This is an edited version of something I hand wrote in my journal this morning:
Over the past year or two I've gradually become more aware and open to emotions that are fairly new to me: joy, contentment, happiness, self-love, compassion, wonder, and curiosity, among some other, more complex permutations of aliveness.
With this opening other new things found their way in too: memories of trauma, a PTSD diagnosis, increased sensitivity to how other people and especially animals are feeling, a more urgent blood and medical phobia, and physical pain.
No wonder humans love to numb themselves.
It seems that healing has helped me feel more alive and allowed me to start facing the things that contributed to my feeling numb in the first place. Depression and fear were walls between me and joy. They also let me hide from things I wasn't yet strong enough to face. As I've healed, I've learned to love myself, including being thrust into learning to love even the parts of myself that are excruciatingly painful.
Lately I often feel raw, naked and exposed, and I wonder why people don't run away in horror...why I don't run away in horror.
I'm in a place where I am successful, often content, proud, motivated, and purposeful. In order to get here, and to stay here, it seems I am having to recognize the parts of myself I've been ignoring. Without those parts, I can't move forward. I can't live as only part of a whole person.
It's like I was cracked open, broken, put back together quickly before anyone could gawk at the mess, and then carefully taken apart again in a safer time and place. Now I am sorting through the pieces, cleaning out the unhelpful stuff, figuring out what's Me, and working to put it back together again in a way that is beautiful and makes sense. It hurts, and at the same time, it's exciting and invigorating.
It's like cleaning out the infection I've been carrying around for decades in an old wound.
I hope this helps someone else to hear this.