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To The Overflowing Cup

How I’m trying to put myself first

By Oneg In The ArcticPublished 3 months ago 4 min read
Top Story - November 2023
To The Overflowing Cup
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

My therapist recommended I try to find a space where I can both empty and fill my cup. Writing used to be it. But that's been tricky lately. I haven’t exactly been wanting to commit things down to paper.

Edit: This is like the fourth time I'm trying to write the next paragraph.

It's been hard trying to write out the words in my head; mostly because I've been avoiding that place. That place is overcrowded and overwhelmed right now. It kind of looks like a filled-to-capacity subway car. Processing has been muted, and feeling has been numbed. All my emotions are just stuck in the subway car waiting to get home and rest.

The thing is, is that sometimes (most of the time) it can be extremely exhausting to have to depend on yourself; just as it is with taking care of yourself first. Being taken care of is a much nicer feeling, and it helps take off the pressure. But if it’s only me dealing with my mind, then I have all the responsibility; I assume all the risk. And if I'm not sharing or communicating what I need in the first place, then I'm definitely just making it harder on everyone, oops.

Also, I don't know what it is about human beings, but often times people rather hear about other people's drama than fix their own. Is it that we just need a break from ourselves? Are we being avoidant? Or have we just been taught (directly or not) to put others first? And this has to do with other's comforts, desires, hopes, needs, etc.

But why don't we put our comforts, desires, hopes, and needs first? Why do we often sacrifice those things for others? Why do I sacrifice my comforts, desires, hopes, and needs for the sake of others?

But I digress, even though I don't like that word, I'm just trying to do something because it has been brought to my attention that it might be getting bad again. (I think it was me who brought it to my attention, but anyhow). Sometimes I think it's just a therapy hangover; those are less of a headache and more of a heartache.

I think that the therapy hangover is part of the healing though, at least that's what I'm trying to convince myself of. A lot of stuff has happen in the last six months, and even more over the course of life. There's so much happening all the time, and sometimes I just want to chuck my phone in the ocean.

The energy drinks are not part of the healing though, but at least I'm able to admit that (regardless of not doing much about it). That's one thing that has been helping with getting through everything that's going on. And to be honest, I still don't even know how to talk about what happened. It's just too heavy and too much all at once. Too many broken pieces scattered yet all connected to the same puzzle.

By Wil Stewart on Unsplash

I had a friend actually tell me about this rock problem method. She said get a handful of rocks, doesn't matter which or from where. Choose a rock that you find holds the emotion/memory that you carry. Once you've identified and assigned the emotions to the rocks place them in a circle. Each rock is part of you, but it's just a part. It's not all of you. And those rocks will weigh your pocket down sometimes. But I can also take the rock out of my pocket and put it somewhere else for a little bit. Sort of compartmentalize things and be like: today, my parents are going to sit outside by the door because I don't want that rock weight on me right now.

It helps sometimes.

That rock is still outside, covered in snow-

That also helped.

-hard and packed snow.

Sometimes we're just not ready to deal with the rock, and definitely not all of them at once. That’s not the kind of stoned I’m into (haha look at me trying to be funny and break the tension!)

But in all seriousness, trying to handle a lot of big emotions all the time, while past traumas wiggle around, and the world is a dumpster fire - is HARD. I live by a bay, there’s tons of rocks, but I really don’t want to carry ‘em all in my pocket.

But I do know that I need to start somewhere, because ultimately I am tired of things getting bad in my head. I know deep down that a part of me does want to heal from all the shit. Maybe I’m just scared. Maybe I’ve gotten so used to living with it all that I’m scared to know what it’ll be like without. And if half trying is where I’m at right now, at least it’s not nothing. (My English is greaaat right now).

And I can pretend my therapist will be proud of me for at least writing SOMETHING. I mean, it has been quite a while…

So I guess here’s me trying to put myself first, and trying to unpack this busy subway car of emotions filled with scattered pieces. I got rocks in my pockets, some outside my door, and my fingers are typing.

It’s something.


About the Creator

Oneg In The Arctic

A storyteller and poet of arctic adventures, good food, identity, mental health, and more.

Co-founder of Queer Vocal Voices

Some other rad writers to check out:

James ❄️ TheDaniWriter ❄️ Melissa

RiverJoy ❄️ J. Delaney-Howe ❄️

Water is Life ✊

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Comments (32)

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  • The Dani Writer3 months ago

    Mortality can be very messy and boy does this encapsulate it. *FEELS* Grateful for your willingness to share in the heat of battle. The world is hard right now. Be as gentle as you can. Sending warm fuzzies (cuz I got extra 😊)

  • Celia in Underland3 months ago

    Such a human piece and so many salient points. I am so sorry that things are tough for you right now and in the past but you are taking positive steps in writing out your feelings and having the courage to share with a therapist x Life can just be so all consumingly shit sometimes x Beautifully written x Take care 🤍

  • Heather Hubler3 months ago

    Let me start by sending you big hugs and love :) I'm sorry things have been so rough. I feel that in my soul. Your line about dealing with big emotions while the world is a dumpster fire stopped me cold. It IS a lot to deal with. But there is hope, I think. I'm so glad you've been doing little things to put yourself first. Small steps are still steps. Thank you for sharing this vulnerable and all too relatable piece of yourself. Take care :)

  • J. Delaney-Howe3 months ago

    Thank you for being so honest and real about where you are at. I related to what you wrote, so much so I got a little choked up. I have a few rocks to unload myself. Great piece!

  • Hannah Moore3 months ago

    Well done, for writing something. And I'm sorry things are so tough. Uncannily, I wrote a poem that sounds akin to your rock ideas just a few days ago. In mine, I was thinking also about how we can digest, over time, pains that we carry, so they don't go away, or weigh much less, but they can get easier to separate from so that we make space for doing other things that bring value in our lives. I hope you can find your way to bringing things into your life that can counterweight, even just a little, the weight of those rocks.

  • Xine Segalas3 months ago

    I love the idea of the rock therapy. I wasn't familiar with that and will give it a try myself. Thank you for sharing your story - it was beautifully written and connects with so many - including myself. Keep writing - keep moving forward, even if it's an inch at a time. Congratulations on your top story.

  • Congratulations on your top story!

  • Lamar Wiggins3 months ago

    I trust that things will get better for ya. You seem to be an old soul the way you convey information. Connecting and disconnecting the box cars does get overwhelming but as the conductor of your train, the responsibility of getting that train to the next stop safely, relies on you. I hope that whatever happened in the last six months is fixable. I'm praying the train doesn't derail and allows you to find happier times. Thank you so much for sharing this. It's great to see all the support you are getting from the community. 💖

  • KJ Aartila3 months ago

    Something moving forward is definitely good, and I like the concept of rock therapy. There are lots of rocks here, although frozen under the snow right now.

  • I like the rock therapy I’ve never tried it before. I hope you’re okay and working through things. I know that can be hard. There are some things you can never work through you just learn how to carry them better.

  • Daphsam3 months ago

    I’ve done the rock therapy and it really does help. I hope that you find your way. You wrote a very beautiful piece. 

  • Novel Allen3 months ago

    I remember thinking a few days ago, 'what happened to O in the Arctic'. Well. this could so easily be me writing this. You are not alone, we go from one stage to the next, at least you have faced the demons and kicking it in the face. Hoping you are doing well and kudos on TS.

  • Naveed 3 months ago

    Your dedication shows in your work—keep it going, congratulations!

  • Rachel Deeming3 months ago

    This really struck me. It's so honest, like a diary entry and I hope that it was cathartic to write it as it feels like you are trying to make headway and publishing it gives it legs. This line in one of your last paragraphs hit me hard: "Maybe I’ve gotten so used to living with it all that I’m scared to know what it’ll be like without." Because I think there's so much truth in that. If pain or hurt or whatever has been part of us for so long, it is difficult to imagine a life without it as it has been with us, like a companion, albeit an exhausting, demanding, debilitating one and whilst it may not be a comfort, knowing it and accommodating its presence leads to normalcy. It's hard to visualise life without it. I feel for you and this crossroads that you find yourself at. But I think writing something like this and publishing this is a step away from it, and steps lead to distance and distance leads to leaving it behind and heading for new horizons. Stay strong.

  • This was all just too relatable and I'm so sorry you're feeling this way. I'm so happy you wrote this and I hope you're feeling better. I really liked the rock thingy, maybe I should try it out. Sending you lots of love and hugs! ❤️ Congratulations on your Top Story!

  • Prayers & blessings.

  • Babs Iverson3 months ago

    Fabulous advice with the rock therapy. Love it!!! Congratulations on Top Story too!!!💕❤️❤️

  • Davina Z. McKee3 months ago

    Compartmentalization is a huge part of surviving trauma. I would know, since I have Dissociative Identity Disorder. It’s an extreme form of compartmenting that the psyche creates in order to function. Had my mind not done it, I probably would’ve ended my own life by now. So I think it’s great if you can voluntarily do it, and just focus on handling one major thing at a time. That’s what the most emotionally stable people I’ve known have excelled at. Don’t let yourself be buried in an avalanche of issues you’ve tried to surmount all at once.

  • Cathy holmes3 months ago

    I'm you're able to get your feeling out onto the screen, however hard it may be. I hope writing this gave you at least a little relief. Congrats on the TS

  • JBaz3 months ago

    So hard to write an open story about your self. Yours is so beautifully written with emotion and struggles yet an underlying hope. Congratulation on TS So well deserving

  • C. H. Richard3 months ago

    I loved the rock analogy. Even the process of setting them up seems like it would help. Honestly well written ❤️Congratulations on Top Story.

  • Gerald Holmes3 months ago

    The rock thing really got me. What a great idea. You are writing and putting your heart out there, To me that is much more than just something! Congrats on Top Story!

  • The infamous dance. One step forward two steps back. I’m finally getting myself comfortable with making it up as I go. Ill hold a rock with you in mind ❤️

  • Melissa Ingoldsby3 months ago

    I’m proud of you for writing this! I truly appreciate your raw honesty here and I really understand this: Edit: This is like the fourth time I'm trying to write the next paragraph. Very relatable and truly a piece we all can appreciate

  • Anna Turnitsa 3 months ago

    Great read!! Thanks, I liked numb, although my brain is not this way anymore. I like the band Social Distortion and used to have one of their t-shirts. The short had a dancing skeleton on it. I guess this is how I get through the busy subway car - As a skeleton. :)

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