I always experienced feelings of emptiness ever since I was young. It kept me awake at night and haunted me when I was playing with my friends. But I never had any idea what it meant and where it came from.
It was like this dark, foggy cloud that followed me everywhere I went. It wasn’t until I got diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder in 2019 that I got my answers. Finally, I understood where these feelings of emptiness were coming from.
Reading books about it only confused me further. You are supposed to do Dialectical Behaviour Therapy and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and take medicine and, and, and. The list never ends.
But then I began reading different material. Spiritual material. What I discovered were meditation and mindfulness. The wonderful world of living in the moment and noticing what arises in me.
Let me tell you more about that.
You see, the second I feel the big empty, I notice it. I take a moment of pure awareness and stretch it over the whole feeling. Like, wrap it up in a nice blanket of consciousness so I can observe it closely.
The minute I do that, the emptiness doesn’t seem as scary anymore. It becomes a friend. Because I see it for what it is. Numbness from childhood trauma. The thing that protected me from getting hurt too much.
It started because I was suffering to the point of wanting to die, so, naturally, the big empty came and wrapped me in its blanket to save me from myself.
Now, I just look at it. Because it truly is here to protect me and I have nothing to be afraid of.
Here is what you can do when you notice feelings of emptiness come up:
- Take a deep breath and calm yourself down. Really take it slow.
- Slowly expand the breath to capture every inch of your body.
- Continue breathing and observing the emotions that arise.
- Say an affirmation: I accept these feelings of emptiness and I thank them for being here.
- Look for any signs that your body may be giving you. For example, you might feel anxiety or tightness in your chest.
- Accept them as signs that point to where your pain comes from.
- Continue breathing until you feel better. It may take several minutes before you feel the big empty subside.
This may seem like a lot of steps but the more you practice, the better you will get at it.
I find that going through them helps me cope with the feeling of emptiness more effectively. That way I do not run from my emotions, but rather face them. The second you run away, you let the big empty stay in your body for a little longer.
You got this.