I don’t know about the rest of you, but one of the things I find most difficult about living with mental illness is the lack of ability to express myself.

When ever I’m annoyed, upset, stressed or angry – I can never find the ways to say it. And this then contributes to the annoyance, upset, stress and anger even further; as well as irritating the people around me.

If me and my boyfriend ever argue; this is where the little things become mountains, because I can’t say how I feel. He takes it as though I’m ignoring him and won’t tell him what I’m thinking out of choice, but it’s not that – it’s not that at all. And eventually, the persistent asking of “just tell me what you’re thinking” leads to an outburst of momentary hate where the only words that can come out of my mouth are “fuck off”.

I physically cannot find the words no matter how hard I try. I can’t express what the feeling is that I’m feeling. I don’t do it on purpose; it would be much easier to just say what I need to say and then move on, but I can’t.

I want to improve on this but it’s impossible; because when it comes down to it and I’m in the moment I still can’t find the words no matter how much I want to. It’s definitely one of my biggest faults when it comes to being in a relationship. And it’s ridiculous double-standards because as soon as something’s wrong with him, the first thing I say is “just tell me what you’re thinking” – and I’m annoyed when he has no answer.

36 thoughts on “Expression

  1. lola gayle says:

    I feel you there. When I’m having “one of those spells” I tend to either shut down completely or go off ranting and making no sense. Lately I’ve found it best to just shut down and focus on something else until I find the right words. But let me tell you, sometimes a primal scream (into a pillow of course) really does help.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. lizziecarver says:

    When you are full of difficult feelings, it simply isn’t possible to be coherent about what you’re thinking – largely because you’re NOT thinking! Maybe more useful questions are around the feelings, literally the sensations – what are they like? Where? What are they doing? And then just love yourself through them.
    Simples (not really – I know!)

    Liked by 2 people

  3. beausex says:

    To me, it’s the ego. Mine is so big that I can see myself, retrospectively, in your boyfriend. You may find yourself in situations where there is simply nothing to explain. There is a small ethnic group in Asia which have sworn not to talk at all, until death. Not a single word, because the word, except when expressed in a poetical or very elaborate manner, distorts the perception of things in general. Word is ideological, not real. That’s why so many tribes forbid writing to those who have not undergone a psychological initiation.

    That is why, also, many tribes around the world still pray only by singing, to make sure that the soul speaks instead of the vulnerable brain.

    But in the case of your boyfriend, it can also come down to age. Until 30 years old, males instinctively, mechanically feel their girlfriend’s “malaise” as the result of their own (secretly) perceived mediocrity. So that feeling uneasy or even sick on the part of a woman may be interpreted, unconsciously, as an offense, an outright denunciation of his own weakness. All this goes through our mind in a matter of less than a millisecond.

    But, in fact, it is, fundamentally speaking, the ego which is at work. Our instinctive tendency to consider ourselves as the natural engineers, or solution-finders, of the various issues affecting feminine souls, reflects our deeply rooted ego-centrism.

    When the god of humility speaks to us – a humility derived from love and not from a purely tactical objective -, he or she says: “I myself feel so powerless in so many aspects of life, that I have clumsily led so many people to misunderstand some of my own actions. So that I can understand, now, that other people might actually be as clumsy as I am, even more. Therefore…”

    Such reasoning, I’m afraid, comes with age. Lastly, do you live under the same roof? For it is distance which arouses want and desire. – And mutual comprehension. When you haven’t seen the person you love for a while, you tend to forgive him or her everything, as the rare happiness of being together for a few hours or a few days more than compensates for the natural mistakes that people who love each other inevitably “perpetrate”.

    I may sound too categorical in my answer, it’s just that this particular subject is so physically familiar to me. And that I’m 40 next year…


    Liked by 1 person

  4. candocarrie says:

    Sometimes I find writing down how you felt, even when it’s long after the event, helps you to recognise those feelings the next time you experience them. This makes it easier to put into words how you feel in the moment because you’ve already put it into words by writing about it happening before.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. alexandraperera says:

    I can relate to this as I have been feeling down lately and I have found it incredibly difficult to express my feelings and thoughts. I know it is the best way to let out the pain but it is just so hard to share it with other people. I experience this on a daily basis, so I know how you feel. xx

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Bipolarbrainiac says:

    at times my husband and I have needed a mediator to understand each other and not go ‘off’ at the same time which escalates things. He is not mentally ill and you are? maybe you could say, “I can’t express this right now, give me some time to think” and write down feelings and figure out what your feelings are. I have a list of feelings somewhere…but whereoono no, I see it. I’d fax it to you it’s a good tool. I’m off to market. I’m still depressed from Adderall Withdrawal and gained ten pound in a month of trying really frickin hard not too. Love, Allison
    Come join us over on Maybe some of their articles on relationships will help. It’s founded by a group of San Diego women who had bipolar kids and then they got a really good medical staff, holistic too, encompassing the entire spectrum of therapies to make life better and nurture the ones who nurture us. I have a picture I wish I could figure out how to send on WP. Can you send media on a reply?

    Liked by 3 people

  7. jennymarie4 says:

    I relate to this too. Communicating and expressing myself is one of my downfalls. I tend to keep my thoughts/feelings in. I think because I don’t want to upset the other person. I know it’s not good not to express myself, but I have a hard time with that.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. missj3an says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with this. I find it extremely difficult to find the words, I can’t get it right no matter now hard I try. I let things build up and then everything wrong comes out of my mouth, thus making my problem ten times worse.


    Liked by 2 people

  9. Sandra Yeaman says:

    How about using colors to express how you feel? Grab a box of markers or crayons and just scribble onto a piece of paper with the color(s) you feel most attracted to at the moment. You might recognize some patterns in the choices you make and that may also help your boyfriend figure out how far away you are from being able to “talk about it.”

    I learned while studying foreign languages that I could remember what I studied better if I moved my hands at the same time. I made raffia hats while I listened to my language tapes. Check out this other idea about clenching your fists –

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Toris' Treasures says:

    Hello Haley. In reference to my own life, this has been a life long battle. Being rejected and abandoned, growing up in a family with parents of raging alcoholics and basically being the mouse in the corner watching everything, I was not allow to express my feelings or thoughts so this has become a huge issue in my everyday life. I literally never knew feelings existed. Numb! completely numb! What I had to start doing since 2009 was pay exceptional close attention to my surroundings and how I would feel and my counselor had to give me a list of feelings because they were so numb. This has been extremely helpful in practicing and there are still times, what is on my heart is not what comes out of my mouth. I do not think you are alone in this at all, and I also believe you can overcome it, with a lot of work and patience, not only with yourself but to those who surround you. ~Love Abounding Always and Forever Tori~

    Liked by 1 person

  11. localkinegirl says:

    What to do when there are no words? I haven’t found a good way to deal with this. I tend to shut down, shut out, and shut up. Avoiding people instead of pissing them off or letting them piss me off…I guess it really isn’t dealing with the problem at all…

    Liked by 1 person

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      I’m not dealing with it either! Might give this comment below from Leslie a try though (worth a shot isn’t it!) – My husband and I have learned one trick. If I’m experiencing anxiety or depression or mania and he asks me if I’m ok I tell him that I’m ‘fine, not really fine, but I’m fine’. We have agreed that this means that I’m having some sort of issues, but he can’t help and I don’t want to talk about it, but I’m also not going to kill myself or do harm. This way he knows that I’m having trouble dealing with something, but it has nothing to do with anything he’s done. This is something that we came up with when I was feeling ok one day and it seems to be working.


  12. Leslie says:

    My husband and I have learned one trick. If I’m experiencing anxiety or depression or mania and he asks me if I’m ok I tell him that I’m ‘fine, not really fine, but I’m fine’. We have agreed that this means that I’m having some sort of issues, but he can’t help and I don’t want to talk about it, but I’m also not going to kill myself or do harm. This way he knows that I’m having trouble dealing with something, but it has nothing to do with anything he’s done. This is something that we came up with when I was feeling ok one day and it seems to be working.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Elihu says:

    Thank you for this post and your candor. I live with depression and my spouse has had PTSD for almost 2 years. We have difficulty communicating from time to time, not because we don’t want to, but sometimes just aren’t sure how to without causing pain. This makes a lot of sense and I appreciate you sharing your experience.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Salvageable says:

    I know exactly what you are describing. I can write about my feelings when I’m calm, but I cannot talk about them when I’m in the middle of them. I like Leslie’s suggestion of having a code phrase that you can utter in the midst of a hard time and be understood. Also, have you shown your boyfriend the words you wrote in this post? If I were in his place, that is information I would need. Beausex also has a good point about ego. If the woman I am with (whether partner, friend, or coworker) is unhappy or having a bad day, I feel as though it is my fault. In other words, you’re not the only person in the room with insecurities. Hope that helps. J.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Aiden Sanders says:

    I freeze when I talk about my feelings, too, but not just during confrontations. It can be as simple as talking about my day. I can say I had a bad day, or agree that it was rough, but giving details or talking about why I’m struggling is like pulling teeth. So far there isn’t a great solution. My partner and I have talked about it, and there are two approaches: the first is for her to be gentle and coax me into talking, ask leading questions, etc. The second is for her to be more stern and refuse to take silence/no for an answer. This puts a lot of pressure on me and is really uncomfortable for both of us but I do manage to get something out, eventually. It’s just really stressful. For arguing, I really liked BipolarBraniac’s suggestion of saying something like, “I can’t express this right now, give me some time to think.” Writing down what you are feeling is also an excellent suggestion. Best of luck to you, and if you find some techniques that help please do give us an update!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. lifeofmiblog says:

    This is my world…thanks so much for this post, I will definitely be adding it to my blog soon.
    It is just as you explain, my wife will be asking me to explain myself about something and I will be completely speechless, my brain a complete void. And just as you said they keep pushing until you just lose it and say something completely out of character or at least something that sounds aggressive, like you have something to hide…
    Thanks again


  17. Bipolar Girl says:

    I don’t know if anybody has suggested this yet, but have you ever tried Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)? It has helped me tremendously when learning how to identify my feelings and express them. I highly recommend it.


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