Emotional Flooding

Warning – full disclosure of vulnerability ahead.

One of the things I struggle with in my life as an adoptee is feeling like I matter.  For me, fear of rejection and feelings of not being acceptable have been themes in my life, for my entire life.

I can remember standing off to the sides of groups of children in Elementary School, watching them play, hoping I would get chosen, hoping they would notice me, not asking if I could play, and then feeling sad when I seemed invisible to everyone else.

As an adult, I still have these moments.  I stand to the side.  Watch others enjoy their lives and wish I would be able to enjoy life in the same ways.  Hoping someone notices me.  Feeling invisible.  Holding my own pity party.

I excel at the art of the mental pity party.

This is what my brain looks like when the party is in full swing:

screenshot_20171214-145339192765127.jpg

The hamster on the wheel of my brain provides the following commentary:

“You don’t matter.  You can’t do it. You are not wanted. You are not pretty. They will just reject you anyway. You are not smart. Run away and hide. No one wants you around”        And the one that puts me into a real frenzy of a run on the wheel ~                                               “Your own mother didn’t even want you.” 

 

I have really been struggling for the past few weeks.  I have had, what I call, Emotional Flooding.  I have felt overwhelming sadness, grief, loss and a sense that my equilibrium has been altered forever.   And, I have felt immense happiness to KNOW my story and to be loved by many.

I found my birth family on February 1, 2017.  It has been a beautiful heartache, in many ways.  I have cousins and brothers who accept me.  I have a birth mother whom I have met, but who is distant.  It hurts to have longed for her my whole life and then have to re-adjust my hope, over and over and over.

I have been flooded with sadness and feelings of worthlessness, but also with a sense of who I am and authenticity I had never experienced in my life.  It has been a hard year.

I have a lot in my mind that I am working to sort out.   I hope by writing, I will not only help myself, but maybe someone who reads my thoughts.

Here is my bottom line truth:  I matter.  I am worthy of love.  I am an amazing woman.  Period.   Many years ago, someone gave me several affirmation cards to hang up in my life’s spaces.  It read, “I am a beautiful child of God who accepts love, happiness and abundance into my life.”  I am getting back to this feeling, every day.

This is the question:  How do I kick that furry little negative hamster of the wheel so that my life’s truths may run and not the negatives?

Here are some things I do:
I repeat the mantra above, ““I am a beautiful child of God who accepts love, happiness and abundance into my life.”   A lot.                                                                          I remember that I hold the power in my adoption story, no one else.                                        I allow myself to rest – Sunday naps are my super power.                                                            I talk to safe friends –  (this one is hard sometimes as I feel overwhelming to others)            I tell my husband when I feel depressed – I don’t want him to fix it, I just want him to know.                                                                                                                                                        I go to Therapy every week and listen to my therapist when she validates my experiences I eat toast.  This is NOT really my best coping skill, but I feel comforted by toast.          I pray.   I am both a religious and spiritual person.  My faith is my foundation.                   I reach out to other adoptees in Facebook groups to normalize my experiences                      I hold my dog and look at her cute face.                                                                                          I listen to empowering female singers – Pink, Melissa Etheridge, Amy Grant, Sandy Patty, Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Adele, Natalie Merchant, Alicia Keys, Karen Carpenter, Diana Krall, India Arie, Kelly Clarkson….and I could go on and on.  Music soothes my soul.

So, dear blog readers, I am a work in progress.  I am in my 52 year of life and becoming myself.  I hope by acknowledging my self-struggle, I can help others to feel less alone and to help myself remember, I have Strength, Courage and Wisdom.

Here is the song I listened to on repeat yesterday:

2 thoughts on “Emotional Flooding

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  1. Hi Janet,
    I think you express your emotions and the ups and downs of adoption reunion beautifully. I too was 52 when I had my reunion with my mother, two half brothers and two half sisters. That was 15 years ago. My mother has since passed after 7 years of slowly and painstakingly trying to get to know one another and my siblings and I are friends but not true sibs with that shared history siblings have, It was incredibly confusing and difficult but I experienced a profound ecstasy at the beginning! It was like Narcissus looking at his reflection for the first time. I was completely obsessed with myself and with them. I was seeing ME in them and them in ME. I became completely self absorbed and felt totally justified. And I also came face to face with a lifetime of hidden pain and denial. It really was an agony and ecstasy. Such a roller coaster of emotional highs and lows. I could find no therapy that was appropriate and I also started to internalize my feelings from my friends after about a year for fear of driving them away otherwise. I felt more alone than ever. But my husband was true blue through the long years of adjustment. And for me it was a tough period of adjustment. I read all the classic books on adoption I could find with my favorite #1 author by the name of Billy Jean Lifton who wrote several amazing ones. My four grown daughters and my grandkids were my anchors to the present and this life. They kept me moored. I often felt like I would float away to a faraway unknown place without them. I too had wonderful music I related to that played like a movie score to my life story. It was all so surreal. And I thought I would never come down from that initial “high”. But when I did it was an opposite and equal reaction. I plummeted into depression and at the same time lost my twin sister to cancer, my birth mother and my adopted father in the same year Since my twin and I were adopted together we had an unimaginable bond. But we were at odds over the reunion so I was on my own. A ship afloat in a sea of uncertainty. Alas it is an ever changing landscape of emotion but one that becomes more navigable with time. Ultimately a gift, albeit a sad story. Always an underlying sadness. But I am blessed and grateful for it all. All of it. It is my story after all. My crazy, whacky, wild, wonderful story. At 67 I feel at peace mostly. Sometimes a bad day but mostly good ones.
    Best of luck to you Janet! Thank you for your wonderful and honest blog. A good place to vent….
    Julie

    Liked by 1 person

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