Fairly often, I hear people say they don’t want to have to think about things that have been difficult for them. They want to avoid those feelings - and they want to know how to do that more effectively. Not surprisingly, they really don’t want to hear my response: you usually have to feel it to heal it.
Avoidance can seem like a great plan. If I just ignore that this thing happened, if I just try to forget the feelings I’m having, I’ll be okay. That might work for a little while, which is part of what makes it so appealing. There’s a quick payoff - convince myself everything is fine, move forward, and everything seems great. The downside, of course, is that difficult things don’t just go away. It doesn’t just stop affecting us if we ignore it.
So, how do we deal with it? Although there are many ways to heal, they all include some component of processing the feelings. Sometimes, taking some time for yourself and just sitting with feelings is enough. You’re able to feel them and move through them on your own. It could also mean using art, music, or dance to express your emotions. Sometimes, you may need to talk with someone about the situation and the feelings it caused. That someone might be a friend or family member, or it could a therapist. With feelings you’re really struggling to handle, it might mean doing something like Brainspotting to process the emotions deep in your brain.
There are many, many options for therapies that can help you process the tough stuff you’ve been avoiding if you feel like you need help. Each person is different, and what works for one might not work for another. Here are few types of therapy you might want to look into if you’re struggling with overwhelming emotions:
Starting therapy can be scary. If you’re not sure what to expect, check out my post about getting started in therapy with me. Although every therapist is different, it’ll give you a general idea of what it will be like. If you know what to expect and have been avoiding it - start by trying to find a therapist that feels like a good fit for you. It’s okay to do a lot of research before you choose a therapist. It’s also a good idea to have several therapists you’re interested in working with to make sure you can find someone with availability at times that work for you. Have you already got your list of therapists? Go ahead and reach out to them. It’s time to get started on your journey to healing.