Feeling Vulnerable vs. Feeling Shame

When I have a vertigo attack, I feel vulnerable. But I don’t feel shame. For me, there is a big difference.

I feel vulnerable because I can’t find my balance, and with my vertigo attacks, I need to find a receptacle, and fast, because I vomit. See Inside a Vertigo Attack. I feel disoriented, shaky, and exhausted after an attack.

The only good news about having so many attacks is that I know what to expect from them now. (This is good news?)

When I sought a second opinion last year from another neurologist, and asked, “What do I do when I have a vertigo attack and need to vomit?” He said, “You vomit. You can’t help yourself. It’s not as if you have control over this.” I felt relief!

I knew I wasn’t in control when I had a vertigo attack. He confirmed it.

How can I feel shame if I have no control? I don’t. But that’s me. I’m not you. You get to feel whatever you want.

When I can’t spell or speak because of the aphasia, I feel overwhelming sadness. When I can’t walk, I sometimes feel overwhelming rage, because I have no control over my body. But shame? No. Vulnerability? Oh, yes.

For me, the two, shame and vulnerability are separate.

I have had a chance to discuss this, with you, my gentle readers, for a couple of years on this blog. Your comments, both public and private, have helped me articulate the difference in what I feel. And, I didn’t start the blog until long after my first vertigo attack.

If you have a condition of some sort, or even an acute illness that changes what you can do for now, you might want to try keeping a journal. This would be sublimation ala Gonzales.  I also joined PatientsLikeMe, although I am a unique individual :-)

You might also read Brene Brown’s books or watch her TED talk:

Yes, I have to write my reviews of these books. The reviews are on my writing backlog.

My message for today: You get to feel whatever you feel. You own your feelings. If they are not working for you, you get to change them. Your reactions to events are the one thing you can change. It ain’t easy. Assess your feelings: Do you feel vulnerable? Shame? Both?

gordian knotDon’t be surprised if your feelings are a gordian knot, especially if you are the beginning of some journey, physical or emotional.

Remember Siebert’s five approaches that work:

  • Sublimation
  • Altruism
  • Suppression
  • Anticipation
  • Humor

You don’t have to stress about this. Find a way to work, and let your feelings work themselves out. Write about not them—a little every day—and see what happens. When I journal, I don’t just write about my vertigo, I write about making muffins, too. That’s a form of suppression.

When your body isn’t working so well, with any luck your brain still is. I have to drink a lot of water to keep my brain working. Experiment to determine how to keep yours working. You, too, will find your way from shame, to “mere” vulnerability, and find some control in your life. Good luck. Maybe you will comment and tell us how.

One thought on “Feeling Vulnerable vs. Feeling Shame

  1. Yves Hanoulle (@YvesHanoulle)

    This is one of the things I hope I can teach my children.
    Feelings are. Nothing more nothing less.
    It’s ok to be mad,sad, glad, afraid. There are no good, nor bad feelings.
    I tell my kids all the time, it’s OK to be mad.
    It’s not ok to throw stuff at people are to hurt other people, yet being mad is OK.

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