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In my counseling class at seminary, we’ve been talking about family dynamics. It’s been a tough discussion, what with all of the talk about abuse, narcissistic families, borderline personality disorder and digging into one’s own story.

It’s especially tough when some of what the class dredges up is your own story, your own anxiety, your own muck.

I see a counselor regularly. I had a two hour session today. It was one of the hardest two hours I’ve ever experienced. What I didn’t exactly anticipate was my utter exhaustion after the session.

Emotions are something which mystify me even now. Growing up, they were volatile. Unsafe. Undesirable. There were even repercussions for expressing them and no modeling of how to express them appropriately. As a result, I’ve had to learn a lot of this stuff of my own accord. Even then, I’ve not understood their power and exactly how much energy they take.

Sometimes I wish I could turn them off. Most of the time, they make me feel alive. But they do hurt a lot. And they definitely sap my energy. I think that’s one reason I was so productive in high school and most of college…I ignored my emotions and had a ton of energy.

Too bad real life doesn’t work that way.

It really felt like my energy levels were decreasing as I sat in my counselor’s office. He has a stash of candy and I was working my way through the pile of it, hoping the sugar would take my mind off of how drained I was feeling. I’d share something difficult and pop another mini Twix into my mouth. Pretty sure I ate almost all the Twix in the office.

After the session, I had lunch in my car while listening to a local NPR program. Then I had an appointment with the chiropractor. Afterwards, I drove home and went to bed. I slept for nearly 3 hours before driving to church where I had dinner, conducted the children’s choir, and then came home.

My brain is tired. I can barely think. I was going to work on a school project, but I just can’t. I’m just tired. So much has happened and is happening that I feel like I’m reduced to walking even though others around me jog by at a brisk pace.

Will I get used to having emotions?

I really hope so.