Recent journal posts (from 11 years ago) highlight my inability to verbalise effectively or even appropriately. It had been a constant theme throughout my training and yet here I was still unable to do it when I really needed to. My Englishness, shyness, and please others driver were all limiting factors in this endeavour, but that does not explain how, after years of training, I was still struggling to voice where I was. Reading those entries again, it’s clear to me that the main problem was always the emotions.
Just like a few drops of dye are able to cloud the transparency of water, emotions can be strong enough to taint everything. It was when I was at my most emotional that I needed to report back calmly and clearly, with no agenda, no games (e.g. looking to be rescued) and no emotional outbursts. I knew how effective it was to verbalise my state and I had plenty of evidence that it worked, but I seemed powerless to do it because the emotions I felt at the time – resentment, annoyance, frustration and some despair – dominated me so easily.
Those entries mark the beginning of the end of my time at the house. In the months that followed, I began to withdraw more and more. I cherished stolen time to myself and stretched it out so far that my eventual reappearance became conspicuous. That only served to heighten the existing emotions, making it even more difficult to verbalise appropriately and, before I knew it, I would spiral down, free-falling so quickly that I was unable to catch myself. Looking back, all I needed to do was state where I was. Easily, effortlessly, unemotionally.
That’s the key to effective verbalisation: become aware of your state, separate out the emotions and report the facts. It seems straightforward enough, but it takes awareness, discipline and practice because emotions exert a powerful influence. They can easily distract and dominate us, rendering us incapable. A good place to start is a simple acknowledgment of the emotions we feel. Simple, maybe, but not always easy.