Posted in after the diagnosis, authenticity, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, Emotional Health, living with chronic illness

Can’t We Turn Off Our Feelings?

There are definitely those days when it would be great if our feelings were like a faucet and with the turn of the handle they stop flowing.  On the other hand, is that really the case?   Would we be better off if we could regulate our emotions so systematically?  I hear hundreds of stories a year about people who feel their feelings are getting in the way.  They believe that the stoic life is the way to go.  They feel like would be better if they didn’t have any feelings.

Life isn’t that simple.  Living a life without emotions when facing an illness seems ideal, but it’s really a bad idea.  Think about what would happen if you put the stopper in the drain of your sink and you kept the water flowing; you’d wind up with one big flood.  That’s the same thing that happens when you don’t let your emotions surface, they back up and eventually you have a flood and as we’ve seen in the Midwest, floods cause a huge amount of damage.  They level everything in their path and cover it with mud.

Don’t worry when you feel something; worry when you don’t.  If I can leave you with any words of wisdom that would be them.  Living a stifled life is a set-up for heartache and pain.  I’m not saying that you have to leak all over the place, but there is a time and place for all your emotions to be expressed.

If you bottle your emotions when facing a life-altering illness then all you’re doing is feeding the disease.  Our goal is to limit the amount of energy and power we give to our illness.  Don’t rob yourself of the opportunity to be honest about your feelings.  We all know that having a illness sucks.  No one expects you to be happy and joyful about facing a health challenge.  As long as you keep it authentic people will respond with understanding and compassion; that fuels healing.


I've lived my life in service to others. I'm focused on mental health and how it impacts our relationships, culture, and society. Through creative expression and narrative I believe we can impact change.

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