Just a quick public service announcement today: Your feelings, they mean something. So much of my life has been spent over analyzing the “crazy” way I feel and trying to rid myself of these “crazy” feelings. Most days I get on the treadmill and run until I no longer feel “overly emotional” about whatever I’m feeling “overly emotional” about that day and consequently I’m running for a long time. We all have those days when we feel just short of mentally insane and while it can be fun to laugh off how ridiculous it all is I think it’s important to always remember that no matter how you’re feeling those feelings are valid. Perhaps ban referring to those whose feelings we don’t understand as “his crazy ex girlfriend” or “that crazy girl” because more often than not the “crazies” we diagnose in our daily gossip have ample reason to feel the way they do.
I had a long discussion with one of my close friends via FaceTime the other night. She’s one of my oldest friends and we have seriously always had the best heart to heart discussions (I don’t think we could ever run out of things to talk about). She’s currently studying counseling at the University of Tennessee so as of recently my deep, emotional, feeling-based rants have become even more prevalent and even more interesting to converse with her about. She promises she’s not trying to psychoanalyze me but even if she is…I don’t mind!
I was going on and on about how I didn’t want to come off as “crazy” or “dramatic” but for whatever reason I couldn’t help but feel hurt. Without delving too deep into the situation let’s just say I was feeling a little bit restless over communication issues with someone important to me. I have a tendency to assume that when someone distances themselves from me emotionally it means I did something wrong, or that there is some sort of problem between us. However I forget that some people handle life stress differently than I do. A crazy week at work can mean checking out from friendships, making fewer jokes, responding to texts less frequently. While I check into relationships when I’m overwhelmed (I always need a shoulder to cry on or whatever emotional support I can get) others distance themselves when they’re overwhelmed.
Despite a new understanding of the situation I still felt hurt and Laura (my soon to be counselor friend) encouraged me to speak up. She pointed out a lesson I’ve already learned (several times actually, oops) but tend to ignore out of the fear of being perceived as crazy…”Your feelings mean something, they aren’t crazy, they aren’t overreactions and even if not everyone understands them they come from somewhere“. And I had to admit, her conclusion was pretty spot on.
When it comes to relationships (friendships, familial, boyfriends, etc) I am very emotionally intimate. For me it is important to be able to have constant open communication about feelings (both good and bad) with anyone close to me. I need to trust that I can talk about being hurt or sad and that the other person will tell me if they are hurt or sad too.When I feel like I have to keep my emotions bottled up…I do go insane (see also the intense dersire to run around the house breaking things). I worried that speaking up about this emotional and communication “need” made me “that needy girl” or “that crazy girl” but I don’t think that’s true anymore.
I wish more people felt comfortable communicating how they feel. I think a lot of “crazy” situations could be prevented if we created environments that are more accepting of this sort of open communication. When those around me open up to me about their feelings (particularily feelings I don’t understand the reasoning behind) I try and remember that they’re feelings are real and valid. The feelings of others are real and valid even if I don’t understand them. Their feelings are real and valid because they feel them and even if I don’t understand their problem the problem still exists because it is real to them. So I’m trying to ban the “crazy talk” or at least reduce it significantly. When I don’t understand someone else’s bad feelings, when it appears to me that they are overreacting I don’t want to immediately write them off as crazy, there’s a good chance they just see conflict differently than me. Hey, maybe I’ll even get so good at banning “crazy talk” that I can stop referring to my ex as “crazy”…but baby steps! Let’s not get too ahead of ourselves here (;
How do you communicate emotionally? Have you ever felt crazy because of how you feel?