Remember when you were a kid and had a loose tooth, how good it felt to wiggle it with your tongue, even though it bled and hurt like the dickens? Yet you HAD to keep doing it, because it felt GOOD.
Or remember that scab you just had to pick even though you knew it would bleed and hurt?
Happy feelings can be like that for some of us. Have you ever been so moved by something, or so touched, or so filled with joy it actually hurt and made you want to cry?
Having been so shut off from my emotions for so many years, I wasn’t used to feeling anything other than dreary, numb despair, an unnamed dread that something terrible was about to befall me, occasionally relieved by a sudden, irrational rage.
Lately I’ve been experiencing brief moments of sublime, positive emotions. Flickers of joy (not glee, but real joy), feeling moved or incredibly touched, especially when I’m in therapy. My therapist helps bring out these feelings in me, and I’m enjoying exploring these unfamiliar but wonderful emotions. But sometimes they are just so intense and that intensity hurts. Sometimes even the beauty of them…hurts.
Why would something so human and life-affirming make me feel almost sad? Is it because I don’t trust these feelings, or don’t trust being vulnerable to feeling them? Or is it because I know how fleeting such feelings are, and will only be replaced with the unpleasant feelings I’ve grown used to? Or do they hurt because my soul is unfolding, and in so doing, is breaking down the walls that bound it for so long? Are these just growing pains? Will I ever be able to experience these sublime emotions without sadness and pain?