How to be sad
September 17, 2020 3:44 AM   Subscribe

How do I cope with sadness without trying to avoid it or push it away?

Whenever I start to feel sad I shove it down, often becoming numb, angry or anxious instead. I have been seeing a therapist to work through some childhood/family stuff and it is bringing up a lot of sadness that I have spent a long time trying to ignore. I want to learn how to cope with feelings of deep sadness without pushing them away or endlessly distracting myself. Currently I can only manage a few minutes at a time during therapy sessions before blocking it out. It feels as though the sadness descends out of nowhere.

I keep myself distracted at all times to avoid the possibility of feeling sad. I spend a LOT of time scrolling through the internet looking at stuff that doesn't interest me. I have a difficult time falling asleep because the second I lie down in bed I get angry or sad and I wake up a lot during the night feeling anxious.

I know that the sadness is related to (mild) neglect by my solo mother as a child and I guess I'm afraid that by letting in the sadness I will be opening a floodgate of bad feelings. Despite not being contact with her for over a decade, I still find it hard to acknowledge that my mother wasn't always willing/able to take care of me. I am lucky that I still had a better upbringing than many other people get. My therapist says that I am grieving but I'm not sure if I agree.

I suppose my questions are:
1. How do I start to actually feel sad without distracting or numbing myself?
2. How do I convince myself that this is safe to do?

I know that meditation will be a likely answer to this. Specific recommendations would be great, I've never managed to stick with it for very long.

(For reference: I'm a 31 year old woman, single, history of depression and anxiety, on medication and seeing a therapist.)
posted by Jinxes to Health & Fitness (26 answers total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
 
As you suspected, meditation is my go to for this. The key for me in starting a practice was having a meditation buddy, in my case, my brother, so we could keep each other accountable and supported in building the practice. We each would text the other when we were meditating, which was a good reminder/encouragement for the other.

I used headspace to get started. I've also heard good things about calm. I'm 4 years in and still sometimes turn to headspace when I want a little extra support.

I'll happily nerd out about meditation and how to develop the habit; memail me if that sounds appealing!
posted by spindrifter at 3:58 AM on September 17, 2020 [1 favorite]


I've had some luck in dealing with grief by setting out a time and place to let myself feel it, so that it doesn't get associated with my usual surroundings and actions. For grief graveyards are a natural place, for this maybe looking through childhood mementos, so that you can finish by closing the box?
posted by I claim sanctuary at 4:05 AM on September 17, 2020 [11 favorites]


I have some music that I associate with being sad. I let myself wallow in it for as long as I want to hear the same song and then I turn it off, wash my face and do something else. It helps to keep it somewhat contained.
posted by kitten magic at 4:08 AM on September 17, 2020 [6 favorites]


Best answer: Do you make art?

Any form of art, writing, music, painting, theatre, anything, can be a way to channel your sadness into a concentrated force, and then out of your body.

You do not have to share your art. If you don't, it can become your personal catalogue, and that can be enough. If you do choose to, then, not only are you letting your sadness escape you in a creative way, you are gifting others a way to access their own feelings, and to feel connected with you via your art, perhaps helping them to feel less alone with their own sadness.

If you don't currently make art, why not try a bunch of different things and see if there is something which really connects for you? You don't have to be good at it, you just have to do it, and useful or interesting things will happen sooner or later.
posted by greenish at 4:17 AM on September 17, 2020 [8 favorites]


Best answer: I can sure understand not wanting to be sad because being sad tends to take up time and can cut the legs out from under a person. Being crippled by sadness at the wrong time can mess up your life in a way that's hard to recover from. For instance, you can lose a job, ask me how I know. Being angry instead is a sensible workaround employed by people who have adapted well and want to, for instance, remain employed. But therapists are right that it won't work forever because you still do need to be sad about sad things, and it really doesn't work at night when you're trying to sleep.

Choose a time that doesn't endanger sleep or gainful employment and set limits on that time and when you wake at night crying or grinding your teeth, say, "Now it is dark and time to rest. My time to be worried and sad will come soon. But now I'm going to think about gardening/cooking/movie plots."

I like to spend my be-sad time in the bath. When the water gets cold, I get out of the bath and drain the cold water and all my shed tears and get back to whatever I'm supposed to be doing that day/night. Shower is good, too, but bath is the gold standard because you can do the whole bath industrial complex "pampering" routine with product and candles and whateverall, and because the water gets cold, the bath has a definite end. Plus you literally wallow.
posted by Don Pepino at 4:19 AM on September 17, 2020 [6 favorites]


This was me. I’ve had a lot of trauma and a difficult childhood.

I started reading books- specifically “how to be happy no matter what” and some other more woo books which I have found very very helpful.

First, by trying not to be sad, you are spending energy focusing on sadness and not wanting to be sad. By focusing (accidentally) on what you don’t want (to be sad) it’s difficult to pivot to being happier.

So you can do mental exercises to shift your focus. When you have a sad thought or feeling then say to yourself: well now I know what I don’t want, what do I want? I want to feel happy. In saying what you do want then you allow yourself to be open to more happiness but without pressuring yourself.

You also can do other techniques:

(1) Wouldn’t it be nice? Spend a few minutes starting your thoughts about what would be nice. Wouldn’t it be nice if... I found a parking spot at the shop? Wouldn’t it be nice if I could find a great book to read? Wouldn’t it be nice if the sun came out today?

In doing this you train your mind to shift I to a more positive way of being. Over time it gets easier and you live with more hopeful feelings.

(2) let thoughts come and go. You don’t have to grab these thoughts and explain them to yourself. Feelings always come from thoughts first. It’s true. If you can have more discipline in letting thoughts go then the feelings won’t take such hold.

These principles have changed my life and you can pm me if you would like to know the names of the books I’ve read :-)
posted by pairofshades at 4:43 AM on September 17, 2020 [6 favorites]


Best answer: I'll try to provide some background on why meditation is useful in dealing with sadness but /r/Meditation is a good resource. Folks there are generally pretty level headed and lots of people ask starter questions there. You can also DM me here or there.

I also started with Headspace and very much recommend it for beginners. Headspace is rooted in Buddhist vipassana meditation but they made an effort to keep it secular and in doing so they stripped out too much of the philosophy, and the philosophy is where the real value is. So Headspace is great but for me meditation really clicked when I started reading and listening to podcasts about meditation and found the philosophy there.

Meditation is a practice technique for learning to be present. It teaches you to recognize when your mind is wandering and to bring it back to here and now. The basic instructions are:

* Sit comfortably, preferably upright and unsupported.
* Place you attention on your breath. Feel the breath flowing in, flowing out.
* Notice when you have become distracted. Everyone becomes distracted. Everyone's mind wanders. This is not a failure. Noticing the distraction is a victory. Enjoy a moment of satisfaction at having noticed and then return your attention to your breath.
* Continue as long as you like. Until the timer goes off, or Andy (Headspace) says you're done or whatever.

Finally getting to my point, when you're sitting in the here and now there's nothing to be sad about. There's just air moving in and moving out. The sadness, over past events or possible future events, may still be there but you can just sit with it and see it without being attached to it.

We tend to spend a lot of time in our head, making up stories and believing them, and this is is a major source of our suffering. Meditation, and Buddhist philosophy, are about being present. They're about avoiding that self-inflicted and totally unnecessary suffering.

This is already huge and I haven't scratched the surface. I don't endorse Buddhism, or any religion, but there's a lot of good philosophy there. Stoicism and Taoism say very similar things but Buddhism has better instructions and is much more widespread (so you can get different takes).

I was going to mention other apps, etc but this too long so here's my Meditation wiki with more info, you can DM and there's the /r/Meditation link at the top.

Best wishes
posted by Awfki at 5:00 AM on September 17, 2020 [6 favorites]


What are your hurdles with meditation? I struggle with routines in general, so I've never been able to stick with meditation in the way that's recommended or that I feel I should, but even so it's been helpful to me. Do what you can when you can. Even one minute is better than none, and sitting once a week is better than never sitting.

This is just an idea, but maybe you could feel sadness for someone else as a sort of "practice." Like a movie or book character. It's not uncommon for people to cry intensely over a fictional person's difficulties. It might be a way to approach sadness from the side and slowly make friends with it?

You could also try drawing your sadness. Doesn't matter if you're an artist or not, your sadness can be a stick figure or a blob, with or without word balloons.
posted by bunderful at 5:05 AM on September 17, 2020 [3 favorites]


A thing that I do is to practice with emotions in non-personal settings where the sadness isn't my own.

Couple of examples... I follow The Dodo on Twitter & see a whole lot of animal stories that start with like a stray dog or a litter of abandoned kittens. It all ends well! but at the beginning you can practice some mild & short-lived non-personal sadness about those circumstances, knowing that it's not about you & it's safe.

If that goes well - maybe sad songs? Like I could listen to Band of Gold (but substitute your own favourite) & get solidly into a kind of participatory sadness with the singer's situation there, but again it's not about my own life so it's safe. If that goes well - maybe sad movies are next.

I need to use those kinds of things as a gentle introduction or a reminder of what sadness or another emotion can feel like, before I try to apply it to anything that's more personal.
posted by rd45 at 5:53 AM on September 17, 2020


Best answer: One of the main characters in the movie Network was played by actor Holly Hunter. She set a timer for a particular time of day to be sad. She played an overworked and exhausted producer, and when her timer went off she stopped to weep for a few minutes and then went on with her day. Like you, I tended to be angry instead of sad because that somehow seemed easier, unconsciously. But my anger felt so vast and huge it still seemed dangerous. Like if I let myself feel my anger fully I would basically flatten the entire planet.

As it turned out, that was not true. Eventually, thanks to therapy, I was able to let myself feel anger and disappointment and grief and sorrow, and various other things. My most recent ex therapist, the best one, encouraged me to try to surf on top of the waves of my feelings. To acknowledge them and to feel them but, ideally, not let myself drown in them. It’s easier to say than to do, but I found that very helpful advice.

From going to Al-Anon meetings, which are for the friends and family members of alcoholics and addicts, I have also learned that feelings are not facts. At least, not necessarily. That has been liberating because there is this notion sometimes that we need to justify our feelings, including to ourselves. Today I understand that I do not need to ferret out the exact reason why I feel sad if I feel sad.

Sometimes I know the reason, sometimes I don’t. It’s OK if I don’t know why I feel whatever I am feeling. Because feelings change and they are not facts, my job is to observe them, acknowledge them, manage them in an appropriate way (if I am in a situation in which I cannot jump up and down or weep loudly or whatever), and to notice, when possible, if my feeling is giving me some kind of important information about something. Again, sometimes I don’t know and that’s OK.

Now I can feel sad and say to myself, oh you’re feeling sad. Or lonely. Or whatever. And just sit with that for a while. I don’t have to distract myself constantly the way I used to because I no longer perceive strong emotions as some kind of existential threat to myself or my loved ones. Because I have ADHD, I tend to have fairly strong emotions that can change rapidly. That doesn’t make me special but it does mean that learning how to accept and manage those emotions has improved my life a lot. It sounds like you have begun the hard work of dealing with some challenging stuff. Congratulations! That’s an important investment in yourself. Good luck!
posted by Bella Donna at 6:15 AM on September 17, 2020 [12 favorites]


Not pushing away emotions is the specific jam of Susan David; her book Emotional Agility really helped me solidify a bunch of things I was working on in therapy.
posted by wellred at 6:36 AM on September 17, 2020 [3 favorites]


Maybe it would help to think and read a bit about what the point of sadness is. Why it's helpful. To take away some of the fear and shame associated with feeling and expressing your sadness.

On that count, honestly I would recommend watching Inside Out. Sure, its for kids. But it is really good.
posted by EllaEm at 6:45 AM on September 17, 2020 [2 favorites]


This is something I am working on too and I’ll be watching this thread.

My first experience at age 20 with a(n unskilled) therapist left me with quite a horror of sadness welling up. She would spend our sessions getting me to talk about things that upset me and then send me out into the world. I would feel disabled by my feelings for at least two days, which would affect my ability to be a college student, go to classes and do my homework. I finally decided I wouldn’t be able to both go to college and go to therapy so I quit therapy.

I have since heard that a therapist is supposed to carefully structure a session so there is some “putting you back together” at the end so the therapy is like a container not an explosion. I wouldn’t know about that. I’ve had 3 attempts at therapy since, all disappointing.

My DIY solution for the feelings that sent me to therapy was to shove them down and numb them out. This was a new thing for me and I felt like I was really figuring life out! Anyway I was able to graduate college and move on with my life, but now with “don’t feel uncomfortable feelings, they will just disable you” as a big piece of my toolkit. Reading some books about cognitive behavior therapy took me farther along this path. Maybe I misunderstand CBT but my takeaway was “don’t feel emotions, reframe your thoughts so the emotions go away”.

In the last few years dealing with physical pain has led me to the Curable app and associated work, and it turns out feeling your feelings may be important, ugh. I really struggled with the fear that opening the door to feelings, especially sadness, would disable me, make me unable to function.
The main tool I have used is journaling (also ugh!), specifically the JournalSpeak method of Nicole Sachs. She has a podcast, a youtube channel and a book and any of these is a good introduction to her ideas.
With a timer for 20 minutes I write down everything I’m thinking and feeling in as fast and unedited a way as possible. Writing it down doesn’t mean it’s true or true forever, just means it’s in there and wants to be expressed. Knowing that “bad” thoughts and feelings can arise and pass away and don’t need to be owned forever makes it easier to express them.
Then at the end of writing I rip up and throw away the pages.

The oddest thing about it is putting down the CBT reframing skills I’d picked up. I’m just supposed to write “I’m so mad at Lucy, what she did really pisses me off and I’m not sure I should even be friends with her anymore!” and not make an effort to think “but she’s had a hard life and she probably has a lot on her plate right now and it probably isn’t personal at all”?? Sometimes I do write out the reframing stuff but only if it is genuinely what I find myself thinking and feeling, not as an exercise to change my own feelings.
I don’t usually experience a sense of relief or catharsis, but over time doing this seems to really make a difference to me. Most amazingly, it seems to have greatly diminished a lot of physical pain I’ve had.

Now when I feel sadness welling up I try to open up to it. I find that I generally get a little pricking eyes teary-ness that then subsides instead of blossoming into sobbing.

I don’t really seek it out, but I find that the times I really get to sobbing in a way that really feels like “now this is some feeling expressing!” is driving. I think maybe the car feels contained and private to me in a way that even at home alone doesn’t (and “at home alone” isn’t a thing that happens for me anyway during Corona-times). I now keep a spiral notebook and pen in the car so if feelings well up I can park and journal and rip up pages on the spot.

I hope this is in some way helpful. We are on similar journeys and I salute you and send kindness and support your way.
posted by Jenny'sCricket at 6:55 AM on September 17, 2020 [10 favorites]


I have similar issues to you and I never really developed any particular coping mechanisms for it (beyond just going to therapy). What happened was, for a few years, I'd cry a lot in private. But now I do it far less often and it barely crosses my mind most days. I hope this gives you some encouragement. Opening the floodgates doesn't mean you'll be inundated forever. The sadness trickles off eventually.
posted by airmail at 7:36 AM on September 17, 2020


Best answer: My recommendations:

Meds, including cannabis if that works for you
Therapy
Artwork
Journaling
Exercise

And also, by trying to stuff it down, you're essentially giving it even more time. Can you give yourself short periods to write or draw about it and really wallow, and then do something active?
posted by bile and syntax at 8:06 AM on September 17, 2020


Another one suggesting art and writing - when you feel sad write a story about someone who feels sad. If you are up to it write it to a happy ending where they no longer feel sad, but it is also good to see if writing a tragedy about someone else is satisfying. Avoid writing first person tragedy stories however in case too close an identification makes you even sadder.

This often works best if it is rather mediocre writing, with cardboard bad-guy characters and improbable events. You're doing it for enjoyment not literary merit, so plagiarizing plots and sometimes rolling your eyes are your own writing is not a drawback.

Watch sad movies with happy endings. If they are sad you will entrain and as they turn into happy endings it will help you change your mood to a happier one.
posted by Jane the Brown at 8:40 AM on September 17, 2020


Learning how to be sad, and how to mourn are things that our society doesn't do very well. English itself has a hard time delineating between different types of sadness. It's hard. We don't have a good framework for it, especially if our parents were any degree of neglectful or emotionally unavailable themselves. I fought my therapist hard on the idea that I was grieving or mourning for a long long long time, and turns out, that was a huge component tied up in several of the mental health problems I had (mostly past tense!).

It sounds like you might have a bit of trauma mixed in with that sadness (and mourning). If you're finding this sadness pervasive at a really low level even, I would suggest looking into psychedelic assisted therapy. Its hard to find folks doing this work, but not impossible. I credit that experience with a much greater elasticity in thinking, and feeling emotions. Its much easier for me to look at that sadness now, and actually care for it instead of letting is run away and compound on itself. Lots of metaphors are out there, and the most common one (that I have a hard time with, but at least makes sense now) is taking care of your 'inner child.' Treating that sadness like a child that can be tended to, and cared for helps. But that does require, what alot of other folks are saying they get through meditation, a little bit of distance away from the idea that you are not your emotions, you are experiencing your emotions. Years of therapy and meditation practice were compressed into a single day of psychedelic assisted therapy for me, and radically changed the emotional landscape of my life.

Even if you don't necessarily like the rest of the show (I found parts of it really difficult, and not great), the last episode of The Midnight Gospel was, to me, a very useful illustration on how to mourn/grieve/be sad. That episode alone I don't think has gotten enough credit in highlighting that, especially for folks where that emotional muscle isn't as well developed. I only point to that because it's a very concrete, finite explanation that seemed to click for me and a couple other folks I know.

Its really hard when your parents didn't scaffold emotional maturity and flexibility for a person. It's really easy to overlook some of those 'unknown unknowns' in the emotional landscape.
posted by furnace.heart at 9:00 AM on September 17, 2020


Oh, and I'll add, if you do have any level of certain trauma, meditation can be super counterproductive, and even detrimental early on into recovery. Even 'mindfullness' meditation would usually cause horrific spikes in my depression/anxiety/other-awful-mental-health-symptoms when I was starting to seek help.

So meditation may be an answer, but not right away. There may be other baseline things that need tending to first.

If your therapist isn't at least aware of how trauma is treated, many modalities used to treat non-trauma-based mental health issues are quite difficult to quite damaging.
posted by furnace.heart at 9:05 AM on September 17, 2020 [3 favorites]


I highly recommend a practice I've been implementing in my life for the last 1.5+ years. There are many ways to do it, many traditions that have practices similar to it, but I'll try to explain the basics. You and another person (ideally you could find someone outside of your social/family circle, but not necessarily) meet on a regular basis. Can be in-person or online. You each take an equal amount of time to think/feel, while the other person attentively listens/is present. When it's your time, you can talk things out to help you get to the emotional space you want to explore, but the idea is to feel your feelings. Whatever comes up. Let yourself feel them and allow your body to react in any way it wants (sighing, crying, screaming, shuddering, laughing, etc). Try to keep the attention on the feelings, and redirect any mental analysis back to "What's happening in my body?" The listener only listens, there is no analysis, no suggestions or advice or comfort. They are simply present, actively listening/being present for you in that moment.

Then you switch.

Whatever happens in that space, stays in that space. You definitely never bring up something the other person said or did...ever...to them...or anyone else. (Unless, of course, THEY bring it up in another setting). I've heard of people doing this from anywhere from 5 mins each to 45 mins. I find value in both shorter sessions as well as longer sessions which can help me get deeper, more to the root of things.

The first couple times, it can be awkward and nerve wracking, but it quickly becomes a precious space. I'm struggling to find the words to describe it. As a listener, it's relieving to not have to come up with something to say, and it's an incredible privilege to witness the inner life of another person. It's a side of others that we rarely (rarely, if ever) see. It's helped develop a deeper empathy and understanding that we ALL have these inner lives...helps me see the humanness in others instead of just the face they put on for the outside world. As the thinker/feeler it feels good to have this dedicated space to process those things I avoid feeling/processing the rest of the time. It feels good to know I can cry without making someone uncomfortable, to experience what I'm going through without someone trying to fix it or make me "feel better." There's something important about being witnessed, that it's not just happening in the vacuum of my own mind/experience.

This guided meditation by Vivian Dittmar is for fear, but maybe you could adjust it to be for sadness. You can memail me if you're interested in more details about the practices I described above, and may also be able help find a partner for such an exchange.
posted by hannahelastic at 10:07 AM on September 17, 2020 [4 favorites]


Also, allowing yourself to cry, deep belly sobs, can be very helping in working through sadness.
posted by hannahelastic at 10:32 AM on September 17, 2020


I find Pema Chödrön's books very helpful. She's coming at this from an explicitly Buddhist perspective, but so much of her work relates to learning to sit with your feelings.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 10:55 AM on September 17, 2020 [2 favorites]


Self-Compassion practices might help you get more comfortable with acknowledging and accepting these feelings. Here's one practice. Pick one sentence from each section and say them aloud, to yourself.

1. Acknowledgement:
Wow, that was a zinger. That hurt. | This is a moment of suffering | This is painful | Ouch | This hurts | This is hard … etc

2. Common Humanity:
I’m not along | Other people experience this the same way I am | everybody struggles | this is how life is sometimes

3. Kindness (support):
May I give myself what I need | May I be kind to myself | May I accept myself and this situation just as it is | May I forgive myself | May I have courage and patience

In the beginning you can create some containment by first thinking of an activity (preferably something enjoyable) you will do after this practice and setting a timer to have a boundary/deadline for you to experience the feelings, and then a reminder to move on to the activity.
posted by dancing leaves at 11:17 AM on September 17, 2020 [2 favorites]


I really empathize with this. My sister has suffered with severe clinical depression for most of her life, AND I have fairly stoic, emotionally detached parents who don't show emotion, so I grew up thinking of sadness as something pathological and debilitating. I've spent a LOT of my life trying to avoid sadness, which combined with an anxiety/panic disorder has resulted in some pretty bad coping mechanisms to avoid those feelings.

Luckily, things have gotten easier for me in the past few years, both in terms of anxiety and letting myself feel sad. Some things that have helped:

- Letting myself feel truly sad in therapy, where I have the support of my therapist. (Agree with those saying that your therapist should "put you back together" at the end of the session.)
- Writing. I have a Word document that I only use for recording my most difficult emotions. There's something about pouring out my soul, getting it down on "paper," and then closing the laptop lid that helps me leave those emotions behind once I'm done.
- To echo a few others, practicing being sad by watching or reading stuff that's guaranteed to make me cry. Once I'm crying, I will often purposefully draw a connection between the fictional scenario and my own life. ("Huh, it was REALLY hard to watch that character lose their parent to illness. It makes me really sad to think about my own parents dying one day.")
- CBT and meditation, yes. Right now, you sound like you're afraid of your sad thoughts overtaking you. If you can work through some cognitive distortions (CBT), learn to see your thoughts as simply thoughts, and intentionally return your mind to calm (meditation), it won't feel so scary to let yourself feel sadness for a bit, because you know that you'll be able to re-stabilize yourself after a bit.
posted by leftover_scrabble_rack at 11:56 AM on September 17, 2020


I wholeheartedly recommend the vipassana meditation teacher Gil Fronsdal and his site audiodharma.There are a trove of guided meditations as well as talks about meditating. It's Buddhist, but not heavy-handedly, so that you can take what you like, even if that aspect doesn't appeal to you. The general upshot when it comes to meditating with painful emotions is to feel them in the body, and to practice putting your attention on the body rather than on the thoughts in your head.

Here are a bunch of talks and guided meditations on emotions -- and "emotions" usually refers to the difficult ones like sadness, anger, and fear.
posted by swheatie at 12:44 PM on September 17, 2020


I'm sorry to hear you're having such a painful struggle.

A few years ago I had a period of profound, deep sadness after my divorce was finalized. I was glad to be out of my really terrible marriage, but there were very many things about the whole situation that I had to grieve.

One of the things I realized along the way as I was divorcing is that the stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, sadness, acceptance) manifest about broken relationships, just as they do in any other terrible occurrence that is hard to internalize. I found that I could recognize periods in my marriage that corresponded to those first few phases. It helped me put my sadness into context. This is part of the process, there is freedom on the other side.

All this to say, that engaging your sadness is a wise thing to do, because you can get to the other side, too.

Therapy is a really good idea and it was helpful for me. I also found the workshops and community of the Human Awareness Institute to be very helpful--a very tender container where it was safe to bring out the sadness I was feeling and be received with compassion. Something that *caused* a big part of my sadness, was that being sad/fearful/angry was unacceptable to my husband, who regarded this as manipulative, and so took it as a reason to further treat me poorly. Being in a community of people who instead treated those hard feelings as cause to respond with compassion and tenderness was incredibly healing. Having a opportunities to practice disclosing those feelings--to overcome the reflexive fear of being further kicked while I was down--was invaluable. You might check out HAI, or look for another community (like a support group) where there will be understanding people who will witness you and treat you with compassion, if that was something you needed and didn't get.

You're brave for being willing to do this work. Good luck.
posted by Sublimity at 4:25 PM on September 17, 2020 [2 favorites]


I think Tara Brach's book Radical Acceptance along with her talks and meditations are a great resource for this. Her RAIN practice might be a good place to start.

If silent "follow your breath" type meditations feel overwhelming for you (and for many with trauma, they are), guided meditation or something like a body scan may be easier. Her talks also incorporate short meditation practices so that may be an even better place to start.
posted by gennessee at 4:27 PM on September 17, 2020


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