"We cannot selectively numb emotions. When we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions." —Brené Brown
This was so profound to me. Feeling those sad, angry, disappointed, anxious (you get the picture) emotions is seldom something I look forward to doing. I’ve told myself, “It is okay” and then shove the emotions down until they overflow and I’m not able to use my coping skills. When I do that, I’ve prevented myself from enjoying things that bring me joy or being able to actively experience elation or excitement.
Pushing down these feelings can turn us into a fatigued, passive emotion zombie. We can pretend to be able to enjoy the positive emotions during times of struggle, but if we take a step back, we can note the emotions are not genuinely us. It’s okay not to be okay. It’s okay to take the time to experience the painful emotions, there’s no time limit. It’s okay to tell your support circle, “My skills are not working today” and ask for support.
Recovery isn’t easy and it’s an every day process; it requires you to choose daily to make change in your life and continue in growth. And guess what? Through it all, we get to choose how much the painful things overwhelm us while being able to fully experience the positive things. We get to see the storm and the rainbow, and choose which one to continue on with.
Kristen has worked in the mental health field since 2013, with a focus on crisis work, substance use services, and bringing a voice to lived experience. Her ambition is to change the way mental health care and recovery is seen and achieved, so to redefine what it means to defeat adversity.