I’ve often thought that one of the things that would be helpful to teach to both children and adults is to learn how to recognize and resolve those “big feelings”.
After all, for survivors of bad things we often end up with lots of big feelings but just as often don’t know how to resolve them. These feelings can overtake our days and our nights.
And too often when we seek “help” we can find ourselves stuck in the paradigm of the past where we are told that those feelings are symptoms of an “illness” rather than normal experiences that everyone has on a continuum from mild to disabling.
The thing I’ve found is that many of us have never learned how to recognize and resolve these big feelings because we are taught instead to “manage symptoms”. Most often this means using prescribed drugs that numb our feelings and calm our busy mind – and that this is our only option and – that we will live like this “for life”.
Because of this outdated paradigm we can often find ourselves stuck in the feelings of stress and overwhelm that we grew up with, repeating the learned behavioral patterns modeled to us by our families and the coping strategies we developed to survive.
Very often we develop our own patterns and cycles in our lives that includes limited tolerance for stress or conflict yet often relationships are difficult for us. So it makes sense that another issue that can come up for those of us who lack confidence to deal with things when they come up or who believe something is “wrong” with us – is isolation.
Here are a few ways these feelings may be or may have played out in our lives:
- Anger and wanting to fight or feeling as though we have to “fight for everything”. This might be called “anger” or on the continuum unresolved anger can often become “rage”.
- A feeling of wanting to run away, flee the situation or just “get out of here” when we don’t feel that we can speak up for ourselves or lack the skills to successfully resolve an uncomfortable situation for ourselves. This feeling is often identified as “fear” or “anxiety”. In the mental illness system someone who has not learned how to resolve these issues might be called/labeled “paranoid” on the continuum.
- Shutting down when we feel hopeless, helpless and powerless to change or resolve a situation that feels overwhelming; we literally “freeze” and feel stuck. Oftentimes this can be just a temporary feeling of a low mood if we have the skill set to resolve and come to acceptance that some things are just outside of our control. If we don’t have these skills this can become “dysthymia”, “depression”, “clinical (long lasting) depression or even “dissociation” (which is very common for those who have been in long lasting situations where they were and felt helpless and hopeless for any change or control). The less severe (continuum) of this might be noticing that we are “zoning out”.
The good news?
Today I’d like to share a resource that talks about just that.
A blogger I’ve been following for years, Zenmaster Mary Jaksch over at Goodlife Zen, wrote an excellent essay on the 7 Signs of an Emotional Meltdown AND 5 no-pill ways to handle those feelings.
Which idea sounds like something you can use?
As always – thank you for reading, liking, linking and sharing!
Please note: this blog is not a source of medical information. The things shared here are based on my personal experiences, observations and learnings; the information that became the truths that set me free. The information here is not intended to be construed as medical advice.