I’m not a psychiatrist and I’ve never played one on TV, but I do have real-world experience in the field of emotional pain. I lived through years of mental, and emotional abuse, with a father who probably needed medication. My emotional pain was born from years of neglect, torment, and abuse.
The abuse made me cynical and I have a dark sense of humor to this day. However, I had to leave that all behind me, and eventually I realized that I needed to heal from my emotional pain.
I briefly cataloged what I did to get through my emotional pain. I hope it helps you, if you’re reading this, I want to say there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Life is hard, but if I can do it, I know you can. I believe in you.
For me, emotional pain has a slightly different meaning than the clinical definition. Emotional pain comes from deep inside your heart, it comes from the pain that never gets out. It sits inside the heart, deeply entrenched, and becomes a mass of pain, heartache, and sometimes anger. It just sits there, festering, waiting for the moment it can unleash itself.
Emotional Pain causes embarrassing scenes in public, it’s where somebody breaks down crying, and they don’t care anymore. Emotional Pain will numb a person until it decides to rear its ugly head.
While it’s numbing you, the pain becomes familiar, and many people will begin to identify with it. Some (like myself) may even love it. I’ve met a few people like that.
These people are angry people, but they have been angry for so long, that they don’t know who they are without it. This is dangerous. Because the emotional pain can lay dormant for years, and you might not even know it’s there. All of a sudden, something pricks your heart slightly wounding you, and everything will come flooding out.
I’ve had this happen in my own heart, and I’ve been the recipient of an outburst (recently). Neither of these times was fun for me. However, I do understand there needs to be some sort of release, otherwise, the poison is still inside.
I’m sure there are other ways to identify or see it, but I can only speak through my own experiences, and this is one of my times of emotional pain.
How To Identify Emotional Pain
I’ve never experienced a pain so deep, and hurtful as I did a few years ago. I’d been seeing the girl of my dreams, she was beautiful, funny, and for some reason enjoyed spending time with me. For two years she was one of my best friends, we were always together.
I got to the point where I didn’t like us just being just friends, and I wanted a deeper relationship. So the next time we were together, I told her how I felt. The response I received was devastating, she didn’t feel the same, and she liked someone else.
I felt crushed, and angry, and cut off all ties with her. I went from being the man I am to a massive jerk. Just because she didn’t want the same thing as me. I see it now as very rude and immature, and I wish I could’ve handled that differently.
I have no regret about cutting things off because she was leading me on, but that was her choice. The choices I was making, the words I was saying, and the anger I was feeling were mine.
Looking back I wish each side could’ve communicated better. Instead, we both had this ball of emotional pain that came out. Directed at each other.
A good friendship was ruined that day because an area of my heart was still hurting and full of emotional pain.
The Emotional Pain Wouldn’t Stop
When I was growing up, I never learned the proper way to deal with emotions. In my family we kept things bottled up. Even to this day, I’ll be dying inside, and still be the life of the party, cracking jokes to the group around me. In fact, sometimes I’m louder than normal. I play the game well, and I know it isn’t healthy, but I see it, and I’m fixing it.
The pain stayed with me for 6 months, and things got more intense inside my heart. I would go to work, and for the entire shift I’d bottle up the pain. I remember feeling the pain well up inside of me. Once the day was over, I’d go home, and I’d break down in tears. This would last for hours sometimes.
There was more to this pain than my breakup (or whatever you wanna call it), I had a gusher on my hands, and didn’t know what I could do. It was like every emotion I’d ever felt was coming out. I tried to stop it, but how do you stop a river when the damn is broken. You can’t, it’ll flow where it wants, and doesn’t care what it tears down.
In my case, it needed to flow, and it made me uncomfortable. Somewhere deep inside of me, there was a source to this pain, and I needed to find it. I kept picturing an enlarged heart, that was swollen and ready to burst. On the heart were many wounds and scars. Some were fresh and others old. These were all the pains that I’d never let out, and when I couldn’t take it anymore. It was like someone had ripped the scar off, and the resounding wave flowed outward destroying everything in its path.
The Source Of My Emotional Pain
I went through a lot of thoughts during my journey to emotional healing. I said a lot of horrible things about her, me, and society. Ultimately, I started to think of myself in terms of truth. Who was I made to be? What do I need to accomplish in life?
I liked that I took a risk, and failed miserably in it. I’d rather take a risk and fail anyway than sit back in relative safety. Taking risks made me a better man.
I finally found the source of my emotional pain while in prayer. God reminded me of a belief that I held in my heart since I was little. This belief said that nobody loved me, and they all were waiting for an opportunity to betray me. I thought my new friends spoke badly about me when I wasn’t around. Everything had to be fake. Only a handful of people were ever able to break through that complex, and I’m thankful for them, as they’re the people I needed.
I realized the source of my complex. It was my father, or rather how he raised us. Fathers are supposed to instill confidence, and love into their children. Because of the emotional abuse, and neglect, I didn’t trust people and immediately thought the worst in them. It’s something I struggle with today and I go deeper into that in my book; Hurricane Jerald.
No wonder she didn’t wanna date me, I was an emotional wreck. Full of emotional pain ready to unleash on whoever set me off.
My Road To Healing From Emotional Pain
Everyone’s path is different, but they all should have similar elements. It’s also a long and painful one. It should be taken by everyone because we all need healing,
I Found Friends And Told Them Everything
With my close friends, I went into the darkness of my heart, and I let everything out. I told them everything, even the darkest things. With that happening, I was finally able to pick up the pieces of my heart. They helped me make sense of things, and ultimately exposed lies I was believing about myself. When you shine truth on the lies, they wither away into nothingness.
Here’s the truth. God made you in his image, and you are fearfully and wonderfully made. In this world you have a mission, a goal to accomplish. Only you can do this. Others will come alongside you, but the world needs you. Rise up and be who you were made to be.
Also, if you’re going to find good friends, they’re going to need you from time to time. Make sure you’re available to them. It goes a long way.
You Might Need To Consider Professional Help
For years, I’d make fun of this option by saying I’d never go to a counselor. It’s for crazy people, unfortunately, I never did. I worked through so much on my own, but I wonder how much faster I could’ve healed if a trained counselor had helped me.
I’ve met a lot of people that have gone to a counselor or psychiatrist. Most of them say it helped them immensely. Do what you gotta do, just make sure you’re on the right path to healing.
Do Something That Gives You Joy
I love how that phrase has become popular lately. One of the best things I can do to bring joy is go snowboarding (or write about snowboarding). If I’m hit with a bout of depression, physical exercise is the easiest and best cure. I can never be depressed after a day of shredding or spending 25 miles on my mountain bike. It’s something about the endorphins, and the feeling of accomplishment.
Find something that helps you clear your mind, and focus you. Make sure it puts a smile on your face and helps you move a little. Bonus points if it raises your heart rate because that’ll keep you healthy.
Face The Pain When It Pops Up.
With my healing from emotional pain, I had popups of pain from time to time. These came about when something reminded me of her. The next few snowboarding seasons were difficult for me. We met and learned to snowboard together, I almost quit because of the memory. My board, the hill, and even my goggles reminded me of her at one time or another.
Choose to face the pain, instead of forgetting it. The memory is there, and it’ll come back. When you face the pain, acknowledge the good, and move on from the pain. Now if any memory pops up, I smile and thank God for the experience that I can delete it. Doing this rewrites the pain, and helps recategorize it.
I seldom get a memory that causes pain now, Maybe that’s a sign of healing from emotional pain. I’m not sure, I just know I couldn’t function the old way.
Eventually, You’ll Find Full Emotional Healing – It Might Take Awhile
You don’t have to live with the pain from your past. It’s not healthy and, eventually, it’ll start to affect your physical well-being. My healing was a long and drawn-out process. There are things I could’ve done to make it all go faster, but it was my path, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
You Can Do This, Grab Your Healing
If I learned one thing on my journey, we hold ourselves back from healing more than anybody. You might be scared, lonely, or confused. That first step is the hardest. Find your people, get some help, and go outside for a bit.
These are the things that helped me, and I hope they help you. God Bless You and know you are loved.
Sterling grew up in the suburbs of Minneapolis. As a kid he loved skateboarding but mostly did street riding. He injured his ankle badly when he dropped into his first half pipe. His skateboarding slowed down after that, but he still loved the sport. While in his 20's he needed to make a change, so he did some world traveling with a motivational speaking group. Through it all, he visited 46 states and 3 continents and eventually lived in Mississippi. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina tore through the state. He jumped into the fray, helping mobilize support for the evacuees of New Orleans & The Gulf Coast. During the aftermath he helped run a shelter and drove food & medical supplies to affected areas by truck. Currently he lives in Minneapolis, runs his snowboard shop, and shreds Vail Whenever he can.