Saying the Ghosts Out Loud

One of the good things about therapy is that I am forced to speak my thoughts and feelings. They are no longer floating around in my head like ghosts that materialize when I open a closet door in my mind. So many doors. Left unsaid, I just slam the door shut on the ghosts, and they are stuck inside, while I rest my weight on the door, and wonder why I can’t stop opening and closing it. Once spoken, I can’t shut the door on them again. They’re out, and someone else sees and hears them too.

The same goes for speaking things in real life, off the therapist’s couch. I’m at the point in my therapy where things are starting to get. . . interesting. I knew I had issues that were affecting me in negative ways, obviously, or I would have never gone to therapy in the first place. But now, we are getting past the issues: The things that cause me pain, scare me, make me feel sad, or guilty, or angry. Now we are getting to the Whys.

Why does this cause me pain? Why did I do this thing, or not do this other thing? Why am I scared to say this or that to my husband or to myself?

It’s easy enough to say

I’m bored. I’m frustrated. I’m sad. I’m resentful.

And so on. The real dirt of the matter, though, is

Why am I these things? What things in my life are making me feel this way?

Or

What things in my life are missing that make me feel this way?

This is all very vague and non-specific for a person as honest and forthcoming as myself, probably boring to read because you want to know the What emotions? and the Why? of it. I will say that one of the things making me miserably unhappy of late is my inability to put into words to myself and those around me what exactly I was feeling, and the things that were making me feel [insert a bajillion emotions]. Voicing those things, to myself, my therapist, and to the people affected by and affecting me has improved my outlook a lot. The hardest part is taking what I see clearly on the therapist’s couch, and bringing it home with me to work on outside of that safe, non-judgmental cocoon of a room. It is one thing to say something difficult to a therapist whom you are paying to listen, and who is not going to be hurt or angered by it. It is a whole other ball of wax to sit in front of the people you love most in the world and know that, in order for things to be better, in order for you to get better, you are going to have to say the difficult ghost words. The ones that may be difficult to hear, or cause pain or anger or defensiveness in someone you care about. And if you are lucky, like I am, they will listen, and they will offer their thoughts, and you will not regret having brought it up. And really, I think even if you don’t get the calm reaction you hoped for, you still might feel better, and voicing things still gives you and your people room to grow, and things to work toward.

I still have a ton to work on. Self-exploration and self-improvement are long and hard and slow-going, and they are never quite finished. Being unable to voice the feelings and the whys is where I found myself paralyzed; It feels good to start working past that, one step, one word, one ghost at a time.

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One Response to “Saying the Ghosts Out Loud”

  1. Becky says:

    You go girl, one step at a time.

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