I did it again. I had the opportunity to feel emotion but I wouldn’t allow it to happen. The emotion was fear.
I had a good Thanksgiving with most of my family members present. It was a Thanksgiving for which to be truly grateful, not because of the gathering and sharing of food and conversation, but because of what my mother and step-father did for me.
My only income is my social security disability insurance, which is considered to be at the poverty level (though I never feel poor).
I accumulated credit card debt when I opened an account to pay for make-up artist school. I had a job at a spa waiting for me upon graduation – I didn’t know that I wouldn’t be any good at it. Then the alternator in my car went, then the brakes, then a vet bill… the credit card total exceeded $3,500. I had 0% interest for 18 months. When that ended, my monthly minimum payment increased by $50/month in interest. I was having trouble making ends meet. I would pay the minimum, but then need to use my card at the end of the month because I’d run out of money – I couldn’t get the balance down. I got another credit card with a $3,500 limit so I could transfer the balance at 0% interest for 15 months. But, I was informed by the company that at the end of the term, any remaining balance would become a cash advance with interest accumulating daily – this was not an option. I also owe $1,800 on my mother’s VISA – she lets me use it for emergencies, but I would end up using it for gas and food come month’s end. This was a vicious cycle, one from which I saw no way of getting free.
My stepfather told me my mother would pay off my credit card from future inheritance money on the condition that I close the account and hand over my credit cards. He also said that I need to pay $50/month on my mother’s VISA, to stop relying on her card, and start putting money into savings for car repairs, vet bills, etc. I thought, no problem, I can do that. I was wrong.
I sat down on Friday and wrote out a budget of all my expenses. Then I wrote out a food budget from the receipts I had saved, listing only basic food items, trying to keep nutrition in mind. The balance was a negative $26 per month. The budget of expenses didn’t include items like shampoo, dish soap, or deodorant. The food budget didn’t include items like fish, or veggies (other than salad), or walnuts. I realized how much I had been relying on the credit cards to get me through month-to-month. I began to panic as I went into survival mode. My eyes began to mist as fear started to rise within me. I quickly shut it down, telling myself that I was feeling sorry for myself, that many people have it much worse off than I. I laid down on the couch and fell asleep for three hours (my therapist said I do this to avoid feeling emotion).
I awoke Saturday morning with an excruciating migraine, complete with nausea and vomiting. My repressed emotions, as usual, expressed themselves physically. I was bedridden for the next 22 hours. I forced myself out of bed at 6:00 a.m., hungover and in pain from lying down for so long. I had to get functioning. I had a reading and book signing that morning. I was able to push through, but am now exhausted and drained.
I don’t know why there is such an intense resistance to feeling emotion. Yes, I know it will be uncomfortable, but I also know the feelings will eventually pass. Maybe it’s just habit. I’ve been stuffing emotions for as long as I can remember.
Hopefully, next time, I’ll be able to allow my emotions to surface, process them, and release them. I’m just trying to not beat myself up, to practice kindness, patience, and gentleness with myself – something I constantly struggle with.
It’s just so frustrating. I got a new therapist with the express intent of connecting with my emotions so that I can stop going through life numb.