Giving Words To Sorrow

“Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak whispers the o’er-fraught heart, and bids it break.” ~ William Shakespeare

 Sometimes, in my darkest moments, I wonder if I am the only one that has moments, hours, days where I feel so overcome with sorrow, fear and loneliness that I can hardly breathe. Do others, without catastrophe or tragedy to inspire it, feel such darkness welling up from inside? Do others have days where they find themselves in tears from the sheer intensity of their emotions?

In these moments of bleakness, all my demons come out to taunt me. I feel isolated and afraid, convinced that the reason I am alone in my late thirties is because I am inherently unworthy of love. I’m terrified that although I can inspire respect and admiration, desire and affection, I’m somehow incapable of inspiring love. Every impulse in my body tells me to seek out someone who can somehow convince me this isn’t true, even if only for a little while. Of course, experience is a wonderful teacher. I’ve learned the hard way there is no true comfort to be found in running for the shelter of another person; it’s a temporary distraction from the fears woven through the fabric of my being. Usually the very same people I would seek out for comfort are the people who have reinforced my fears.

Unlike previous times in my life, I know this is a temporary state of mind. I don’t think I’m in the middle of a deep depression; I find joy in my life that is just as intense as the sorrow. Perhaps this is the crux of the issue: I feel everything so intensely. Love, fear, joy, grief, anger, sadness are all felt so keenly. I don’t know how to change myself. It’s always been both my gift and my curse to so fully experience my emotions. A few years ago, the sadness and grief expanded until I could feel nothing else, could see no escape from the constant aching. I was told very clearly there was something wrong with me and to find a way to fix it, or else. Not knowing how to accomplish this directive, I collapsed under the weight of my emotions. It caused me to make choices for months that haunt me to this day.

Today, I felt all the grief and anger, loneliness and sadness rising inside me. I went home and immediately spent 45 minutes working out to try to chemically diffuse the onslaught. Then I started trying to surround myself with the things that make me feel better immediately: Good music and a clean space. Since then I’ve been dicing and stirring and simmering, filling the house with delicious scents and tastes that I will be able to share with others. Fortunately, “Like Water For Chocolate” won’t apply here. I may have wept while I cooked, but no one will ever be the wiser. There may have been moments when I had to stop and sit with my head in my hands, overwhelmed and unable to move past it for a moment, but eventually it calmed. I poured my my fears and sadness into creation, instead of letting it cripple me. Six years and I’ve made progress!

My therapist always said to feel my feelings. I’m not fighting it anymore, because to deny an emotion is to simply have it return in an uglier way. Tonight I am sad and so lonely. My heart hurts, for some reasons I understand and some I don’t. Tomorrow I’ll probably feel better. Tonight, I’m going to give words to this profound sorrow that fills me up. I’m going to embrace it and use it. There is no relationship that can band-aid this,  or that could endure the weight of it. I’m not running to someone else to fix it. I need to be willing to live inside it when it surfaces, until I understand why it exists in the first place.

I’m going to let the music pour over me while I cry and wrap myself in the comfort of domesticity, the sight and scent and touch of the scene I’ve created all day. Then I’m going to start my book. It’s time to let this intensity work for me, rather than just let it hobble me emotionally.

Some people cut themselves to release emotion, allowing the bloodletting to ease the pressure inside them. I’ve done similiar things emotionally in the past and I’ve learned healthier ways to cope. Apparently, these days, I cook and write. Here’s to doing what works and the eventual reappearance of joy in the near future…

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