The Funny Thing about Catharsis
The other day, a funny thing happened.
I had been feeling particularly down, just one of those days where reality comes and slaps you so hard you forget which way is up and which way is South.
No wait, that isn’t the expression.
So truth be told, reality has continued to awaken me each morning with an ice cold slap across the face. For a few days, it made me feel sad. Until it didn’t. I had reached a point where this pattern had begun to piss me off. I was irritated, to say the least, at how cruel my life had become.
There is something to be said for people who take the time to talk to someone. A therapist, a friend, or even a dog. It’s cathartic to let our feelings out, and even better if we do it in the moment, or soon thereafter as to not let things fester inside of us.
For myself, I am not among this group. I like to push my emotions down further and further each time they bubble up. Now, in theory this sounds like the perfect plan. When something terrible happens, suppress what you really feel until you cannot feel it anymore and simply live like this forever.
Well, the truth is that after awhile, the weight of all these emotions simply cannot support itself any longer and the bottom completely falls out. Unlike the gentle trickle of emotions that would’ve been released, now it has turned into a giant water main break.
You know when you’re driving down the road and see a fire hydrant being drained? Water is just gushing all over, up in the air, sideways. It pools up on the road and unleashes total chaos. Cars begin to focus on the water shooting up into the sky rather than the large pool of water on the road in front of them, and suddenly they’re flying through it. Water goes everywhere, they’ve got to brake suddenly, the car next to them does too, and so on. It’s a disaster. You’d think seeing the havoc that is caused by this practice would lead them to take some measures to prevent it, setting out cones or doing this at a quieter time of day, anything to prevent this chaos from ensuing again. And yet, they keep emptying them just the same, rinse and repeat.
This is me with emotions. There comes a time when, after all this suppression, things need to be let out. Lately, I have been feeling the water main inside of me reaching its maximum capacity and preparing to blow. There aren’t any precautionary measures you can take in these situations, except wait and hope for minimal damage.
Back to my main point.
As I said, I am a champion at this woefully misguided attempt at containing my emotions. This being said, I have grown sick of it. I recently felt that my emotions were getting the better of me, and rather than simply letting them explode, I unpacked it all a bit. What was making me feel like a flaming pile of dog shit? What triggered these emotions to bubble back up? And so on.
I came to the conclusion that the issue was other people. This is another misguided practice of mine, passing the buck. I began to write furiously about my feelings and how awful people can be, but suddenly it turned into a story about my life. It spanned from the earliest memories I had as a child and continued on into the present. As I wrote, I actually started to feel shittier, and then suddenly… better again. I had hoped to post that piece to passive aggressively shit on the people that I had thought were causing me to feel bad, but it actually turned into a shit on myself.
Now I know what you’re thinking, what good could come out of writing something like that?
Let me explain. After writing about how terrible the past was and all the things people do that make me upset, I found myself only seeing the good. I no longer evaded my feelings with past memories that tarnished the sunshine and rainbows that fluttered around my brain.
By allowing myself to open up, and let everything inside out, I felt free. Free of my emotions, free of my anxiety, free of my hatred towards those who were only trying to help. Just free.