Overexposed: A Self-Love Project.

Overexposed: Internalizing.

“That feeling when you lie in your bed wide awake at night, thinking about all the negative things you felt earlier in the day, going into the night, and even at this moment.”

Haha, wow – so relatable! *keeps scrolling to mask the fact that I am seconds away from an anxiety attack*

If there’s one thing that I realize has become a huge problem for me, it’s the fact that find it hard to let things go. I can feel embarrassed, judged, angry or bad about something and it turns into an uncontrollable, “spiraling-out-of-control” series of events.

Which then turns into an anxiety attack. Which then has us completely brain foggy and prone to just shutting down at any given time until this time has passed.

Hi, my name is Liz and I internalize the fuck out of my feelings.

Sometimes I feel like that no matter how much work I’ve done within the last year and a half, there’s always this one thing that I feel reoccurs as an issue within the social situations I am in. I tend to really hold onto things that upset me and even after things are resolved and such, I still tend to keep it within myself and dwell on it for far too long. It’s different than your typical “I feel bad about these things and need to resolve it in order to be better”, it’s more like “I feel hella embarrassed/shamed/judged/upset and even though time has passed, I still feel just as anxious and dissociated as I first was and now I don’t know how to get rid of this feeling without holding in resentment.”

Wow, that was too real.

My internalization of my feelings come from a place of trauma and not being able to express my thoughts and feelings about this without things being threatened or jeopardized. Before considering how I feel and what is going through my mind, I always think of the other person involved and how my feelings can affect their own and how would they react to the feelings and thoughts I am expressing. I’ve been in situations where the people in my life would jeopardize and threaten the integrity of the relationship/friendship whenever I decided to talk about something that may have been bothering me or on my mind. So, I stopped doing it, and I started to internalize a lot of my own feelings about things that eventually turned into built-up resentment. I tend to hold a lot of resentment once I know I can internalize the fuck out of my feelings in friendships and relationships and I understand just how unhealthy that situation is.

I don’t like that I do this, and I’m trying my hardest to learn how to be honest and speak what I wanna say without feeling that things will get ruined or tainted.

Before fixing the actual issue, I will find ways to fix my own behaviors and how to avoid situations like this from happening again (without addressing the fact that perhaps maybe the way the other person handled things wasn’t the greatest way either). Speaking to my therapist about this has made me realize that even with the growth I’ve had in the past year and a half, this keeps on being the reoccurring thing that causes a lot of my anxiety and “setbacks” on my progress.

Internalizing, in simpler forms, is pretty much the act of keeping everything bottled up and dealing with the consequences while dwelling on the what if’s and the overall situation for way too long. You think about it and feel the guilt or shame to the point where it could potentially affect my mood for the rest of the day. For me, I typically sit on it for days on end and sometimes it disrupts my daily functioning until my mind is ready to not let it affect me. One time, I allowed something to be internalized for weeks on end and for those weeks, all I could remember is experiencing high-levels of anxiety and immense brain fog.

Perhaps this is just a response to my personal trauma or stems from a place of anxiety; I just still have such a hard time not allowing things to get to me. It’s taken a lot of personal thought processing and talks with my therapist to finally realize that the majority of my anxiety comes out of this habit of mine that I’ve adapted in my life, and now the only way to let it go or at least improve on this issue is to challenge it.

But I can’t lie, challenging things are such exhausting work and sometimes I wonder if the outcome is truly worth it.

Let’s be honest here: having to face your fears and challenge them always takes more than one try to successfully do it. I find myself trying my hardest to challenge something to improve in that area of my anxiety, but it does nothing but cause more anxiety during that challenge process. This is something I’ve been aware of for awhile, but it’s been extremely hard for me to finally challenge and tackle this thing about my anxiety that feels like has become the core of it, to say the least. The more I think about it, the more I realize that maybe this was the stem of my social anxiety in the first place.

But that’s a conversation to have another day.

Nevertheless, it’s something that I know will take a lot of practice to get the hang of it. It’s going to take time to identify where this adaption came from and how I can stop automatically resetting myself to this mindset when things trigger certain things in me, but there’s nothing wrong if you internalize your feelings and it doesn’t mean you’re a weak person. You’re not this pushover if you internalize your feelings, but it doesn’t serve you when you do that. It just hurts you in the end, trust me.

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