When to feel vs when to learn?

Geopolis

Confident
Being new to trauma recovery and this forum I'm a bit confused as to where I should start.

12 step recovery points me to moral inventories and defects of characters. (This worked very well... until it didn't anymore)

Sex therapy points me to triangular familial relationship patterns that I recreate to this day.

Transcendental meditation says to go naturally inward to be one with my source and clear my nervous system.

Inner child work guides me to communicate with, build trust and love the 3 children I've identified (thus far)

I think you get the point. With all of these roads to travel I'm left asking myself a simple question:

WHEN DO I JUST FEEL AND WHEN DO I LEARN MORE?

I feel as though I'm soaking up so much new information that I'm not feeling my current state fully. Is this just another avoidance tactic? I mean how do I even feel the shame and grief inside properly?

The past few weeks have been filled with explosive crying, anger, sadness so deep it feels impossible to climb out of and an uptick of self sabotage. I have years of relatable recovery to tap into but nothing seems to help right now.

It would really help to hear your experience of when/how you allow yourself to JUST FEEL.
 
I don't think "just feeling" is ever a bad idea.

It sounds like you've been chasing something for a long time and never really found it. Possibly that something is yourself. It could be time to just sit with yourself and be, instead of chasing something.

Because you are enough.
 

ladee

MyPTSD Pro
All the things you mentioned are tools and ways to manage our symptoms. But it also sounds like you are experiencing a lot of grief. And since we used chemicals to not feel or change the way we felt, to be feeling this depth of pain is healing, but at the same time can be very overwhelming.

We ask this of newcomers, if you have a therapist that you see on a regular basis?? And preferably a trauma therapist if one is available. It's important that while feeling that grief, we have someone up close and personal to help guide us thru those feelings.

We can and do support you here, but it's also important to have someone that really knows what you are feeling to be present for you.
 

Sideways

Moderator
The past few weeks have been filled with explosive crying, anger, sadness so deep it feels impossible to climb out of and an uptick of self sabotage.
Going from numb or dissociated, to a state where we can experience emotions is a big deal.

Obviously, it comes with some really uncomfortable experiences, like you've described. And they can make us want to crawl right back into that numbness or dissociated state just to function again.

Here's the thing though. If you've gotten to a point where you're well enough to start feeling your emotions fully (and that's not to say you're recovered, so much as 'complete emotional shutdown' was a coping strategy that your brain doesn't seem to currently need to survive), it makes sense that's pretty overwhelming. And that stepping up self care and stress relief options might be in order.

Remember though that now you can feel emotions, or in windows of time where you can feel emotions, you can feel all emotions. And some of them are brilliant. Like excitement? Joy? Dancing and laughing like crazy because you just feel good? They're all options on the table as well now that your emotions are back on line.

There's no emotional state that stays forever. Eternal happiness, eternal sadness - they aren't actually a thing. They all happen in waves. So when you're experiencing a wave of emotion that is unpleasant or distressing? It will pass. And when it does? You have an opportunity now, to hunt down things that might feel awesome. And actually experience those positive emotions on a deeper, more rewarding level, than was possible while your brain was using numbness or dissociation to get through the day.

Is it shit? Crying and being an emotional wreck? Totally. But it will pass. And there is opportunity to hunt down genuine experiences of joy now that emotions are back in play for you.

You've obviously done some seriously hard work to get to this point. Try not to be too shattered that the reward seems to be "great, now that I feel, I feel like shit". Because now that you feel, you also have the opportunity to feel fantastic sometimes as well.

So high fives for what you've achieved, but be gentle with yourself while these emotions pass over.
 

Freddyt

MyPTSD Pro
Anywhere any time. The big thing is WHY I feel like that.

But first I needed to find, learn about, and start dealing with my trauma in therapy. Up to then it was a little grasping at straws.
When my therapy changed how I felt about those memories it finally let me remember them? That was when things were seriously screwed up. No control, Full on sh*t show.

Is that maybe where you are at?

If you are, things are really screwed up for a bit and then they get better. Hang on. Learn some good grounding. Fixing Core Beliefs can help too.

Core Beliefs & Counters
 

Geopolis

Confident
All the things you mentioned are tools and ways to manage our symptoms. But it also sounds like you are experiencing a lot of grief. And since we used chemicals to not feel or change the way we felt, to be feeling this depth of pain is healing, but at the same time can be very overwhelming.

We ask this of newcomers, if you have a therapist that you see on a regular basis?? And preferably a trauma therapist if one is available. It's important that while feeling that grief, we have someone up close and personal to help guide us thru those feelings.

We can and do support you here, but it's also important to have someone that really knows what you are feeling to be present for you.
Thank you @ladee for your support. The therapist I have now i trust implicitly and I understand how lucky I am to have that. He called me out last session for chasing solutions instead of being with the feelings which is what spurred this post. I see him once a week and my wife is ultra supportive but your experience and the community here is what I sorely need. Not acting out or using during this period of grief is breathtakingly difficult.

Going from numb or dissociated, to a state where we can experience emotions is a big deal.

Obviously, it comes with some really uncomfortable experiences, like you've described. And they can make us want to crawl right back into that numbness or dissociated state just to function again.

Here's the thing though. If you've gotten to a point where you're well enough to start feeling your emotions fully (and that's not to say you're recovered, so much as 'complete emotional shutdown' was a coping strategy that your brain doesn't seem to currently need to survive), it makes sense that's pretty overwhelming. And that stepping up self care and stress relief options might be in order.

Remember though that now you can feel emotions, or in windows of time where you can feel emotions, you can feel all emotions. And some of them are brilliant. Like excitement? Joy? Dancing and laughing like crazy because you just feel good? They're all options on the table as well now that your emotions are back on line.

There's no emotional state that stays forever. Eternal happiness, eternal sadness - they aren't actually a thing. They all happen in waves. So when you're experiencing a wave of emotion that is unpleasant or distressing? It will pass. And when it does? You have an opportunity now, to hunt down things that might feel awesome. And actually experience those positive emotions on a deeper, more rewarding level, than was possible while your brain was using numbness or dissociation to get through the day.

Is it shit? Crying and being an emotional wreck? Totally. But it will pass. And there is opportunity to hunt down genuine experiences of joy now that emotions are back in play for you.

You've obviously done some seriously hard work to get to this point. Try not to be too shattered that the reward seems to be "great, now that I feel, I feel like shit". Because now that you feel, you also have the opportunity to feel fantastic sometimes as well.

So high fives for what you've achieved, but be gentle with yourself while these emotions pass over.
@Sideways I can't thank you enough for your response. Its exactly what I needed to hear. Surprisingly I've already felt the opposite side a few times. The other day I was watching a show and almost cried with joy watching three men bond on a show even though I've never experienced that bond before! I've also been singing to my children alot more too. I actually told my wife today that had I known this grief was coming when I took that first leap of faith i don't know if I would have followed through. In this moment though I'm very glad I did.

Anywhere any time. The big thing is WHY I feel like that.

But first I needed to find, learn about, and start dealing with my trauma in therapy. Up to then it was a little grasping at straws.
When my therapy changed how I felt about those memories it finally let me remember them? That was when things were seriously screwed up. No control, Full on sh*t show.

Is that maybe where you are at?

If you are, things are really screwed up for a bit and then they get better. Hang on. Learn some good grounding. Fixing Core Beliefs can help too.

Core Beliefs & Counters
That's exactly where im at @Freddyt . It started when, through guided meditation, i met 7 year old me. I could smell my bedroom. When I came out I was sobbing hysterically and for that little boy and its been insane ever since. Thank you for the core belief suggestion and the shot of hope!
 

ladee

MyPTSD Pro
It IS very hard to allow those feelings to just 'happen'. And for us to sit with them until the wave calms down. Especially when we know, as temporary as it would be, there are things we could do for it to not hurt so bad. But we don't. We don't use. We don't drink. And we ride it out. As others shared, it passes.

I don't know about you, but I did get sick of hearing ' this too shall pass' in meetings. But grateful you have a T that you trust and can take some of that pain to and that helps you to the other side.

In some ways we have and advantage of having a 12 step foundation. We already know how to do some things and with the extra guidance of a T and a huge support system like this forum, we are going to make it.

At least here we don't have to worry so much about ' defects of character' because we come to understand that a lot of it was not our fault. Yes, we do have to take responsibility for healing and change and growth. But here, we get to be angry and unreasonable and people understand and don't judge us.

Really glad you are here. We look for and find hope at exactly the moment we need it.
 

Freddyt

MyPTSD Pro
That's exactly where im at @Freddyt . It started when, through guided meditation, i met 7 year old me. I could smell my bedroom. When I came out I was sobbing hysterically and for that little boy and its been insane ever since. Thank you for the core belief suggestion and the shot of hope!
Guess what? You are pretty normal..... and you are at the tough part. If you click on Articles on th top bar there is a ton of really helpful stuff there. Understanding the stress cup would be useful for you now. Learning to manage that one thing helped me a lot. Along with some good grounding it should help you move forward.

Are you doing any therapy with a psychologist or psychiatrist? There are some pretty good options for therapy.
 
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