How to communicate the content of feelings that has no language?

English: Band-Aid logo designed by Dresser Joh...

Got one for my flashback anyone?(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If I get burnt on the kitchen stove, I’d go “ouch”. Or some four letter word. Some years back, I wouldn’t, I’d just be silent. My husband is always VERY frustrated when I accidently hurt myself, because I go absolutely quiet. I can’t speak. It is as if all the feelings are going inwards. And he stands there looking at me, without knowing what on earth happened. Where does it hurt? What happened? How?
If I cut myself chopping veggies, he’d see me bleeding, those are the easy ones. But if I get my finger in a squeeze or something else that doesn’t show, I can’t speak. When in pain, I go silent. Whatever kind of pain.

In therapy, this is sort of stupid. How many wants to go to therapy, and talk and talk your guts out? Raise hands please…

Me too. But as soon as it starts to hurt, I go silent.

Am I shy?
It’s not like I can’t talk, in any other situation. I know the words. I talk to lots of people all the time, in several languages, and I am never lost for words. Except in therapy.

Am I embarrassed?
After so long trying in therapy, she knows my story. No, I don’t think I am embarrassed. Nothing was my fault. And I don’t think I have a problem with self-esteem either.

Scared?
Maybe. Sometimes, after the worse flashback-situations, I feel like I am floating around, and need to pinch myself to stay afloat, to stay in the room. Not just float away into those strange fragments of memories. Yes… sometimes scared.

Otherwise talkative and blabbering, when in contact with those flashbacks, language disappears. I sometimes think of them as sets of images, passing in 800 km/hour, round and round inside my head. They blend in a mixture of other impressions, sound, pain, smell. They stay for a while. I can’t breathe.

It’s not like I think there are things left to explore. The whole picture is not that difficult to figure out. The flashbacks haven’t changed much this last year (or something). And they don’t appear as frequently as before, which is very good.

I’d like to figure out the lack of language, the feelings that are not verbal. Why is it like that? (And it is NOT that I don’t want to).

I would like the flashbacks to go away and never haunt me again. In a mindful-kind of way, I’d like to breathe through them. I think that will happen sometime. But I don’t think they will ever have a language.

Anyone can help me here?

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12 thoughts on “How to communicate the content of feelings that has no language?

    • It has taken years for me too, to be able to write, and it wears me out… Totally! Hope that given time, it will get better! But those feelings without language are impossible…

  1. Communicating with my therapist has always been difficult for me. I am still completely hopeless at it. But sometimes there are other ways to communicate, and you don’t need words. My previous therapist was a specialist in art therapy. When I stopped talking, she would put a crayon in my hand and paper in the other and tell me to draw what I was seeing. (I can’t draw to save myself) It, more often than not, opened up doors to which I had locked and lost the key for a long long time ago. Forget about words – sometimes it’s just too hard – try something different.

    • Thanks for commenting:) I am definitely a writer, and even if it is sooo hard at times, I think that works for me. I can’t draw either, but I get your point! Good you’ve found it to be helpful! Not so long ago, I bought a box of colour pencils. I had decided to draw, but they are still lying there, unopened. Love to look at them, so much beauty and anticipation in those lovely colours… Never know, one day, perhaps! 🙂

  2. I think if you keep writing about it and don’t give up, it will come. If you start to feel like words want to come out of your mouth in therapy, force yourself to allow them. Take that risk. The words don’t have to even makes any sense. Just focus on getting them past your tongue.

    We do what works for us. Being silent when you are in pain has worked for you this far. It protects you from the hurt. If you don’t talk about it, maybe the flashbacks will go away or not be as vivid. But it sounds like that is not working for you anymore because you are feeling frustrated and THAT IS A GOOD THING. You want to take that next leap but yes, it is scary!

    Talking about it WILL bring hurt. But remember, with your therapist you are safe. You won’t get hurt like that again. And if you can talk about it more and more, soon it will feel more like a story you are telling than something that is happening to you at the moment.

  3. Oooo oooo hands up!!! I’ve been asked by my psychiatrist to describe my emotions. I don’t know, they are emotions, they just feel and hurt and I don’t like them, but at the same time I hate when that thing takes over and I feel empty.
    I am better at writing than speaking, so some things I’ve written for my psych to look at. But I think there is something about speaking that gets the emotion out. We always speak about them after she has read what I’ve written. Somehow it is easier that way, she sort of questions me and then I don’t have to think what to say.
    xox

    • That sounds like a very good way of handling it! I feel that some of the stuff from way back when, is kind of finished, as I have written about it, but other things aren’t… So I’ll keep this in mind… 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting:)

  4. I just started following your blog and I have to say you are a very inspirational person!
    I too sometimes can get caught up in my own head. When that happens the best technique I’ve found is to bring mindfulness back to the body. Simply being mindful/feeling that I am sitting or standing. Keep bringing your attention back to what position the body is in. I will sometimes even slowly lift my arms up and be mindful that I am lifting and moving my arms (beats pinching yourself, that hurts!) And/or to focus on breathing and keep your attention there. I know it sounds strange, but these mindfulness techniques help bring me back to the present moment and not “float around”. And the more mindful you are of the body the less likely you will loose yourself in thoughts/flashbacks. At least this works for me 🙂
    As a musician and painter, I’ve always found that art is the language of the soul/mind. This language has no words, it can only be felt. That is why art is so powerful in both communication and healing. It can express a person’s feelings which, especially strong feelings, are often too complex for words and able to communicate that to another person. Art is a medium for our unspoken world. Don’t worry about not being able to talk through things yet. Words are not the only language. Although I think you are doing a great job already!

  5. when my body encounters physical pain. i don’t just go silent, i stop breathing. when the level of pain goes down, i breath again. it has been described to me as a survival instinct. the “play dead” reaction.
    i have found that there are so many things in life that do not have words. mostly because there are not yet words to describe them.
    i am figuring out how to let them out into the world.
    i am having the most fun doing it.
    keep trying.
    you are amazing.

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