I know we all watch TikTok and hear that sound clip of a guy saying, “Emotional DAMAGE!” And it’s hilarious. I laugh at that stuff too, but my psychologist side is coming out in this post. Yes, I am trained therapist working on licensure right now, I work in opiate addiction and I see so much of my own problems in it. Counter transference is a real thing, y’all.
Last night while I was working my second job (trust me, having only written 1 book and I’m not a licensed therapist yet, writing doesn’t pay the bills either), my car brakes started grinding. I couldn’t work Lyft for the night, I feared I wouldn’t have transportation and I’d be bumming rides all week until my garage could find time for me in my schedule and I couldn’t pay for the work and OH MY GOD HOW DOES ANYBODY SURVIVE IN THIS CAPITALIST HELLSCAPE OF MODERN AMERICA?!?! I have been on emotional overload for almost 14 hours, but my garage was able to fix it today. As a bonus, they had this awesome book in their free book basket in the lobby, which made my morning!
The relief is palpable. But I keep thinking about how I can identify now what emotional overload is like in my body and knowing it meant I needed rest and self care. And I remember feeling this way and not knowing if it was ever going to go away and trying to work through it. That was such a horrible way to live.
Don’t take this as a flex that I can identify emotional overload and figure out what I need to do to calm down. It’s not. This is literally YEARS of therapy and emotional work and learning boundaries, not just with others, but with myself. Nobody ever taught me to self-soothe and to care for myself. I absorbed stress from my caregivers as a child and took it on as my own, and felt responsible for it. I’m not. And it’s okay to do things that nourish yourself and fulfill you and to invest in your own mental and emotional health. I get annoyed with people who throw any kind of self care you’ve done for yourself in your face as selfish and irresponsible. Self care isn’t selfish. It’s necessary for survival.
In short, TL,DR: you can’t pour from an empty cup, so don’t try to power through your stress, it doesn’t help.