A while ago I sent a very long ranting message to a friend, and directly after hitting send I followed it up with a sheepish "...maybe that should have been a journal entry instead. Sorry about that!!"
Luckily we talk a lot about our traumas and mental health issues, so she understood, but I still felt bad about unleashing that on her. After I had gotten it out of my system I felt better, but I wished that I had kept it to myself and sent her the cliff notes version instead.
Recently I got very in my head about something my brother said, and wrote a scathing message to him about it. Luckily I had learned from my earlier mistake and wrote it in my Notes app first, and gave myself a few hours to cool down before reading it again. And at that point I was glad I hadn't sent it. A week later when the same thing came up again, I sent a way more reasonable message where I explained where I was coming from and why what he said hurt me. And then we had a good conversation and resolved the issue.
Not everything needs to be said
While it is great to not hold onto things and let it build into resentment, not everything needs to be said. At least not at first, in the heat of the moment when your feelings are burning maybe a tad too hot.
If you instead write it in your journal, a Word doc, a letter -- give it a few hours or days before looking it over again to see if you still feel that way. Is there a different way you can phrase it to make it less attacking and more explaining? Can you see a different side to the story now?
It is also important to think about who you are unleashing your unfiltered thoughts to. Will they keep your trust and your words safe? Will they understand where you are coming from and offer you support, or might they judge you for it or use it against you?
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez
Take time to process
I have definitely over-shared or trauma dumped on people I shouldn't have. People I didn't know very well, people I worked with, or even my partner who definitely supports me in everything but maybe didn't deserve to have the weight of my thoughts until I had processed them a bit more.
As hard as it can be when you're feeling intense feelings, be it fury, hopelessness, fear, annoyence -- take a beat first. Do some dance therapy, go for a run, rage clean for a bit. Don't press send just yet.
Later, if you still feel the same and the recipient is trust-worthy, go for it. But if your feelings have changed, maybe leave it as a journal entry or save it for your next therapy session.
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I know what it's like living with anxiety and depression, but living and living are very different things. I believe in practical tips and methods, and I will use them to help you be the brave, daring, darling individual you are.
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