I Didn’t Know How to Articulate It.

I didn’t know how to articulate it.

The upset stomach.

The feeling of anticipation and dread that had my forehead fraught with wrinkles.

The beating of my heart so fast, and the spinning of my thoughts.

Anxiety.

I didn’t know anxiety was a thing; I just sort of dealt with the feelings of discomfort by myself. When people asked me how I was, I just said “fine”. I wasn’t fine, but what could I say? You just…move through it. Deal with it. Shove it away under the rug (or as I did, down my mouth with food). I denied its existence. I didn’t even know what is was, so how could I possibly describe it to other people? In Chinese culture, there’s almost no word for “depression” or “anxiety”; I don’t even know if there’s a word for “mental health”. The closest thing would be “wellness”? But mental health and wellness are two different things, even if they overlap in some aspects.

I think I heard once that in the Inuit language, there are 30 different words to describe the colour blue. Wow! Can you imagine?! They’re able to analyze and specifically pick out, identify, the different shades whereas in the english language we describe 5 different blues in one word: “blue”. It makes me wonder how they culture may prize the colour blue as well. Perhaps they’re more in tune with the skies? Nature? More spiritual? More creative? It goes to show that the language in a culture tells you a lot about that culture.

The thing is, when it comes to feelings, there doesn’t have to be an explanation. Your feelings do NOT have to be justified–sometimes they just come up uninvited and there’s no way to reason with them, through them, or for them. They are what they are–just like how the sky is blue. And you don’t argue with that; and reasoning with the sky doesn’t make them turn a different colour. Whatever you feel is valid in that moment.

Do you justify your existence? You just are. You are here. You are now. You are alive and present. That’s what emotions are.

anxiety sad crying
I still had a show that night of my latest, most intense anxiety attack.

In the past, I often tried justifying what I felt. Sometimes I had a reason, and other times I didn’t–and when I didn’t, I felt frustrated with myself. I treated my feelings like a math equation; I analyzed the heck out of it–inside and out, searching, searching, scrounging, assuming for a reason. Sometimes, I made up a reason and convinced myself of its truth. If I couldn’t come up with a satisfying, logical explanation, I denied its existence. The suppression came with a bitter aftertaste and always made me feel numb and empty.

Your feelings do NOT have to be justified–sometimes they just come up uninvited and there’s no way to reason with them, through them, or for them. They are what they are–just like how the sky is blue. And you don’t argue with that; and reasoning with the sky doesn’t make them turn a different colour. Whatever you feel is valid in that moment.

Now I am willing to accept what I’m feeling, instead of trying to reason my way out of them. I acknowledge their existence and don’t try to find out WHY, but trust that they’re there for a reason. If I’m feeling bad, I send a prayer to let it go; to release all that is not serving me, but welcome her (her being that feeling) to stay if she wants to.

Eventually, all things pass; tough feelings pass; tough times pass; but tough people stay.

Do you try justifying what you’re feeling, whether that be good or bad?