Feelings – crap and yay.
They are complicated, informative, deceptive, overwhelming, medicinal, inconvenient, controlling, helpful, destructive, exciting, and so much more. God gave me my feelings when He created me. They are part of who I am. I may not always understand them, but He does.
Through God’s direction, a lot of what I know about feelings, mine and other people’s, I have learned from two sources: scripture and Marsha Linehan’s Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). I will write more in the future about DBT and tell stories about how it has helped my family learn how to navigate feelings. It’s made feelings safer and taught us that they are a good source of information. For me, as a guide, DBT comes in a close second to the Bible. Yes. It’s that good.
Feelings can take over – either drive us erratically or shut us down. I have met some people who have feelings so big and unmanageable that at times it seems to them that the feeling is all that exists. They aren’t aware of their physical body or people objects in the room, only the feeling. This ache and confusion can be so overwhelming that it has been described to me by a person I love as, “I have a hole in myself that has no edges.”
Does someone you love feel this way? Do you? I remember how powerless I felt when I heard a person I love say that. I couldn’t even begin to fill that hole for them; such an ache to fix the other person and then to have relief for myself. I remember not breathing for 10 seconds or so when they described it. Involuntarily, I tried to imagine what that amount of pain and suffering might feel like. If it was indeed an uncontained hole – “no edges” – then where was the hope? No edge to pull yourself up onto. And how much of a failure was I or the other person for coming to this point? Is suicide on the table? That generated MORE feelings! Many of us have only a moment of this type of emotion in our lives and others experience this daily.
All of us need two things to be emotionally well – God and some form of therapy (good therapy or at least a wise, honest, and loving friend, or a space that brings something good/effective into your life). I say somewhat boldly that I haven’t met a single person, including myself, for whom this hasn’t been the case; this is a ministry of truth! If there is a diagnosis to be found and understanding to be gained, get it. Prayer and therapy of some sort allow us to notice things, reflect on things and learn things that we wouldn’t have otherwise learned. We gain hope, reduce suicide, and participate with the Holy Spirit in healing God’s family. There are therapy/counseling links on this site: click into the “Helps and Happenings” page. There is also a scripture tab to help you find your way in the Bible. Tough stuff and suicide happens because of situations, feelings, and illness.
He’s enough. Before, during, and after. I promise.
No matter how ineffective our choices have been, no matter how much fallout they have caused, God wants us to get free. Yes, even you. Even me. And, He might have you use a little DBT.
Let Him fill the hole. Come get loved.