Freedom to Feel – Breaking the Cycle of Emotional Illiteracy; Sadness isn’t an Illness.

In the three previous chapters of this e-book we explored how the fear of permanence and of how the responses of other people to our difficult emotions are barriers to our freedom to feel and allow ourselves to give expression to what and how we are feeling in the moment.

In this chapter we will explore the fourth barrier – that of fearing we are or are about to become a mental health statistic when we are experiencing emotional trauma – the fear that there may be something wrong with us, that we may  be in need of treatment and how that impacts on our fear of what other people may be thinking about us if they find out.

…but it’s not ‘mental, it’s emotional.

Our heads and minds don’t ache for the life we dream of instead of the one we are stuck with; our hearts and souls do.

Our heads and minds don’t ache because of unresolved emotional pain resulting from traumatic childhoods and past experiences; are hearts and souls do.

What we are really experiencing when we find ourselves in a state of despondency, fear, shame, blame and overwhelm is emotional health not mental health.

The fear that we may be going mad, losing the plot in some way is an old, worn out and useless script replaying from the past when we were raised on stories of Mrs such-a-body down the road who ended up in a lunatic asylum because she didn’t stop crying for a month.

This teaches us two things; that crying is bad, wrong and unacceptable and that there is a time limit assigned to how long we can cry for before we are thought of as ‘fragile’ at best and ‘not quite right in the head’ at worse, heartbreakingly this even applies when we have something very real to be sad about, when sorrow is the only inevitable outcome of whatever we have experienced.

Breaking this cycle of emotional illiteracy begins with re-framing our understanding of our emotions and becoming comfortable with the realisation that there is no such thing as a ……. (insert label) emotion, there are only emotions and once we begin to understand this through the medium of an emotional and soulful education we realise that even the emotions we have been taught to fear and avoid the most have value.