Express Yourself

I’ve had a rough couple of days. I can’t really say too much about it now, because it is something that I am still working on, but I can tell you about how it made me feel and how it affected those around me. It was not one of my finer moments, to be sure, but I think it is worth talking about – or rather writing about – in the interests of trying to avoid a similar problem in the future.

Wednesday night, I felt awful. I was angry and sad and didn’t know what to do about it; while I was trying to find some way to help myself deal, I sent out a group message to other people here at the step-down looking for company. Luckily, a friend was able to help me; we went out to grab some dinner, which helped out some, and I got to talk to another friend and talk through some things, which helped even more.

The next day was the 4th of July, and I spent a lot of the day asleep because I still felt awful. Eventually, when I did wake up, I sent out another group message, this time asking if other people might want to go to the pool at our apartment complex. When I went down to the pool, I found it full of other families with no room for an extra person, and, discouraged, I returned to my apartment – where I sent out another group message, being extremely passive-aggressive, saying that the pool was a bust, and unless other people had suggestions, I was heading back to bed. I didn’t go back to bed, but I did start watching TV, and barring dinner and a movie, I watched TV for much of the rest of the day.

Friday morning, I found out that my group messages were very uncomfortable for someone, because it made them feel like they ought to help even when they didn’t feel up to it. I had never even considered that as a possibility, even though it seems like a way I would have reacted. My thoughtlessness and selfishness in sending out those messages – and the passive-aggressive behavior in the last one – caused at least one person, and possibly more, discomfort and maybe worse. It’s far from what I was trying to do, but I let my anger, which I hadn’t been able to express in a healthy manner, manifest itself in those messages.

I’ve been a repressed person for a long time. Especially anger, because the main person who tended to make me angry – my father – was someone I couldn’t show it to, because I was afraid of the kind of reaction it would get. I learned to hold it in, and try to express it in other ways, but those ways were frequently not enough, and so it would come out at inopportune times – often towards people I liked and cared about, in ways they didn’t deserve.

I may have been entirely justified in feeling awful, but it would have been more healthy for me – and less hurtful to others – if I had just expressed how I was feeling to the people who made me feel that way. Instead, I shut down and hid it away from them, and in trying to shove it into a closet, metaphorically speaking, it squeezed through the cracks and came out in a bad way. It’s embarrassing to admit, but I screwed up and it caused problems for others. I’m sorry about that, and now that I can see how that is a problem I can work on it, but I can’t promise it won’t happen again, only that I will try my best to express how I feel to those I feel it towards. There are definitely feelings towards others that I have been hiding, or trying to, and it may be causing both them and me more harm than good.

This is just one small part of what I find out about myself on a near-daily basis, and almost none of it is easy. I’m glad I have friends around me, people I care about, and people who are willing to help me with my treatment, even if it is uncomfortable for me to find out what they have to tell me. Is it any wonder that I want to stay here and keep exploring these buried parts of me?

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