purge - Definition from Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary:
1 a : to clear of guilt b : to free from moral or ceremonial defilement
2 a : to cause evacuation from (as the bowels) b (1) : to make free of something unwanted
"Finding Angela Shelton" - Day Six...
I know this analogy is disgusting, but bear with me.
Our bodies are designed so that when there is a need to rid the stomach of its contents for whatever reason, the emetic center in our brain is triggered, causing us to vomit. When my body knows my tummy's loaded with bacteria from an illness, such as food poisoning, it sends my brain a signal that it's time to get rid of the toxic bacteria. My body responds to the signal by expelling the contents of my stomach, and the bacteria's attempt to invade my intestinal tract is defeated. Just the same, when my brain is bogged down with toxic thoughts, I get the unbearable urge to "spit out" the frustrations and the negative thoughts I'm thinking. I know once I let it all out, once I purge, I'll feel better. By talking about my feelings instead of keeping them bottled up inside, I rid myself of the anger I'm feeling and prevent negativity from settling in and making me miserable. If you think about it, isn't the occasional "going off" natural? Kinda like puking when you get food poisoning?
Today's task: "Have a 20-minute B*tch Session!"
I already have regular "b*tch sessions" because I know how important it is to vent my frustrations. My sessions with friends usually take place over the phone because I am a busy stay-at-home-mom who has entirely too much on her plate. Sometimes my sessions take place during regularly scheduled visits with my therapist because that's the only place I feel safe talking about a particular subject. At times my sessions take place at home alone with pen in hand, as I spill my thoughts onto the pages of my journals and workbooks because I can't bear to speak aloud the things that are going through my mind, or because no one's available to listen to me at the time.
Angela Shelton likens purging to pulling the Sword of Trauma out of your body. She encourages us to speak about things not with the goal of figuring something out, but with the goal of releasing something. I don't know about you, but I find it difficult to continue to dwell on a subject once I've spent twenty minutes talking about it or writing about it. Sure, the subject might pop up again, but chances are it's not going to affect me as much as it did before I "b*tched" about it.
There isn't always a solution to the problem that presents itself to us. We can't always fix what's broken, but we can give ourselves permission to let it go by releasing our hold on the pain that it causes. It takes practice and patience to release pain and to refuse to chase it down, wrestle it to the ground and pick it up again once it's left your grasp. When you've lived with pain all your life, as strange as it may seem, sometimes you find comfort in the familiarity of that pain. After all, it's all you've ever known. Of course it's difficult to let go of... but for me, even more comforting than that familiarity is the peace that results from catharsis, from bringing the thoughts forward, giving them a voice and letting them go.
Today's b*tch session was spent on the telephone with a good friend, who was gracious enough to listen to me and gracious enough to allow me to return the favor. I b*tched, he listened. He b*tched, I listened. I feel better knowing that I've "spit out" more of those toxic thoughts. I always do. Now I can go on about my day and focus on the tasks that are before me instead of the past that's behind me.
Just as the bacteria from food poisoning tries to work its way into your intestinal tract, the negative thoughts and memories try their best to work themselves into your consciousness... so sometimes you just gotta have a big emotional puke fest and spit it all out... sometimes you gotta hurl to heal.