Depression · Mental Health · PTSD

The “Shame” of Public Emotion

They say “necessity is the mother of invention”; what would you call the mother of repair?

An introspectively, distressed yet elevated mind is steering 🤷🏻‍♀️.

Currently, I leave the house alone for two reasons: To attend a cannabis related class, conference, or event, or to receive therapy at the VA. Amazon has become a staple in my life. When I am at a hotel for a class, conference or event, I don’t go to a restaurant. I stay on-site at the hotel and use a food delivery service for my meals. 

The reason I am on the subject is because my crème brûlée torch, which I use daily, stopped working last night. I know there are several stores within a five mile radius where I could purchase another torch. The one that broke came from Amazon, however my local Bed Bath & Beyond carries them. It is simply a crème brûlée torch, nothing special or unique.

“how am I supposed to heal and simultaneously function as an adult?”

I know that I am working through some depression. Is this a part of that? Is this a side effect from PTSD? Is it something I have to accept as part of living with PTSD? I have been homebound for longer than I consciously realize. I have previously written about my corner of the couch, and the acknowledgement of our small victories. It seems I find the same battle repeating day after day. The same tears arise with the same thoughts, day after day. I avoid conversing about certain subjects in public places to avoid an emotional response. I don’t want to be in a public place and have a thought that will trigger an emotional response. If part of healing is allowing yourself to emote, how am I supposed to heal and simultaneously function as an adult?

I fixed my crème brûlée torch this morning. I disassembled the torch and discovered a small detached hose. I reconnected the hose and re-assembled the torch, all in my (successful) effort to negate the need to leave my house.

I have become aware that I avoid being alone in public places. I have tossed this around in my mind, and determined that it is not a codependency issue. That is always my first concern. Well, maybe some would call it a codependency, because I know that I am safe with Joe. I know 100% that I am safe with Joe. Safety. This is what I lack feeling. Safety and security. I feel insecure if someone, in a public setting, makes a statement or remark that may otherwise bring about an emotional response, and Joe knows me. He knows, in any setting, if something has the potential to emotionally upset me. He’s not trying to prevent me from having the emotion, he is doing what I would want him to do. He is preventing me from having to worry about thoughts or words bringing about an emotional response in public. Maybe there is a subconscious way I communicate to him that I feel endangered. Regardless of what may truly be happening, the more my emotions progress above my baseline calm, the more work it becomes to digress back to my baseline. Joe prevents the distress level from escalating unchecked. I enjoy this level of emotional safety with my girls also. They are all building their futures and I would not allow myself to slow their progress. Watching them emerge into adulthood is something I am enjoying in awe.

Sine Wave with baseline. We all have our baseline calm in mental health.

I believe I just realized why I am comfortable leaving my house for cannabis events. I know at the VA, I am one of many there for help with many issues. I have learned in the cannabis community, I am not as alone in the general population as I had perceived. I have found a safe place. I have found a place where I can exist as a functional adult without fear of having an emotion and allowing myself to emote in order to continue healing. I don’t hesitate to state to someone in the cannabis community that I need to step aside, and they don’t judge me. If they do, I guess I’m not paying attention. I am open in the vicinity of the cannabis community. 

I suppose I am describing one of my revelatory moments. I’ve been wondering why I will make it to a cannabis event, but not go to physical therapy. I have a fear of the general population’s negative view on showing emotion, and I need to emote to heal. I want to heal, therefore I have surrounded myself with safe zones where I feel I can heal. It is not a self-centered act. Part of my healing will happen by helping others who may have had similar experiences. I don’t believe I have met one person in the cannabis community who has made an attempt to appear as if they had zero physical or mental disorder or limitation. I can simply apologize and excuse myself, walk three feet away, ugly cry from a sad feeling and resume my conversation without concern from others, “Are you okay?”

It’s not okay to openly emote in public. Why is it not okay? Why does the general population see a problem when a somebody expresses or emotes? I have literally stopped and ugly cried between nearly every sentence in this post. Without my expressing it in written form, as I am now, my emotional response to thoughts would be inferred by how you feel, while reading my words. I feel a lot of insecurity as to whether people know or feel my sincerity. I don’t have the softest features, I don’t have a sweet cute voice. Maybe that is how I show my sincerity, with my voice. I haven’t fought for myself in a long time, and I have a lot of fight in me. I will never give anyone an opportunity to silence me, emotionally or physically.

As with a lot of females my age, cheerleading tryouts took place in junior high. I was never truly into cheerleading, however I did try out one year after moving to a new city. I ultimately decided to join the dance line, over cheering, as we traveled with the marching band. (I’ve always been a bit of a band geek since I excelled with a string instrument in junior high.) The feedback from the cheerleading coach occasionally arises in my mind since then: I produce loud, precise words. I never developed a concern of not being heard, until 1993. That is a different blog post. 

I don’t believe this is the only reason that I fight; I realize I fight because I have found what I consider a safe place to exist. I want others to know that it exists. I remain loud and I will fight to maintain and hold onto this place. I fight for the community that I choose to remain in. I fight to show myself I retain the strength to help others, regardless of my limitations.

I became loud young. I remain loud. I refuse to live silently. I will emote.

2 thoughts on “The “Shame” of Public Emotion

  1. This is the first time I have read something that sounds so much like me that it is scary. I am also a USAF vet affected by MST and PTSD. I also have severe fibromyalgia that has improved immensely due to med cannabis. I am so tired of everyone but my children not understanding the uncontrollable tears.


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