So many people who are going through hell tell me that sometimes they feel like getting away from themselves. Escaping.
“I wanted to run a way from myself, I felt so horrible,” a man recently told me. He thought he was crazy.
I have felt this feeling on many occasions, and we probably all have. We are suffering so much that we are desperate to feel relief. I wonder, if this is so common and makes sense, why do we often pathologize it?
Going Through Hell
Another client of mine told me of a strong urge he recently felt to “keep driving” one day when he was emotionally overwhelmed. He assumed this was pathological and meant that he was “going off the deep end.”
I asked him what he wanted to get away from, and what he wanted to find in a new place.
He realized his urge was “an act of wanting to separate himself from the terrible feelings he was having and feel better.” I wondered allowed: Wouldn’t anyone want to do this if the feelings are so bad?
Looking at it this way, his desire was a step in the right direction rather than regression. He could now tell me that he’d be crazy if he wanted to stay with these feelings, they were so horrible. Hold the straight jacket, HE IS NOT CRAZY! If I validated his anxieties that he was pathological, I would miss his desire to feel better and build on this.
A girl I worked with, felt similar. She was going through hell with thoughts of suicide. Suicide crosses many minds when we are feeling desperate. Thinking of it is a sign that we want suffering to end. (Not necessarily that we want our life to end.) It is quite common for it to enter our consciousness. Most of us, thankfully, do not go farther than that. But she thought she was crazy for thinking of it.
She spent years thinking something was seriously wrong with her, and as you can imagine, this gave the thought power to the point she refused to be alone since she didn’t trust herself not to hurt herself. She thought about suicide all the time. It turned into a big anxiety for her. By now she wasn’t sad by anything–except the thoughts. Everything else in her life was OK. But she was still going through hell since it consumed her.
After one conversation with me, telling her everyone wants to escape suffering. “It was normal for you during that hard time years ago to have suicide cross your mind.” Her anxiety went away immediately, the thoughts went away. As soon as she stopped judging herself, the problems stopped.
Sometimes when we judge ourselves we really put a wrench in the healing process, don’t we?
If you are going through hell, be kind to yourself. Please keep going.
Did you ever feel this way?