Self-Care Sunday #2: Learning to Let Go of Emotional Pain

Good morning, friends!! I hope you are doing fantastic, and if not, that’s okay too. Just take it one day at a time and take comfort in knowing that you’re not alone and it won’t always be like this. ♥

I would like to take a moment and say thank you so much for all of your feedback, comments, and likes on the first Self-Care Sunday post. I was definitely anxious about opening up the way that I did, but your support and enthusiasm for the weekly series just totally blew me away. I was moved to tears. I am so grateful and appreciative of each of you, and I feel so lucky to share a community space with you. So, thank you!

This week I wanted to talk with you about learning to let things ago, which is one of the hardest lessons that I have had to learn on my mental health journey; a challenge that sprouted up again fairly recently.

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** Disclaimer: I am not a psychologist or psychiatrist. I am simply one person who is reaching out and sharing their experiences and techniques that has helped them be able to move forward in life. Do not take anything that I say as medical advice as I am not a medical professional, and information provided here on BiblioNyan should not be construed as such. Thank you. **

I am a very emotional person by nature and I get sentimental over all sorts of stuff. I have memory and feeling associations to many, many things that I own and that’s what makes them special to me. Now, when I say I’m emotional, I don’t mean that I tend to cry all the time, although I do cry more than I did before I hit the oldy goldy age of 30 (I’m saying I feel old, not that everyone who’s 30 is old, believe me, and that’s so amazing). But when I say I get emotional, I am able to be moved by things that I interact with, whether it’s an intense conversation, anime/media that I am watching, books I’m reading, or even the video games that I play! (Thanks To The Moon for all those hours of sobbing). Because I am so emotional, I’m a highly empathetic person. I feel for someone when they are happy, sad, or in-between somewhere on a deeply personal level. This also means that when someone hurts my feelings, specifically someone with whom I’m close with or consider to be my family, I have a difficult time just letting go of that pain.

Pain (emotional), from my own experience, is only ever good for two things. First, it shows that I care, quite possibly a hell of a lot more than I ever realised. When I was being abused in my marriage, I felt so much pain all of the time. This showed me that on some level I cared about what was happening to me; that it did matter and wasn’t just something I felt I deserved. I cared and that meant that I wanted it to stop. The second thing that pain is good for is to help me grow as an individual. Pain, no matter how fucked-up or how miniscule, usually comes with some kind of wisdom that I’m supposed to attain. The issue with pain is that once I have learned whatever I needed to or have grown in what-which-way necessary, it’s important to let it go.

I have struggled with letting go of my pain for years. For me I always believed that if I let my pain go than it would devalue or invalidate all of the hurtful things that I had to endure. Yet… that’s a lie. I think it’s a lie that a lot of us tell ourselves because we are too afraid to see what will be left of us when that pain is no longer there as a sort of malevolent and toxic bedfellow. As much as pain fucking sucks, it’s familiar. We know what to expect of it because we have lived with it for so long. We know how to prepare for it, to tackle it on some days, if not most, and much more. But it’s also the thing that will poison you from the inside out and leave you in a constant state of fear, conscious or not.

 

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I have been dealing with a lot of really difficult family problems lately. In the wake of my divorce, my mom has tried to build a relationship with me again. She’s a very kind and caring individual, but she’s also very much an Indian mother, which means she’s not above passive aggressiveness and some sort of belittling wrapped in a façade of “I just say these things because I care” type of attitude. There’s always a snide comment of how “I’m not the person she hoped I’d be,” or “I told you so,” or “Well, I know you love *insert racist descriptive* people so much, but I never understood why,” etc. This shit eats away at with me with frustration and rage SO MUCH. It drains me mentally and emotionally.

While all of this has been going on with my mom, I have also been helping a very good friend of mine in trying to recognise how unhealthy and abusive her current romantic relationship is. Her significant other is just as abusive, if not more so, on a psychological level that’s akin to my ex-husband, and she is exhibiting a lot of the same denials and depressive symptoms that I did during that era to help justify the sacrifices I made for the relationship. She’s a wonderful person who is so giving and full of life. I don’t want to see her get stomped away into dust because of this abuse. However, helping her has brought up tons of trauma and triggers from my own abusive past.

These two situations that are completely disconnected ended up brewing into one explosive breakdown for me. I sat down in the middle of room and just cried. I buried my face into the crook of my bent knees and sobbed because I felt so utterly alone and helpless. I have been dealing with my mom’s unhealthy behaviours, which are further aggravated by her bipolar disorder, for 30 years, and because of that I have never really been able to let go of the tension and anxiety and constant feelings of failure that she has sewed into my very bones. I was married for 10 years and 8 of those years were buried beneath miles and miles of abuse. The trauma from that relationship has made it difficult for me trust anyone, or to even leave my house. These two events are steeped in pain and agony that I carry around with me constantly.

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After my breakdown, Sir Betrothed and I went on a ride together one evening—just a small drive to get a hot cocoa and relax—and we ended up having a conversation about living for the moment. This gave him a grand idea to take me on a surprise adventure the next day! He came up with this plan around 10 o’clock at night. We left the next day around 9 o’clock in the morning. He planned out everything and all I was allowed to do was to drive.

Eventually, after a couple of small pit-stops and one curvaceous as fuck road that was straight out of motherfucking Initial D, holy cow, we came to a cliffside that overlooked the ocean. It took my breath away. As I stood there just staring at this expanse of grey-blue water with the wind whipping my hair into my face, I didn’t feel anything aside from awe. The pain was gone The rage was gone. The frustration and even my depression, all in the moment, were gone. It was just me, the smell of the sea, and this stunning scenery of a foggy horizon and endless potential.

We got back into the car and about fifteen minutes later, Sir Betrothed led me to the beach. The wind was even worse down here and sand was blowing into our faces, both exfoliating and grating away all of the skin on my body. It was absolutely hilarious. We then very hysterically took off our shoes and rolled up our pant-legs and walked into the surf. I could feel the chill in the wind, so I immediately knew that this was going to be cold as fuck. When the water hit my feet, drowning my toes up to my ankles, a shriek escaped my lips and my spine tingled with ice. I tried to escape immediately, but Sir Betrothed was not having any of it.

Holding my hand tightly in theirs, we looked out at the horizon. Then I was told to close my eyes and take a deep breath. The water surged up around our legs again and I was shivering so terribly. But, I didn’t let go or try to run this time. As I basked in the moment, here’s what Sir Betrothed said to me:

“I want you to think about everything that you have been carrying around for the past few months, actually, strike that. I want you to think about all of the pain and frustration that has been eating away at you for such a long time. Think about that feeling of helplessness, how much it bothers you when your mom makes you feel small, all of the shit that your ex did—all of that and all of this negativity that has been killing you. When the water hits our legs again, I want you to take that bundle of toxic shit and I want you to let it wash away with the surf. Don’t worry about how silly it sounds, or much you need to keep holding on it. Today is about letting it all go so you can move forward to live in the moment. Here comes the water, when it hits, let it all go for good.

It felt silly, like Sir Betrothed said. It felt awkward. But above all else, it scared the hell out of me. But I did. I felt that arctic rush of ocean water, enveloping my legs up to my shins this time, and with one long exhalation as the surf receded, I let it all go.

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I know that this was all a super long and slightly convoluted way to make my point today, but, well… That is the point of Self-Care Sundays, isn’t it? For me to share these experiences and show you how I deal? This was something I had never done before as a way of coping with emotional baggage, but holy shit, let me tell you that it worked.

I’m not saying you have to go to the ocean to do this, unless you are an ocean person and live relatively close to one. Then I recommend this exercise so much because it was, by far, one of the most cathartic things I have ever done in my life. But what I am saying is that sometimes when we can’t talk ourselves into letting our pain go, merely by thinking it or saying it aloud—“I’m no longer going to let myself be hurt;” “I’m not going to let this bother me”—there is nothing wrong with taking a more tangible and physical approach to it.

When I finally moved out of my ex’s house and into my new one, the first thing I did was burn all of our pictures together. Our wedding pictures, photographs of time we shared—all of it including the negatives. I knew that having that around in my new space would hinder my ability to get the treatment I needed and to recover in the best ways possible. I would always have something to refer back to when malicious thoughts of him would begin to plague me. That was not an option I wanted to give myself. So, I physically and tangibly burned my old life to begin fresh and anew; to let all that shit go for good.

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Memories still haunt me once in a while, and that’s a natural part of life, but they no longer control me. Since our day trip to the ocean, I feel immensely lighter and more carefree. I have had more confrontational-type interactions with my mother, especially two days ago when I learned that she had betrayed my trust in one of the worst ways possible. Initially, I was pissed. Yesterday morning I was depressed. So, I went on a small drive and thought about the ocean and how goddamn cold that water was… and I let it go. Holding on to it would only make my day worse and hinder my ability to enjoy my weekend. Having the memory of the sensations from the ocean around my ankles and my toes buried in sand is something that I can now always refer to when I feel that my emotions, particularly the negative ones, are overwhelming me.

I know it may sound silly, but if you are struggling in the same way that I am, I recommend you try to let, physically and tangibly, whatever is eating at you go. While it may it not solve any of the problems you have, if there are things that need to be worked through or solved, but it will help clear your mind and your heart and make you more capable of dealing with whatever is going on. It’s also brilliantly liberating.

You can write down what you feel on strips of paper and burn it in the fireplace. You can go stand in freezing-ass ocean/lake/river water. You can create a target and pin it to the wall. Throw darts, or bean bags or etc. at it and for every target you hit, you have to say goodbye to that specific thing that’s holding you back. You can write it out on orange peels and toss it into a blender (my cousin did this; it was so fucking funny, but also rather imaginative). There are many ways to do this. Just be safe and keep a fire extinguisher or phone nearby, just in case.

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Give it a shot. What’s the worst that can happen? Worse-case scenario: the pain’s still there. But so are you, and that means you can keep trying. Life is about always trying and inching forward at whatever pace is comfortable for you. That includes dealing with our baggage.


That does it for today’s Self-Care Sunday post. I know that it’s a lot easier to sit here and say, “Let that shit go, bruh,” than it is to actually make yourself do it. Having something close by, especially if it can help us attain some level of comfort or understanding for whatever negative feelings that we have, is SO much better than putting that familiarity into the meat grinder and exchanging it for something that is entirely new and strange to us. It leaves us vulnerable because we won’t be prepared for whatever comes next. We may open ourselves up to a different kind of pain. Or we may be opening ourselves up to a whole new sensation of joy and comfort. But the thing is, my friend, you already are prepared for it! Because no matter how difficult or fucked-up that experience was, the one that gave you the pain you live with, you are still here, and you are still moving forward, even if it doesn’t feel like it. Trust me, that is a sign success and a sign of growth and fortitude that you probably didn’t realise that you have.

With that, I shall bring this long-windy post to a close. The inspiration of which came from the long-ass windy car ride to the mountain cliff. *sobs* I wish you all joy, health, and the comfort of being content always. Your worst days do not define who you are, or what you are capable of obtaining, and don’t ever let them make you believe otherwise.

Thank you for visiting me today. I appreciate you so much. Until next time, happy reading and happy otakuing. 💞

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19 thoughts on “Self-Care Sunday #2: Learning to Let Go of Emotional Pain

  1. Pingback: My Reasons Why – A Nerdy Perspective

  2. Yay beach day success there is something magical about look out at an endless void of blue that makes you realize how small we are and how vast the universe can be. In those moments we are able to strip away all that holds us down so we can float into that endless blueness.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You are so eloquent about such important topics, Neha! I’ve written up all my bothers and then ripped them up before, and that was really cathartic. I must do that again sometime soon. Also, Sir Betrothed sounds amazing, as per usual ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Wendy! I appreciate you. This took me a long time to write because I kept erasing and re-writing stuff, lol. I was worried it would come out a jumbled mess. I’m glad it didn’t. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, and that is definitely true! 😀 That’s precisely the point of this serial, to help someone out there who may be going through the same things, or similar things. Even if it helps one individual, it’s worth it. I went through most of this sort of stuff alone, and it definitely makes it easier and feel more attainable when you know you’re not alone and that there’s support for you out there.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I hope so too, but I think she’s very conflicted. Her kindness is also making her unwilling to give up one someone who’s clearly struggling, but taking it on others instead of focusing it inwards. All I can do at this point is be there for her when she needs me and if/when her relationship finally ends.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Those are beautiful photos!! Sir Betrothed said some very insightful words. Thank you for being so open with us and I’m so glad your trip to the ocean made you feel more carefree. It’s so therapeutic. There’s something about the calming waters that makes it so significant. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A very important read. Sometimes when we grow up we are told to just ignore how we feel and “get over it” then we don’t learn the self care aspect for our mental health. Now as adults we have to try and find ways to deal with situations that we never had a healthy way to deal with. These posts are great! Thank you again.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yup, that was a big problem for me as a kid. Growing up in my family, it was always best to hide your feelings and never, ever cry. If you had to cry, do it when you’re alone. Mental health was always a terrible stigma, still is, that no one is allowed to knowledge as something that is real and that exists.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. wow. I just… I’m new here and I came across your blog at what I think is ‘the right time’ and what you’re going through is really inspiring – and how you’re putting yourself out here is even more worthy of all the bestest things life can give you. You make it seem so easy, everything – the pain, the heartache, the depression and anxiety and I personally think that it is a sign of you dealing with it in a way that works for you, which can be seen from your writing.
    Don’t mind my rant, but keep going! I look forward to reading more from your Self-care Sunday ❤

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  7. The road to Muir Beach (I think that’s the place you said you visited when we were skyping) if amazing. I would love to visit again with my beloved red car that I would still have if you didn’t CHOOSE THE DEER!! Just kidding, sorta.

    I’ve been watching you struggle with letting go of emotional pain for a long time. It’s been a battle, but I’m glad that you’re learning to say “I’m done” and, as you mentioned, let it wash away with the water. Emotional shit is very difficult to say good-bye to. As you mentioned (again) it makes us feel validated in our pain. I remember when I broke up with my own betrothed, as you say, and you probably remember the hell I went through. But once I adopted my kids and let it go, I felt freer than I ever had.

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    • I SAVED THE DEER’S LIFE I HAVE NO REGRETS!! Wasn’t that the same night I had internal bleeding? Ah, great times. Lolol.

      I remember when you guys broke up. You were a hot fucking mess for like ten thousand years. But, yeah, you changed and you’ve become one of the best parents that fucking exist ever. It’s a process for me, one I take one day at a time, but I’m hopeful that I can only go up from here.

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