I Feel All Alone

Sometimes, we find ourselves in a place where we feel we cannot go on. The people in our lives do not seem to be enough or we aren’t enough? What are we to do in this #dark place ? Writing or expressing our emotions artistically can help both with getting them out and also with reaching a place of new understanding and awareness. Using poetry, art and music provides a healthy expression of the wide range of feelings (all of which are normal and useful). Artistic avenues also provide some relief and the opportunity to share our grief and struggles with others who may be suffering.

One teen did just that! She sent her poem in to share… with the hope it may help others not feel so alone

#Heavy

heavy eyes
heavy shoulders
heavy weights upon my shoulders
i realize this is not normal.
but what really is normal?
not me, i see, everything around me
smiling happy,
joyful, pleasant.
and happy.
this word.
what is it?
it’s blurred within the space it’s supposed to fit.
what am i doing?
i’m trying, i’m trying
but all i’m doing is colliding
with the thoughts inside my head
they crowd me,
they surround me and i can’t get away
they love me, they hug me and they kiss me & they tell me that everything will never be okay.

i’m running as fast as i can but the truth is i’m not getting anywhere
and i’m jam packed between the voices of society and screams inside my head.
they tear me apart
and i’m aware of every single look and every stare
it makes me crave to know if every little string of hair is in place.
and i know i’m out of place
i’m displaced
i’m misplaced
and i’ll be replaced
but i wont be retraced.

but i’ll put on that straight face
and walk through the crowd everyday.
listen to the voices of society saying everything will be okay.
this word
what is it
it’s blurred within the space it’s supposed to fit
what am i doing?
i’m trying i’m trying but all i’m doing is colliding
with the thoughts inside my head
they crowd me.
they surround me and i can’t get away.
they hug me they love me
they kiss me and they embrace me
and they tell me that everything will never be okay.

        -Teen Girl

Photo credit: jzlomek from morguefile.com

In a time where technology is the driving force of communication, we can be bombarded with too much information, much of which is quite negative.  Currently, Toronto is a media target, both nationally and internationally, due to Mayor Rob Ford’s numerous indiscretions. Negative media attention can easily fuel undue upset, anger, discouragement, and embarrassment.

Negativity is every where. People Finger-pointing and complaining inhibits growth opportunities, reduces possibilities and effectively stifles productive conversations and creative solutions.can feel blanketed by it like being shrouded by a thick fog when driving. This contributes to nervousness, confusion, frustration and anxiety. So how do we release such negative energy? Because “bad things” are happening all the time, and when we feel like we cannot take it anymore, what do we do about it? How can we move forward?

What follows are views, ideas and precepts that can help turn a negative experiences into a positive ones?

Gandhi once said, “When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall,” (from Joe Vitale’s Life’s Missing Instruction Manual).

An ancient biblical reference in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7  refers to love as follows: 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

During what sometimes feels like our darkest times, when we feel betrayed, hurt and defeated, what will bring us into the light is love. Love involves taking a higher road, putting aside our destructive attitudes, feelings and behaviours (e.g. like blaming and complaining), in favour of more positive and caring approaches.

Though this can feel like a major uphill climb, a loving view of others can lead to growth opportunities, increase possibilities and foster effective, productive conversations that generate creative solutions.

Love is a verb! It can be seen in a vast array of behaviours or actions. One such expression of love is forgiveness. Research supports this premise, suggesting that forgiving past wrongs can be helpful in the aid of anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and chronic pain—it can alter the state of our health (University of Wisconsin, Department of Family Medicine).

Some may think of forgiveness as a process to make the other person feel better; however those who forgive may reap as much of not more benefit than those forgiven. In the material on The Nature of Forgiveness” (University of Wisconsin Department of Family Medicine) we learn the following:

  • Forgiveness is a transformation. The key is to release suffering and increase inner peace and understanding.

  • Forgiveness is NOT forgetting. In fact, you have to remember and acknowledge negative emotions and events before forgiveness can occur.

  • Forgiveness is NOT pardoning, excusing, or saying that something will be treated as acceptable behaviour in the future.
  • Forgiveness is, first and foremost, done for the person doing the forgiving.
  • Forgiveness is a path to freedom. It frees you from the control of the person who caused the harm. They lose their power to cause you to feel negative emotions.
  • Forgiveness can break old patterns that might otherwise interfere when you try to create new relationships.
  • Forgiveness can take a lot of time and hard work.
  • Forgiveness need not require ‘making up’ with the person who caused the harm. It is an internal process. It is primarily for you. The goal is to help you heal, to help you grow.

Thinking about forgiveness may not be enough. For many, tapping into principles described in various spiritual traditions from around the world is necessary. Prayer, meditation, intrapersonal and interpersonal dialogues, mindfulness, and developing emotional intelligence may be essential parts of the forgiveness process for many people.

It is essential to our physical, spiritual and mental health to seek ways to surround ourselves with positive examples of life, qualities and relationships.  Learning ways to increase our ability to love and forgive helps us let go and move toward a happier and more satisfying life.

People express emotions and concerns so many different ways. Some lean toward expressing themselves verbally and others more nonverbally. Most draw upon one style or the other to a greater or lesser extent. Some vent softly and quietly while others shout out and bellow. Still others may choose to use art and music to express thoughts and feelings.

The picture above is one sixteen year old’s self portrait of her pain and sorrow, sketched out onto a plain piece of paper during a meeting. Sadness, depression, pain, sorrow and grief are a few emotions that we might think are bad or negative, however, all emotions are valuable. How we express these feelings, and indeed all emotions, can be either positive or negative; helpful or hurtful.

We may witness how other people express themselves and, at times, compare or even judge.  Are they “over dramatizing”, “coping well”, “too emotional” or “holding in too much”?  How should somebody react to abuse? What is the proper way to show emotions after the death of a loved one, the loss of a precious pet or after hearing the news your spouse or romantic partner is leaving you?

Could it be we are simply so uncomfortable with the expression of certain emotions, like sadness, depression, pain, sorrow and grief, we are also unsure how to react when others express these feelings? Emotions are valuable tools that signal us when something is wrong, alert us to the safety levels in various situations. They remind us of the quality and qualities in our relationships, point to areas for personal improvement and even refine and accentuate our communication.

There is a time and place for every emotion. Discovering how to express ourselves more fully and effectively is an art. Validating the expressions of others and providing an empathetic response is also an art requiring study (e.g. mentoring, coaching, observation and reading) and practice.  With time and effort we can develop and improve the art of expressing ourselves fully.

I’m quite tired now and becoming more uncertain about this post. Guess I’d better get some rest.

Entry #1)   Expressing anger and frustration well is an art developed over time and with good coaching or learning opportunities. In this series of three posts, one family reveals their challenges with going “from zero to 100” on the anger scale. While they are recognizing outbursts as part of a long-standing pattern, that can be thought of as an addiction, change requires a skill that has been minimized over time…patience.

Read today’s entry from the teen daughter…

“Having parents that are rage-aholics can feel like the worst thing in the world.  When they fight I feel like I have to walk on eggshells so I don’t become the next victim of their anger.  It also ticks me off when they fight over really stupid things. They just get into stupid arguments that can be avoided and that drives me insane.  I know that sometimes I’m the one they get into fights about when I do something dumb and I feel really guilty afterwards.  Really, everything about having even one rage-aholic in the family sucks.
                                                                                                                                                                                                           Daughter/ Stepdaughter

Recognizing and owning our part in the problem is essential to finding solutions together.

Check out tomorrow’s post to hear dad’s view!