Image Credit: Shutterstock
We all have our guilty pleasures. Mine just so happens to be watching “Winners and Losers.” David and I rarely watch T.V but this is something I watch each week but because it’s on a Tuesday night and we run a Lounge Group (Bible study/fellowship/random topics/prayer/encouragement group), I catch it up on the Channel 7 app on my iPad. For those of you unfamiliar with the show it’s about a group of four best friends who are bound together by their experience of being the ‘losers’ in high school. It’s their journey through breakups, stalkers, death, babies and all this after they’ve won Oz Lotto.
Anyways the point being I was watching the season return and if you watch it on the app they still give you the pleasure of ad viewing. The first ad came on and it was about Elevit pregnancy supplements. Ok. I’m good with seeing a baby inside the womb. I think. The narrator then goes on to discuss preparations for pregnancy. Cue another 20 times. Ok maybe 7. Regardless. Every single time an ad came on the first one was the Elevit pregnancy supplement ad. By the end I was rolling my eyes and shouting at the screen “I have MTHFR you morons. (Read here if you’re unsure of what MTHFR means). Don’t you understand that means YOUR pills are toxic to me. And what? When you’re ready it’ll just happen? Puhleese!” Then the show ended and I finally burst into tears.
You see I had been so good the past six months. Last year sucked so bad emotionally, physically and spiritually going through fertility treatments. I remember that last meeting with the gynaecologist and finally voicing my concerns. With tears streaming down my face all I wanted to know was how long we would continue on certain treatments and explained that I had in the past struggled with anxiety and depression so was getting worried about my mental wellbeing. He dismissed me and said “You’re young. Girls like you will find it easy to get pregnant. Yours isn’t a serious problem. Don’t worry.” No offer of tissues. No here is the plan. Just a ‘she’ll be right mate.’ Not good enough. I needed to start taking care of myself and I vowed to not go back to ‘conventional treatments’ unless absolutely needed.
When we finally decided to look at alternative treatments a weight was lifted off my shoulders. When I went to the wellness centre (Paddington Clinic) I felt like I was heard for the first time. They listened. They SAW me and I’ve had success in regulating out my menstrual cycle. But it got me thinking. I was doing ok so now why the tears after watching these stupid ads?
PERMISSION TO FEEL YOUR FEELINGS
I read this article this week over at “Over the Moon” magazine. Written by Dr Nat Kringoudis ‘Permission to feel your feelings’ absolutely resonated with me. Dr Nat writes that:
I’ve said it before and I’ll keep on saying it—we aren’t taught to deal with emotions. If we don’t allow ourselves to properly feel, we can’t process and move through the motions that go with it, that then make us unhealthy and stressed on an unconscious level. What emotions have you moved through properly today? I’ve gone from sadness and hurt to frustration, guilt and then self-reflection to then come out and say to myself—I’m a good person and that’s what matters to me—because remember, what others think about you isn’t your business.
There’s so much wisdom in this article. You need to read it. You see I don’t think I had properly moved through my emotions about my infertility for a long time. I mean, sure I felt whole in so many ways but in other ways I had in fact allowed myself to busy myself and shove it deep inside.
Kringoudis confirms this when she says:
You see, we all have these emotions every single day of our beautiful lives. We’re not necessarily taught what to do with them, or most of all how to feel them properly. But we can’t deny we are all human, with heart beats and a brain. We are, at the very least, big beautiful balls of energy driven by emotion. It’s what we do with emotion that matters most. We’ve been conditioned to push away emotion and for the most part to avoid feeling. We’re taught it’s not ok to cry, it’s not ok to show anger in public and that we should be living like everything is more than ok, every waking minute of the day.
Pushing away the emotions was what I was doing. The “Elevit” ad just brought those feelings to the surface. Did I care that everyone else around me was getting pregnant? Did I care that I was covering up the pain and not dealing with it? Did I even desire pregnancy anymore? All of these emotions were brought to the surface and now all I needed to do was cry and have a cuddling session on the couch with my husband. And apparently that was just what I needed.
Feel the emotion until you can’t feel it any more and allow yourself to go through the motions, good, bad or otherwise. Because a feeling is just a short moment in time and whilst at the time it may not be ideal, the long term consequences it may have on your health by way of pent up emotions and stress is disastrous. Stress is so very many things—by learning simple strategies to allow us to cope with the current epidemic is absolutely the future of wellness. (Dr Nat Kringoudis).
I was feeling the emotions and it felt incredibly releasing. The Vietnamese take out I had afterwards helped too.
THREE WAYS TO FEELING YOUR FEELINGS
MAKE PEACE WITH YOURSELF
My counsellor a few years ago reminded me that we are not just made up of body, mind and soul but also of our different age groups. The 14 year old me with the spunk and then the 21 year old me who was hurting. In one activity she got me to get the 14 year old me to encourage the 21 year old me. To invite her into a safe place. That safe place was my grandparents’ house. At first the 14 year old me did not want to ask the 21 year old me inside. She did not like her one bit. I mean what was the 21 year old me doing going and getting into a relationship so young. Why didn’t we protect one another? Eventually through various conversations I made peace with my 21 year old me. Tears streamed down my face and I felt free.
This is a practice I still do today but encouraging the 32 year old me. It’s amazing how we talk to ourselves isn’t it? When you do an activity like this you realise all the more the importance of nurturing yourself and making peace with every part of your being: age, body, mind and soul.
According to the Australian and New Zealand Arts therapy association:
Arts therapy is based on the belief that the process of engaging creatively in drama, movement or art-making, within a therapeutic relationship, supports changes in the client’s inner world, and helps them to develop a more integrated sense of self, with increased self awareness and acceptance. It assists with improving the client’s personal growth and insight, processing of traumatic experiences, and resolving of inner conflicts. Arts therapy provides a unique opportunity for the use of non-verbal communication, allowing clients to express feelings safely so that they can cope better with stress, improve their judgment and have healthy relationships.
I love Art Therapy. Not initially but it was something that grew on me. I’m a bit of a perfectionist. It’s something I am working on. I think it’s something to do with being the eldest and being brought up in a way that I felt like I had to compete with everyone and everything. Because of this I find it hard to sit still for long periods of time. Art therapy forces me to sit down and feel my emotions. The art is definitely not pretty. If anything it’s pretty darn ugly! It’s amazing though what gets put down onto paper when you’ve got something in mind. I can’t draw so I’ll often get a whole heap of magazine and cut up phrases and pictures and glue them down in weird ways. Before you know it, it’s been 3 or 4 hours and I’ve felt the emotions. Then the book gets put away until next time.
GET IN TOUCH WITH YOUR SPIRITUAL SIDE
I don’t know about you but I’m good at putting God aside in all of this. Maybe subconsciously I feel like He’s abandoned me. I know when I’ve finally reached out to Him and prayed/cried/petitioned I have felt an incredible release of anxiety pour out of me and a peace that floods in.
That’s not to say I feel this all the time. Sometimes if I were to be truly honest I feel nothing but still I continue to try and communicate the best I can, even through my blubbering and my tears. Maybe for you that might be meditating, or through journaling. Whatever it is don’t forget that there is always a spiritual element and when we connect with it growth comes about.
We may not see it at the time but I can attest to many a pain in my life and looking back even though I don’t have answers I can say I am truly a better person for what I have gone through.
And in saying that don’t be a jerk to other people who are going through these things and use simplistic phrases like “God has a plan for your life. It will happen.” You know what I know He has a plan for my life and you don’t know whether He will give me a baby or not. Also I’ve had people say that “if you just trust God it will happen.” You know part of getting in touch with your spiritual side is to also recognise He has given you and others amazing giftings and talents. Pray and ask Him what you should do. I felt God say “Rest on Me” after my encounter with the gynaecologist. I took that to mean take time out and heal your body. I then made tangible steps to do that and as a result I feel so much better physically, mentally and spiritually. Getting in touch with your spiritual side may also mean looking to other people as well to help on the journey. He’s given them the talents after all.
So let’s be kind to one another this week. Listen to what others are saying. Don’t brush their emotions off. It just helps to perpetuate Dr Kringoudis’ words that ‘we’ve been conditioned to push away emotion and for the most part feeling.’ Don’t compare your story to their story. Just listen. Have a great week.
What are some ways you try to get in touch with your feelings?
How did you deal with the emotions tied up with infertility issues?