Emotional Archaeology

I think digging deep is important. Whether that’s literally into the ground to find a long lost relic, or metaphorically, into our minds, hearts and memories.

When I was a little girl growing up, I had a very un-girly obsession with dinosaurs. I had so many toy ones that I used to play with a lot, I had a fossil-making kit, and I had a massive encyclopedia detailing all prehistoric creatures that I loved. I used to want to be an archaeologist when I grew up (it wasn’t until later that I realised the actual name for someone studying dinosaurs is a paleontologist) because the idea of travelling to a far flung desert and digging for dinosaur bones really caught me. It sounded like the most wonderful adventure.

Anyway, so where is all of this going? Well, one of the methods I’ve found has worked well in helping me deal with my anxiety and depression is talking with a counsellor. It’s helped because it’s gotten me more comfortable with opening up about deep feelings, but also because it unearthed things about myself that I had no idea about, and by understanding myself better I was a step closer to healing.

Just as you would when digging for artefacts, you have to dig deep into yourself and your past to discover things that have influenced the person you’ve become. And just as when you find a fossil you have to be careful and gentle to avoid damaging it, a great deal of care is required in emotional excavation too. I choose carefully who I confide in, and I only feel comfortable talking about my deepest feelings in a setting where I feel safe and not judged.

I know everyone is different and that talking is not in everyone’s comfort zone. But for me personally, learning to be open about myself led to discoveries that have helped me a lot in tackling my emotional disorders. For me, finding out some of how my mind works and why it works like that brings me what feels like a small amount of control. It gives me more of a sense of identity. And talking to those close to me about personal things means I’m not facing this alone, which makes it a whole lot less frightening.

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