Updated: Jun 10, 2020
By Emma Williamson
"In those moments it feels like I can no longer express myself with words but the pain I feel needs to get out."
A personal reflection
It is not without reserve that I begin this next post but in the name of honesty and confronting harsh truths, I will. For much of my life I’ve had a perception of myself as basically good. Good, what is that? A totally subjective idea that few people could find consensus on defining. I think my friends and family would say I am a decent person. However, I have wondered where goodness features when I am angry. I can describe instances, mostly in my relationships, but often in other circumstances too, where I have found myself angry, and not just angry, but wanting to do something that physically released that anger. I have broken a picture frame, I have hurt my hand punching a door, I have screamed until my lungs hurt.
I am not a violent person?
This is how I would define myself “not violent”. However in those moments it feels like I can no longer express myself with words but the pain I feel inside needs to get out. This will be abhorrent to some people who may never have felt like this, and I am the first to admit that I was not a healthy version of myself when this was happening. Does it excuse me when I say “only the most extreme circumstances would bring this out in me”? I don’t think so.
The difficult realisation is that in those moments I never felt like I had a choice over my behaviour. Who wants to hurt themselves or their loved ones like that? It might be naive of me but I still hold onto the belief that given a considered, conscious choice, no-one would want to feel that anger or subject anyone else to it. It is utterly debilitating and robs you of your senses.
Luckily for me after these incidents occurred I had the privilege of seeing a therapist. It quickly became obvious I had some unresolved issues from my childhood that were contributing to these feelings of anger. My therapy is an ongoing process, but what became very clear was that the questioning of my self-worth was a major problem and really did trigger frustration and anger for me.
So where does this fit into The Feel Better Project?
It’s all about the tools. Therapy has given me an array of useful gadgets and gizmos to help me deal with conflict, starting with the basis of mental health - self worth. It taught me to ask for what I want, in healthy ways, because I deserved it. It taught me to be honest, to sometimes be selfish. It taught me things I don’t even know it has taught me yet. I learned at 35 years old to be a better version of myself. The most important thing to take away from this is that we are intelligent creatures, who can learn, who can against all odds, change, who can be better and feel better.
This is why I became part of this amazing project because I found empathy in the most alien of places. I was forced to confront the idea that my unhealthy emotions had the potential for unhealthy outcomes, not just for myself but for the people I love. If my behaviour had gone unchecked, if my anger escalated, becoming worse and worse with each unacknowledged emotion, where would it end? How bad would it have become? But it did not. Because I got help and I learned about who I am and how I could feel better.
I learned that anger was not inevitable and so maybe violence is not inevitable.
To listen to Elisa's personal story of healing trauma click here
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This article reflects the specific experience of the author and is not a substitute for seeking professional mental health support.