What did you do the last time you had a few moments to breath? Were you present or did you try to numb out with food, alcohol or TV?
As a cancer caregiver, it is really easy to get lost in our TO DO list. There is never something that doesn’t need doing.
work, taking care of family, meal prep, kid’s homework,
errands, shopping, showering, laundry…
Being busy almost becomes a habit we don’t know how or maybe don’t want to break. We are busy and on the go from the moment we wake up until our head hits the pillow at night.
What’s Wrong With Being Busy?
I have a lot to do and no one else is going to take care of it if I don’t!
That is especially true if your spouse is not able to take on his share because of his cancer. Really, there is nothing wrong with getting things done. It is just that you also need to recognize that you do need some time in your life to just be with yourself and process/feel what ever emotions you are feeling. When you don’t allow that time, emotions have a way of finding us anyway. I’m talking insomnia, binging, or over drinking.
Alone With Myself
One Friday night after a long and exhausting week at work, I found myself alone. My husband was overseas getting treated for his cancer and my daughter had an overnight at a friends. I was so looking forward to having some alone time! I had made myself a nice healthy meal and then watched a show on TV. A few hours later, restless and still a little hungry, I found myself in the kitchen eating everything in sight. I don’t even know how I got there and I remember feeling like I couldn’t stop. Eventually I was so full it hurt.
As a coach I have given this a lot of thought. What drove me to binge? I don’t have a weight problem and am not trying to loose weight. Then I realized that Friday night was the first time I had been alone with myself with out something I had to do. I had to confront myself and the emotions that were waiting for me. I was so afraid to feel I just wanted to go numb. None of these thoughts were conscious at the time, but upon much reflection I have realized I had been essentially “hiding” behind being busy. When I’m busy I don’t have to to feel scared or overwhelmed or just emotionally wrought.
They Find A Way To The Surface
It is so easy to stay in busy mode. Its very comfortable. It feels important. It’s easy to justify because things really do have to get done. When we do this to the exclusion of checking in with ourselves and feeling what ever it is we’re feeling, it will come back to bite us. Anytime we end up suppressing emotions, even subconsciously, they will find a way to the surface. Sometimes not for years, but they find a way.
So What Do You Do?
You need to check in with yourself. Ask yourself how you’re feeling. Really try to look inside and see whats going on. This may take some time. At first you may feel nothing. Or you may just feel numb. That is OK and normal. By taking a moment of time to ask you will give yourself time and space for things to eventually come up. And all you need to to do is let the emotions come up. Allow yourself to feel. The quickest way out of an emotion is straight though it.
If you want to read more on this topic, see my post Space to Feel Your Emotions.