Too Many Feelings!
So you're having a lot of feelings. SO MANY feelings, in fact, that it's hard to know just where to start with them. Maybe you'd like to talk about your feelings, but knowing where to start feels overwhelming.
Maybe you're really in them. You're swimming in that sea of feelings, noticing every tiny emotion as though they're under a microscope. Feeling your feelings is really important - and helpful - and processing them (making sense of them through talking about them, for example) can help make the menu of feelings more manageable.
In fact, talking about feelings when you have a lot of them can be a lot like choosing from a menu. Have you ever visited a new restaurant with a giant menu and felt overwhelmed by the options? I know I have! I've had to ask my server for their suggestions, or waited for my friends to choose so I could feel inspired.
So where do you start in therapy with feelings when there are so many? To show up is to begin. That's a great place to start! And in each moment, your therapist may wonder about how you feel right then. Beginning from where you are. Actually, your therapist is kind of like the server in this scenario. When you're unsure of what to talk about, or which story you'd like to tell, or how to choose from all of the things that feel out of control and hard in your life in any given moment, your therapist may have suggestions and ideas (interventions) that will help. (And when you have a good relationship with your therapist, returning to each session will eventually have the familiar feeling of that cozy diner you frequent each Sunday)
Your menu doesn't have to look like the one above, but writing down the many things that are occupying your mind and causing big feelings might help you make a little sense of things. You may even see themes and connections, or be more strongly pulled towards some of the words (or really struggling to look at the others).
Whether you write it out or talk it out, if you have what seems like too many (or too few!) feelings, being aware of them and processing them with someone is really helpful to moving on from places that feel 'stuck' otherwise.
Processing feelings can take time, so when you find the person you're comfortable sharing with, be prepared to refer to your menu on occasion when you're not satisfied with your 'usual' and have a hankering for something more (ful)filling. Most of all, try to be patient with yourself as you become accustomed to really being with those feelings - it really is a lot of work and you can do it!
If you're in the Toronto area and looking for someone to talk through the hard things with, feel free to connect with me here.
- Jenn Seeley