I feel one thing: the Nothing. Yes, I have named it, like a pet. The Nothing is the constant numbness that lives inside me. It makes me feel like my feelings are under sedatives. Nothing is ever too sad, too scary, too joyous or too frightening to touch me for real. I have this shield around me that seems to bounce back any serious emotions. The result is that I’m always midly annoyed, mildly happy, mildly in love.
I wrote the excerpt above years ago in frustration as this emptiness was eating me from the inside. How is it possible that in a world full of things and people I could not experience any of that?
I felt empty. Everything still inside me. To me it was the same if it was Monday or Tuesday, Fall or Spring, if I was alive or dead. I did not care about things.
Except for the fact that I did care. Just, it was too much. They say it’s impossible to care too much, and I say, it is. Too much is when it gets you and you start feeling worried for the other, sad or happy or whatever else for the other.
You feel for two people. Feelings in yourself are enough as they are, but no, you feel for another person too. So you are double sad and double worried. Until it’s too much.
Your brain overloads and commands that you take a rest. That’s when Nothing comes in. You cared so much that to recover now you will be disinterested in things.
Things you loved to do before start to not matter to you. People start to not matter to you. Goals. Everything.
And people will notice, as you will be doing the same things without the spark you had before. And they will start asking questions you do not know how to answer.
Because you can’t say “I feel nothing”, can you? It doesn’t make sense. Also you can hirt other people and feel guilty about it. Or other people can put themselves in front of you and claim you don’t care about them.
My mum was one of those. She did not recognise my pain, and she pressed on asking how I felt about her. I told her nothing. I felt nothing about anything. She took it personally, and that worsened my already painful condition.
It was the psychologist who did the trick. She asked me to pause and name my feelings. She claimed “nothing” is not a valid word, I have to find another one.
And I started to name some others, and believe me, i was bewildered I could say I felt something.
“Frustration,” I said. “Lack of motivation, “detachment,”disinterest,” and last but not least, “anger.” She made me pause.
She asked me, “What if all those feelings are the result of one central one, anger?” I blinked. Oh. She just told me I was feeling a lot of different things and this was even more complex as they all stemmed from one.
She then asked what I felt for myself. I said “hate”, “sorrow”, “pity”. And the others? All better than me. They deserved to be cared, not me.
That was a sign of caring too much for the others and not enough for myself.
And it was anger, for real, and lack of self-love, the feelings that overloaded my brain.
I was angry at my mum because she did not understand. I felt like that; I was not choosing it. I was angry at my dad because he got angry at me because I always looked unhappy. I was angry at myself for not being able to communicate. I was angry about my past.
But, I never said it. Anger bottled up quietly inside me until it was too much to bear.
The lack of self-love was so obvious. I was not taking care of myself mentally, physically, and socially. Rather, I was always taking care of other people. I was just drifting through life.
This discovery, the feeling too many things so that my brain became overloaded, was revolutionary for me. I felt something! I just needed to decrease the amount of it.
I started to say what I was angry about to my parents. Then to my friends. Then I started to tell it to myself first and then evaluating if it could be dealt by me alone or I needed other’s help.
The journey through the lack of self-love was trickier, but eventually, I got there.
Coming to today, I manage my anger much better. When I feel angry, I think about it before speaking, and I try to understand what causes it and what I can do about it.
I still care about others, but it doesn’t get to me anymore. I don’t feel for two, I feel for one, and I love that one now.
I feel like I’m back from the dead. I feel excited again, I feel hopeful, I feel love, I feel sadness, happiness, motivation. And I made space for these emotions by decluttering my brain and speaking up.
It was not an easy journey, but it was so worth it.