Up until now, I kind of felt like I knew myself pretty well. Which, for the most part I do. I listen to my body and my feelings and I'm able to process them, speak them, feel them and move on. But recently it's felt different. For example, I went to the doctor three weeks ago for stomach pain. When I walked into the doctor's office I remembered something and it wasn't a good something. I remembered that this was exactly how my eating disorder had all started. Three years ago I had gone to the doctor for stomach pain and a well-meaning doctor told me to keep a food journal so that we could try to find what food was causing all of this pain. This food journal led to restriction which led to obsession which led to my eating disorder. You get the picture. SO you can imagine my level of anxiety when I walked into the doctor's office three weeks ago with that same feeling. My heart rate skyrocketed. This feeling was foreign and frightening to me. I haven't felt anxiety in a long time. Or maybe I have and I just didn't take time to feel it all the way through. But either way, this level of anxiety shook me to the core. I walked out of the doctor's office trying to be strong but for some reason felt like I couldn't. I felt like I had exhausted my strength. I couldn't be strong anymore. I thought, "I've been strong for my whole life and I just can't do it anymore." I talked to myself and tried to convince myself that I was fine and it would pass and I tried to forget. Yeah that didn't work out too well. That was me suppressing my feelings at it's finest. Which used to be me all the time (until therapy-shoutout to therapy). So honestly for the past 3 weeks off and on, I've been up and down with anxiety over different things. At first, I was a little embarrassed and disappointed in myself for feeling anxiety. I thought, "I'm claiming to be fully fine and fully healed from an eating disorder, anxiety and depression and yet here I am struggling." Now I look back on that statement today and think, I would never say that to someone else, so why am I telling myself that? I realized I'm still learning.
So today I allowed myself to feel it. To feel it all. Today I felt brave, I felt loved, I felt stressed, I felt tense, I felt happy and I felt tired. All in one day. That's a lot of feelings, right?!?! Which is actually wicked cool that we can feel so much in one day. But at the same time, sometimes all of those feelings can feel overwhelming.
According to the Myers-Briggs Test (classic, I know) I've always been a feeler. I recognized that I've been a feeler in the sense that I feel for others and feel fierce emotions. However, I realized that today that although I was processing and dealing with my emotions, I wasn't allowing myself to feel them fully. So today, that was my goal. To feel and to take care of myself. And so that's what I did.
Today I learned that I'm probably going to have a day where I feel really anxious again. Honestly, I'm probably going to have a lot of days where I feel anxious in the total sum of my life. But today I also learned that I'm allowed to feel that way. That I can say that I'm healed and still struggle. Struggle is a part of life. But rather than living in that struggle, I can feel it and I can rise from it.
Today on my Facebook Memories, this showed up. Facebook Memories really get me in the feels and this one was no exception.
So today I've felt and today I've grown. Today I'm proudly pronouncing myself, a feeler. I'm cognizant of the fact that I will feel anxiety again in the future, and in fact it's almost a given. But I'm going to feel it fully and completely because I owe myself that. Today I've whispered to myself, "It's okay, be gentle with yourself." and (my favorite phrase from one of my favorite humans) "Carry on, Warrior." Sometimes you just need to remind yourself that you're still fighting and you're doing a damn good job at it.
Take care of yourself today and tomorrow and the next day after that. Maybe we can all have one giant "Me Day" together? A day where everyone feels what they need to feel and a day where we support each other in that. I'll schedule one for the whole world next week. I'm going to go eat pasta and read because I'm listening to what I need today. You should too.