to stay positive and have faith, I have been told (kindly) by others that I am strong and have a great attitude; and I received good news. Now I expect myself to feel the same way I felt just two weeks ago, before being told that I have a brain tumor. Then I engage in “Real World” activities to get back into the stream of life, such as going to share a meal with a friend, or going to work.  And none of it makes any sense. Sort of like Charlie Brown’s teacher, bwah bwah bwah bwah bwah bwah.

I tell myself that I’m fine, convince my conscious mind that I believe it, then my subconscious mind lets my body know that it’s bullshit.  Because although I can and do emotionally detach from my body when the feelings of fear and anger boil up, my body tunes right into the truth of what I am actually feeling and lets me know through getting nauseas, crying for “no apparent reason”, and having full on anxiety attacks.

Clearly, denial is not working for me.  While I don’t want to dwell in fear and anger, denial of those feelings actually keeps them stuck in me longer, and the fall-out is downright unpleasant!

My challenge to myself:  Become aware without judgement of what I am really feeling as the emotion comes up.  Allow the emotions instead of telling myself that I shouldn’t be feeling this way, or trying to push them down.  Breathe deeply into my body, following my breath consciously, allowing my breath to keep my mind rooted to my body, and my mind in the present moment.  Accept the feelings without attaching to them. Let go of the story around the emotions.  Allow myself the experience letting go of the emotions without detaching from myself or denying what I am feeling.  Phew, that’s gonna take some practice!

As always, thank you for reading, and more will be revealed.

Dawn (and Bob)

3 thoughts on “On staying present.”

  1. Thank you for so eloquently stating just exactly how detachment (aka dissociation) feels and how very hard a habit it is to break. You are not alone in that. And re: zapping back to a-ok with the “good” news about Bob, sounds like you are facing the reality that he is still there and is an unwelcome visitor. When people say I’m a pessimist, I say I’m a realist; rainbows and unicorns are just not reality. I love you. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I just heard & read and so many things are going through my mind right now…. this takes me back to my mom’s diagnosis of brain cancer a week before Christmas 3 years ago now. For 2 days as I made my arrangements to go up there I kept thinking successive and leap frogging degrees of near reality – surely its nothing and they were wrong, surely they aren’t going to just operate at the snap of a finger right before Christmas, surely there are more scans to do and more information to be had, surely I’m not the only one who needs a damn minute with this!!! Reality: I didn’t even have time to get on a plane or train or drive by car when they wheeled her into surgery and they had the results by the time I got there. Surreal is sitting in a Walgreens 7 days later waiting for them to fill 7 prescriptions and doing a mental spread sheet of all the times to take them & how often while the store is buzzing with jovial and self-amused last minute shoppers on Christmas Eve. I just sat there for 20 minutes utterly numb and I kept thinking I should go ahead and feel something now while I have this moment alone away from all the people I have to be positive around but it just wasn’t coming – not one drop of emotion – all I could do was sigh a lot because I had been subconsciously holding my breath so much anxious about the next moment.

    Its been 3 years now and she actually is doing fine, believe it or not – there are good days and bad days because she is still irked about how this has changed her life but that’s my Mom, she is just not happy if she has nothing to complain about (lol). It seems like a roller coaster of emotional outbursts and periods of numb but I think that’s the shock talking in muffled cries and complaints about what was supposed not to have been. I still experience moments of retroactive, or recollective shock. Learning to forgo the shock is not a skill I’ve mastered but I’ve gotten better.

    If you ever need me, if there is anything I can do please know I am here. My thoughts of you are floating in the air around you any given moment so I’m never too far away.

    Liked by 1 person

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