One of the things that I have been acutely aware of since becoming disabled for some reason is all the ways the world around us directly and indirectly teaches us that unpleasant feelings are “bad” by telling us we should not have them, think about them or feel them and if we do there is something wrong with us.
We hear, “I used to complain about having no shoes until I met a man with no feet”. We are reminded that “there are so many people with much worse problems” and to “think of the starving children”. You know, I have heard those tired sayings my entire life and I attempt live my life respectful of others, be a responsible, giving sharing person due to this accident of birth.
Still when I think about it, it’s no wonder some of us never get any experience feeling feelings. Every time we have one that is considered unpleasant we are told and trained to push it away, to think of something or someone else in a worse situation.
It reminds me of when I realized I couldn’t feel any of my girly parts after my
last spine surgery; you know not only my buns, but everything else was numb
too. At one point neurosurgeon comes in to examine me and must have seen
my anxiety about my girly parts. He then shares a story with me about a patient
he was treating whose penis went numb after he hit a tree wrong in a
parachuting accident, so it really “could be worse”.
What the hell? What did I care about that guy’s numb
dork? Of what possible use was that information to me then? NONE. So I
told the doctor I didn’t care about that guy’s numb weenie. I wanted to know
when I was going be able to feel my ass again. It was dumbass thing to say to
me. Of course, the doctor was trying to comfort me but make no mistake he
was also very uncomfortable with my unpleasant, anxious feelings about my
own numb girly parts.