“We must always seek an alternative to war…”
I attended a school assembly today and the message that a gentleman was preaching to our children was about PEACE. One thing he said that really caught my attention was, “We should always seek an alternative to war.” It was such an awesome message he was giving to our children!
I don’t know what fighting in a war is like… but I do know what ‘fighting a war from within myself’ feels like…
For many, many, many years, I have realised I have been at war with myself, internally. By not accepting my true feelings and letting them happen in their entirety, whether they feel good or bad, I have been constantly fighting my own self. 😖
Every single person in the world has feelings. But why do we sometimes perceive the feelings our own bodies give us, as ‘something wrong’ with ourselves, and fight them? Or numb them, or try to ‘escape’ from them?
Whether it be feelings resulting from; a mental illness, trauma, addiction, anxiety, stress, grief, loss, phobias, illness, abuse/assault, relationships, conflict, etc….. I have kind of come to realise that these things that happen in our lives will no doubt cause unpleasant feelings.
And that’s normal.
The choice that we have then, is how to respond to these feelings?
I believe it is a completely personal decision to figure out how much of these ‘feelings’ we feel we are able to tolerate, and at what point we seek help.
If I get a migraine (for example) I take the recommended dose of medicine because I don’t enjoy having migraines… sometimes it goes away, sometimes it doesn’t. I know there are many people who tackle a migraine with natural alternatives. Each to their own! But I have also trained my mind to habitually turn to medication whenever I feel ’emotions’ like anxiety, panic and stress.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there is anything wrong, whatsoever, in being prescribed medication to help assist you when you are struggling with a feeling or emotion (or illness) that is encroaching on your everyday life. (I am on a daily prescription and have been for many years, but it took many many years to find the one that suited me!) It is important to look after yourself and have trust in what your doctor recommends for you. But you also need to feel happy within yourself with the way you manage your own feelings and emotions.
As my sober journey continues, I am gradually learning that I am stronger than I think, and I am learning to embrace all my feelings and try and manage them naturally, without constantly fighting them off with some sort of help. Sometimes I feel like I’ve won, sometimes I don’t. But I think that’s part of the beauty of life.
I have a bit of an ‘All or Nothing’ approach to life. When I do something, I put in 500%, and when something isn’t going the way I want, I think it’s over or I’ve failed. I am slowly learning to tolerate the ‘grey’ areas…
I am starting to build the courage to face situations that I know will not make me feel good, without taking a Benzodiazepine. Over the years, I have been taught many techniques to reduce and manage feelings such as anxiety, but I have realised that I haven’t really been putting these techniques into practise in the past…. I am finding them helpful now. ❤️
The way I picture ‘internal war’ is avoiding feeling your own feelings, or becoming ashamed or angry with yourself and trying to fight your own self. And I am certain that’s what led me to addiction. I self medicated (which I thought was helping me, when in fact it was making me feel much worse), and rode through most of last year, pretty numb! And not leaving many good memories behind at all.
I’m coming to realise that as the days tick over, I do have a choice to actually change my mind about how I manage my feelings!! I am learning that I still don’t like unpleasant feelings, and sometimes they surprise me with how strongly they impact my day, but I know now that they will pass, and there is an ‘after’ to it.
I am no longer feeling so bound and limited by my feelings, and am learning that it doesn’t feel the same every single time, and am testing and pushing my boundaries further and further outward, everyday!
I am also learning that most people can relate to how I feel at times. And now that I actually speak and get to know people, I’m learning that so many people have had quite severe struggles at some time, like anxiety, just like me.
And that makes me feel accepted and normal and gives me courage to keep going!
So I guess what I learned today, was that many of us are at war with ourselves… and we should always seek an alternative to this way of living, because it will not achieve happiness.
I imagine we will all continue to learn and grow everyday, until our time is up, and I wish I had all the answers. But I don’t.
And that’s okay for today. 👍🏻