Addressing the Avoided

A few days back, for the first time ever, I had a moderate level anxiety attack. Heavy breathing, heart palpitations, uncontrollable tears… I could actually hear my heartbeats, while falling short of breath. Fortunately, this happened when my mother was there by my side; so she helped me calm down. However, those few minutes of perturbation served as a warning sign to address what I had been avoiding for long – my emotions.

The past few weeks have been difficult for all of us. We are all confined to our homes, confronting the worst possible nightmare. Seeing the things we had planned falling apart; all while feeling miserable and helpless about the current situation. This is what many of us are going through, including me. All my plans for this year seem to be going haywire. The uncertainty of the future and the bleak chances of it ameliorating anytime soon are making it worse. In order to avoid letting our feelings overpower us during these tough times, we try to avoid them. And that’s where we go wrong. We bottle up all those emotions and feelings, only for them to come out in the form of an emotional meltdown later on.

A couple of months back, I had attended a session on dealing with emotions in SP College. The takeaways from that small session helped me address this issue and I reckon it could help others as well. We tend to keep away from emotions such as frustration, anger, sadness, loneliness, confusion, envy, fear, etc; considering them to be bad or negative. However, this is where the problem lies. We need to change our perspective regarding them. These kinds of emotions are not bad or negative in any way, and you shouldn’t be ashamed for feeling them. These emotions are just unpleasant or uncomfortable, because of the way they make you feel.

Emotions are colours to what we feel. Since these emotions are dull, we steer away from them. We do anything possible to not let our mind’s canvas be painted by sombre sentiments. For this, we resort to binge-watching or gaming for hours together; we feel that eating our favourite dish or a cup of our favourite ice-cream or just sleeping will make things better; we do everything but what is actually needed – sitting down, taking a deep breath and making ourselves aware of what exactly we are going through. After all, it’s about awareness, not avoidance.

“The most valuable commodity in times of crisis is clarity.”

Capt Raghu Raman

It is essential to be aware of what we’re feeling and then paying heed to it. It is the most important step and the most difficult one as well. We sometimes run away from such emotions by thinking “why am I feeling this way?” or “I shouldn’t be feeling this way.” But remember, address the ‘what’ first and then the ‘whys’. First be aware of what colours are being painted in your mind and heart; and accept them, and more importantly accept yourself for painting them. Don’t run away from them. Once you are aware of them, it will be a great degree easier to answer the ‘whys’. And once those ‘whys’ are answered, you will definitely have an idea as to how to deal with them.

So here’s what you can do in such situations. Pen down what you’re feeling and why you’re feeling that way. Then think of the possible ways in which you can address and overcome them. I personally sat down and thought of all the things that I can do if things don’t go as I had them planned. Trust me, once you get down to do it, you will certainly find feasible solutions to resolve your issues. I could do it, and so can you. Just remember to take a few deep breaths and not be harsh on yourself. It’s not as difficult as you think. And it’s definitely much better than living in the bubble of avoidance.

Khushi Goyal