Feelings are like House Guests

Image is from the website of Dr. Amanda Gale-Bando

I had a rollercoaster day today. My feelings have been up-and-down, I’m trying out a new medicine, and anxiety (which I have struggled with my whole life) has been creeping up in an intense way recently. It’s a little overwhelming.

I woke up feeling awful, but I tried lots of positive self-talk and cuddled on the couch with the dog for a while. Then, I was feeling better, and I turned some fun music up loud, took a long shower, put on my favorite comfy clothes, and danced in the bathroom mirror. Unfortunately, tonight I’m back to feeling crummy.

Experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions is not new to me, but being more calm and accepting of it is something I struggle with. Sometimes when I’m feeling anxious or unwell, I get so pessimistic and I think it’s going to last forever.

A few months ago, I pulled my back out for the first time. I had never experienced that type of pain before; it was excruciating. My husband has hurt his back a couple of times, and he was very supportive and helpful when I felt completely immobilized in pain. At one point, through some very dramatic tears, I told him “I can’t live like this!” He immediately laughed, hugged me, and told me that I wouldn’t have to live like this. I was going to rest and heal and feel better.

That’s an important point that I try to remind myself. In life, pain is often transient. Even with chronic conditions, there are good days and bad days. Dark times don’t last forever. Even the long, cold winter nights lead to beautiful spring days. Little seeds in the ground need the dark winter to build up their energy, to grow and blossom when the sun returns. We humans are like that, too.

I love the saying that “feelings are like house guests.” Sometimes you enjoy their company, and sometimes you can’t wait for them to leave. But they always do just that — they leave.

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