Feelings can be so overwhelming. They can engulf thinking and feel too big, much too big. Too big to survive even, like a raging flood that destroys all in its path.
I have come such a long way in accepting feelings. I don’t live each day in a dark cloud of denial. I no longer keep lots of secrets from others and from myself.
I name feelings now and take a look at them. I can say that I feel confused, angry, disappointed, joyful, etc. I can acknowledge the emotions and allow myself to feel. I can decide what I want to do as a result such as celebrate the joy or cry the grief. I remember when I was totally numb for years and feel no desire to return there.
And yet, there are still days when I don’t want to feel. I have been working through long denied feelings surrounding the incest I suffered as a young child. I don’t like recalling the terror I felt. It feels huge. I don’t like remembering how I feared I might die. I don’t like thinking about how much I hated my dad when he was hurting me and using me. I don’t like remembering how I crawled under my bed or hid in a closet to hide from him. It is so uncomfortable to think back. There is a reason that I pushed all those memories down for so many years! I didn’t want to drown in the raging flood of emotions that felt way too big for a little girl and still hurt as a grown up woman.
I am looking at the feelings, knowing that it is part of a healing process. I’ve walked this same road with other issues from my childhood and my young adult years. I know that the fruit of facing the old shame is new life. I know that I will enjoy life more and live more freely after I face my pile of uncomfortable feelings.
But some days, it still feels almost impossible. The pain feels bigger than me. On those days, I tend to overeat or to eat forbidden allergy foods. I eat and feel a little better. Some endorphins bring temporary relief to the pain. I don’t like it for long though. It feels like I am copping out by hiding behind food and I don’t like how it causing me to gain weight.
I have been assured by other incest survivors that such pain is normal and that overeating is one of the typical coping behaviors. It helps to hear it.
And yet, I wonder if I would overeat if I did a better job at trusting God completely through this healing process. If I totally believed that He could carry me through this healing process would I seek comfort from a chocolate bar or a fudge sundae? What would happen if I asked God to comfort me and help me each time I feared drowning in tears? What if I were that trusting, knowing that He would comfort me and understand me? What if I believed enough to rely only on him? What if?
I want to grow into a woman of ever deeper faith and trust. God has been so good to me, over and over again. I know that he is compassionate and loving. I want to seek his mercy when I am in need of healing like the two blind men in the Bible who followed Jesus “calling out, "Have mercy on us, Son of David!" When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" "Yes, Lord," they replied. Then he touched their eyes and said, "According to your faith will it be done to you"; and their sight was restored” Matthew 9:27-29.
God is able. Healing is easy for Him. He cares about each person’s problems.
I believe he can help me with the flooding emotions of old trauma. I am going to practice turning to Him more regularly and celebrate the times that I do it.
If you are a reader who has gone through this journey of facing difficult memories too, God bless you for your courage and perseverance. It is a long journey of healing--but a rewarding one.