Emotions – it turns out I have them, even the soft weepy sort.
I used to describe myself as a crier, particularly when it came to sentimental scenes. You know, weddings, graduations, …coffee commercials (remember the one with the son coming home from the military?). Just about any expression of love or pride or joy would set me off. My husband liked to turn and look at me during an emotional scene in a movie, checking to see if the inevitable water works were under way yet.
But that was before. Before I learned to hold back? Before I had kids? Before I started messing with my own brain chemistry? I’m not sure exactly all of the befores.
Some say the early days of sobriety are an emotional time with lots of crying, but not for me. Yes, I went through the “raw” phase, but I experienced it as anger, frustration, irritation, agitation. Nothing soft or weepy. I don’t remember shedding a single tear.
Did I kill that part of myself off with alcohol? I wondered. Or I thought maybe I was becoming more stoic with age.
Then something happened. At nine months sober I decided it was time to try life completely chemical free – so I weaned myself off an SSRI I had been taking for years. I’d been taking it to manage some PMS symptoms (mainly anxiety), but always felt it had a negative effect on my sleep. And I wondered if the alcohol had been behind most of the anxiety anyway. So I stopped taking it.
And then I went to a wedding. Hah! And I cried. I cried during the ceremony, during the speeches, and later while talking about the speeches! It felt good. More alive.
And now I find myself welling up on a semi-regular basis. Just about every time I listen to Brene Brown, for example.
Other emotions feel more intense as well, like laughter. Last week I laughed so hard while telling a funny story that I started to cry. My family was a bit perplexed –what is going on with mom? But then my daughter laughed so hard at my out of control laughing/crying that she started to cry too! It was awesome.
Of course, there is a down side to feeling all the feels. Sad seems a little sadder. Vulnerable a little more scary. Mad a little madder? Maybe.
But I’m thinking it’s worth it.
Happy Sober Monday,