Please tell me how to get through this

This is a plea for advice. The reasons why are a lot to go into, and I haven’t got the energy for explaining right now. But the short story is I’ve suddenly found myself smack in the middle of intense emotional pain. It feels like huge, heavy, overwhelming grief. It is completely unbearable. I keep getting sucked into it, ending up crying for hours; sobbing until I can hardly breathe and I think I might throw up. The crying is so powerful it makes my whole body hurt.

I know that there are a lot of people out there who have been through this. I’ve read about your journeys here, and I know that people survive it. Of course they do. I just don’t know how. Right now, I am massively struggling with the knowledge that I have to feel it and move through it and it just doesn’t seem bearable. I know it won’t kill me, and at the same time, I feel like I’m not strong enough to get through it.

What I’m asking is, how do you cope with such deep, overwhelming pain? How do you function when that is present? Are there techniques you used that helped? What did you do to find comfort when you felt so inconsolable?

I am really desperate for some advice, so any thoughts or ideas would be very gratefully received. Thank you. And thank you for being here, reading and hearing me.

Laura

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22 Comments Add yours

  1. bethanyk says:

    These feelings are why I started my little walks. Because I knew the pain was there but I had to balance that pain with something else or I would just be smothered by it. So I just went outside. I focused on a blade of grass. Then the ants. Then a flower then the smell of the air. I did not let my thoughts wander but stayed completely focused on the touch of the grass, the smell, the site, the color. And i imagined this forcefield around me. A golden force field that even if just for a moment nothing could come in, nothing from the past, nothing right now, just this golden glow that was keeping me safe from everything. That is one way I have tried to cope

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura says:

      Being outside always helps for me too. It’s just hard to do it when I feel very fragile. I like the sound of that forcefield, I definitely need to get one of those! x

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      1. bethanyk says:

        Sometimes going outside is hard. My husband bought me a warrior to sit next to my bed. He faces out and protects me. I imagine warriors surrounding me with their backs to me looking out keeping watch. Just something else I do. I know it takes effort though and sometimes I forget or am tired. I also imagine a bear swooping me up in his arms and roaring out to anyone near me “i’ve got her. Stay away. I will protect her.” Just little imagery things I try when i can. I am sincerely just so sorry you are going through this

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Sandeep Beep says:

    I try to block out those moments, so it’s hard remember what works. I think distractions help, like music. For me music has helped me through so much. Try to find music that echoes how you feel, or just music that’s as powerful as your emotions. Hearing your emotions through another form helps, especially when you can’t say or understand or express how you feel.
    If you have the ability to write, then type your heart out. You don’t even need to publish what you write unless you want to, but typing without pausing, just spilling your heart out… that’s what helps me most.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura says:

      I think I’ve also been blocking this out for a long time. I like the suggestion of music, although I listen to a lot I hadn’t thought of matching it to how I feel. I think that, like you say, music as powerful as my emotions could really help.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Though our situations are very different, I know exactly where you’re at. Here’s a little something borrowed from Buddhist psychology that might sound counter-intuitive, but it is enormously effective for me. It takes some courage to do it — for about 5 seconds, maybe 10. Sit. How you’re sitting is irrelevant as long as you are upright enough to avoid slouching into a zoning out position. Breathe slowly, deliberately from your belly and lungs, not your throat — in through the nose, out through the mouth — slow, sustained but natural. Now: let yourself feel the pain, the fear, the anguish, all of it. Feel it completely, but DO NOT analyze it. Don’t think about the situations behind it. Don’t spin stories about what’s your fault, his fault, her fault, their fault. In short, just let it wash over you but do not give it more power than it has on its own. Our stories, our opinions, our dramas are called attachment — they are what cause such unbearable pain to stick around. But if you can really face it, feel that dread in your gut, maybe even tremble and shake, you will find that it passes. Just like that. Like a storm cloud moving across the sky. Whenever you feel able, repeat this exercise: it shows you, in no uncertain terms, that our emotions are fleeting, just like thoughts. They will come, they will go. They will only stick around when we nourish them with analysis.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura says:

      I can definitely see the value in doing this, although right now detaching the analysis feels totally impossible. I am far too obsessive about analysing. But then I guess I only need to let go of that for a few moments at a time.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Alexis Rose says:

    I sit with my feet firmly on the ground or sit against a wall. I keep my hands on something hard, or wrap myself in a soft blanket and lie in the middle of my bed. It depends if I need to feel grounded or swathed in softness. Then I let the feelings ride through me.
    If I can I go out for a walk. Even a small one. The change of scenery, vivid trees, bird songs can be overwhelming but it breaks the momentum if I’m spiraling.
    I found the more I fight the pain the harder it is to move through it.
    Also, writing, drawing, even coloring in a coloring book.
    Mindless tv helps too sometimes, something light. I watched a lot of comedians in cars getting coffee and carpool on youtube, arrested development, and f

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura says:

      Thanks, this is a good reminder that what I need might not always be the same thing. It’s hard to figure out what would help when I’m in it, but I suppose I can think about it when I’m less fragile so I’ve got some ideas like these up my sleeve. Mindless TV is my default at the moment, but if I’m not careful I can end up getting quite dissociated if I watch too much. Although I can never feel too bad watching arrested development – one of my favourite shows!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Alexis Rose says:

    Oops I hit send too fast…anyway, light stuff. You will still feel everything but at least you are distracting a bit too. Hope all those helped a bit.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sirena says:

    Part of this is not cutting short these immensely painful overwhelming moments but moving through them. Allow the tears. Cry as much as you need. And the periods in between, that’s when to do the deep breathing and meditation stuff. Breathing right into my tummy and bringing that breath right back out to the point my tummy is sticking out, repeatedly can move the pain sometimes.
    Everyone else’s advice is good.
    Drawing, painting, walking, a shower… things that soothe and distract all help. Try to eat healthily but allow for treats.. and reach out to people you trust.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura says:

      Thanks, I am really trying to let it happen and let myself feel. I know this is the only way I will ever let some of it go.

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  7. Bluebeard says:

    At least you can still cry, that’s good news. Obviously I can’t know the full extent and intricacies of what you’re going through, but in my experience, embracing the tears as something positive and healing, instead of fighting them, helped more than anything. Your wording suggests that this is something you’re trying to push away, to hide. The best thing to do is to not look for a quick-fix, to just accept what you’re feeling, and let it consume you. When I was down, the one thing that always made it worse was externalizing myself from the pain, pretending I shouldn’t be feeling it. Think of it like a civil war, sure you beat the bad guy, but the bad guy was you all along, and you’re fighting your own feelings which inevitably causes more stress, anxiety, and pain. It can be cyclical. Try to accept the pain as the bodies necessary method of coping with a stressor, whether you know what that stressor is or not.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura says:

      I agree with your thinking, and I am working at allowing the feelings. But it is very hard to accept something that I know hurts so much. I think it’s natural and human for us to avoid pain wherever possible, so it’s counterintuitive to embrace it. It doesn’t feel positive or healing when it’s happening, even though I know objectively that it’s what I need. I guess I just have to keep an open mind as much as I can.

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  8. I think increasingly I learn that during these periods I need to listen as gently as I can to what I need right now, trying not to judge that or fight against it. It might be sleep or creativity or time by myself or time away from my computer or watching distracting television or making some home-comfort food. Gentle, gentle, gentle. Slowly things get better. I hope that these feelings ease for you soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura says:

      Thank you. It’s good to be reminded to think kindly about it, rather than just getting annoyed with myself for being so emotional.

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      1. Aw, that’s okay It can be easier said than done sometimes I know but you really do deserve gentle kindness.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. DV says:

    I have never learned to really “deal with” that pain, just to distract myself temporarily and wait for the worst of it to pass. Some ways I do that are not really productive but at least keep me safe from doing anything actively destructive, such as sleeping a lot. What helps me most is being around other people who are happy and calm and nurturing, just being on the periphery of what they are doing without much expectation that I’ll participate or “do” anything, and feeling cared-for. Like maybe just sitting on their sofa while they’re cooking and chatting or doing some craftwork and every once in a while they’ll offer a cup of tea or something to eat. The calm and normality seem to rub off on me somehow regardless of whether they know any details of why I’m feeling bad or not. (I think this is also why depression support groups are often pretty useless – people only tend to come when they’re feeling bad, and the worst thing you can possibly do when you are already down is hang out with other depressed and not-coping people). Unfortunately there are not many people in my life currently that can fill this sort of nurturing role, but do you have any friends like this whom you could ask to be included in some low stress activities of theirs?

    Failing actual people being around, I can sometimes get a bit of this feeling of belonging and being part of something, a sort of vicarious group bonding, from some tv shows. I get very invested in the characters and the story arc, as if I am almost there too, and feel a part of their successes and happiness but also part of being consoled by friends when bad things happen. The only down side is when you get to the end of the series.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura says:

      I can get that feeling with some TV shows too. And sometimes from a really good book. Being with ‘normal’ people in an everyday way does help, and I think I need to make some space for that. When I was first very ill, I spend a lot of time with a friend and her baby, just chatting and helping out with little bits and pieces she needed to do. I’m considering taking some time out from work, so there would be time to do some more of that if I do. It’s nice to just be with people, without any expectations from them. I also find that comforting.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. La Quemada says:

    I think I use a blend of what people have already suggested. To the degree I can, I try to sit with it. That means I try to take a breath and look at it, really observe it. What is going on? What am I feeling, and where do I feel it in my body? If I feel terrified, what exactly is that fear? This observation, without judgment, can help me see that it is not permanent and is not so overwhelming, because it’s specific (for example, an ache in my belly) and therefore not it’s not everything (my foot doesn’t hurt). I don’t know if that makes sense. What I mean is it seems to take the whole thing down a notch.

    However, I can’t always do this. There are times when it’s just too intense, or recently, when I just can’t think clearly enough to do this. That’s when I choose distraction. A movie, maybe, a walk with my dogs, something undemanding. Often reading a book is too much, but I might be able to read the newspaper online. Getting outside and breathing can help a lot. There is something healing about nature (and research supports this) and of course we also know that getting some exercise can release endorphins, which helps. Pleasant body sensations also help, like a bubble bath (personally, I love water) or music you enjoy. But that varies depending on how I’m doing. The worse you feel, I know, the harder it is to do things that might make you feel better. To be honest, there are also times when I just crawl in bed and pull the covers over my head. But I’ve also learned that if there’s any space, if there’s any energy at all to get out, move, breathe, just DO something, then I should go with that.

    If you have any doubts about your ability to be safe, please tell someone and/or plant yourself in a place where you have people around you.

    I’m sorry you are suffering so. May it soon pass. May you find some peace of mind.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura says:

      Thanks Q. They’re all good suggestions, and I totally agree about nature. Sometimes just sitting in my little garden and watching spiders or bees or clouds can help. I’m just struggling to move myself out of this when it happens. It’s fine if my wife is there, she will literally lift me up and move me outside, wrap me in blankets or put me in a warm bath. I’ve just got to figure out how to do that for myself.

      Liked by 1 person

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