We talk a lot about the smile we slap on our faces when the sadness’s or insanity of our thoughts are overwhelming us. The mask that protects us or damages us?

We don’t want the world peering into the recess of our minds, we are afraid of what we are experiencing ourselves, imagine what it would look like from the outside with no insider knowledge, it’s too much to bare.

But the smile is not the only thing we use to deflect from the emotional and mental turmoil we are struggling with ourselves. Alcohol, drugs, gambling, caring for others, rage, anger, pushing people away, cheating, letting people take advantage of you, becoming the victim, engaging in risky and dangerous behaviours, we pile on the self punishment in a bid to keep it all encased in our predictable and familiar emotional vessel because letting out the emotions is far more scary than the damage we continue to do to ourselves.

The emotional turmoil we are hiding does not excuse the chosen outlet for powerful emotions, they are our poker face, our control mechanisms, the way we keep going. NO they are not healthy or productive but they do help us go on rightly or wrongly.

I remember the mornings stood in front of the corner cupboard debating whether today was the day I was going to drink to get through my day. I was lucky, I couldn’t rationalise the drink driving, not being able to parent, the drunken mistakes that could happen and chose energy drinks instead. But the other behaviours I implemented were not healthy either. Volcano moments, smiling and ignoring, pretending to be ok. Horrid behaviours to the ones I loved and the shame piled on. The exponential guilt bearing down hard on my conscience, my mental health in tatters. My fierce and wild emotions barely being contained within, the turmoil threatening to sneak out. Having to find ways to keep them in check so I can go about my days no matter how robotic that was. I just needed to get through my day from morning to night by using whatever method I could. It was a war zone in my head.

Taking control of the mess that was my head and emotions and lift the poker face was not easy and took nearly two years to learn, rationalise, develop and grow, to be really in charge of that wild horse, was empowering and life changing in so many fantastic ways.

What I ask now is for you to explore your own poker face and reduce the judgement on others chosen outlets for powerful emotions. We are all trying to cope with our own internal battles, we may not be doing it in the best way that we can.