When I was suffering with the burden of social anxieties, survival was all I cared. I was terrified of my fears and anxieties that I tried to suppress my emotions. I reasoned that if I felt nothing, then fear should pop up less. However, this did not work for me.
Sometimes I tried to fight my anxieties. This might work for a few seconds, but I would get an adrenaline burst, then things would just fall apart. Sometimes I would try to be passive and stay limp, but I would just end up suffering in silence.
In year 1992 I started seeing a psychologist. At my first appointment with my therapist I dumped a lot of my sad stories on her. I probably cried a river during that session. I was a little embarrassed, but I felt quite relieved afterwards.
If tears could make me feeling better, then I realized that I might not need to suppress my emotions. Rather, I wished to experience emotions like normal people do.
I had one book that my therapist recommended me to read, and it had a practice on how to uncover emotions. When I initially read it it sounded far-fetched to me. I was supposed to lie on a bed, and be very relaxed. After reaching this point then I should prompt myself to bring out my feelings.
After a while I felt an emotion starting to emerge. I was feeling a very strong sense of anger coming out; I was raging against all the suffering that I had to go through. The unfairness of it! My anger was so strong that I was literally shaking.
I felt a different emotion wanting to come out. It was sadness. I felt all the sadness when I was forced to be by myself without friends. This was also very intense and overwhelming. I had another bout of crying.
After my emotions subsided I felt more peaceful and more hopeful for a reason that I could not explain. I vowed to experience all my emotions as they were, and no longer suppress them.
I told my experience to my therapist in the next session. She did not criticize my rashness, but commented that I did very well, and that I might begin to recover soon. I felt happy after hearing that news.