Imagine the strongest emotions you have ever felt. Perhaps when you have been so disappointed in something it takes over any positives, or been so angry to the point you feel like you are out of control. Couldn’t stop yourself crying or felt like you were bouncing off the walls?

Now, imagine these feelings coming everyday. Sometimes switching very quickly and occasionally for no justified reason. That constant up and down, being vigilant of everything and everyone around you so not to set off the minefield.

Quite a lot of these things might come from not having a grasp on a ‘pause button’.

  • The button to press before spending a lot of money on a car, deciding to go to university, or moving to another part of the country; the button that gives you time to weigh up pros and cons.
  • The button that is pressed before mouthing off in an argument or running away at the first signs of fear.

It has to be said, we are quite the lover of quick fixes – doing something to feel better for a short time even if it is not the most logical or constructive way.

It’s as if you’re in a room with a large door and a tiny window, enough to just fit your head through. Suddenly you need to exit. Normally people would run out the door, but we tend to try to scramble through the window as it’s the nearest exit, however illogical it may be.

The pause button is stuck again. Suddenly such anger can build and where can it go? It’s unjust to take it out on the people around us; they can’t be the reason for it.

Like a whirlwind we need to escape, try and walk, but all we can think about is tearing down fences and stamping on the flowers that rub their selfless beauty in our face.

“Why can’t I just feel free?”

So sometimes we need to hide away to protect ourselves and the people around us from the feelings that are valid but feel so unjust. We sometimes can’t trust our judgements or feel confident in our behaviours.

Sometimes we think that we don’t belong in this world. That we don’t act or work the way others do. It can be confusing at times when we don’t feel attached or like we belong.

Double edged sword, a catch 22.

Like trauma or bad experiences our body can protect itself from ‘the overwhelming’.

Dissociation – the act of disconnecting or separating (Oxford English Dictionary)

At times we can be lost or do things we don’t remember. A spaced out feeling like we are not in our bodies. It can be scary and unsettling however much our mind and body are trying to protect us.

A bout of energy comes so we spend money, drive recklessly, binge eat, self-harm, use drugs or alcohol. Anything to give us a thrill or a break from the numbness.

But then an emptiness comes and nothing seems to fill that void. Not your closest friends, not the expensive things you bought that day, or the relationship you thought was ‘the one’.

Nothing fills that emptiness.



“With this love all around me, why doesn’t it fill the emptiness?”

“I can’t believe I just said that.” 

“I’m so ashamed that I behaved that way.”

“They’re going to hate me. They’re going to run.”

“Please don’t be afraid. Please don’t leave me.”


Such a fear we’ll be abandoned, rejected, and left alone.

When that fear comes so does the irrational. We seemingly do anything to avoid those closest to us from leaving, without thinking of the consequences.

Whether that’s constantly ringing to speak to them, or sometimes some of us threaten to harm ourselves or put our lives in danger. Anything to keep them around.

Then when we later regain our rational mind, or we’ve been reassured that we won’t be left, we’re overwhelmed with guilt and shame once more at how we acted.

And so the cycle begins again.

A constant battle of push and pull between how we want to feel or act, and how we actually do.

Caught up in a storm, with the people around us becoming collateral damage.

Yet those closest to us stay. They see the good in who we are, when we don’t even know who we are ourselves.

“But I’m just a soul whose intentions are good,

Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood”.

– The Animals “Animal Tracks [US]” (1965)


Written by Lucy ‘Boo’ Davis