Friday, October 22, 2010

Have you gone Mental? (LIII)

There are a variety of emotions involved as one tries to heal from any mental illness. When depression-anxiety is the disorder from which we suffer there are several. For example: Depresson, Shame, Anger, Fear, Agitation, Self-Harm urges, Anxiety, and Guilt. You may view this as the "short list".

How do you approach these difficult emotions? What skills can we bring into play? One is a form of meditation called "following your breath". Concentrate on your breath as you breathe in and out. Let noises and distortions go without concentrating on them. Do not force things out of your mind, just "allow" them to come and go as you follow your breathe.

Another is called "self-observance". When we experience an emotion like those listed above we can feel it and name it. Eg. "I'm feeling depessed now, I feel sad and like I need to eat something (eg.) to make myself feel better.) Think about how depression affects you, such as "when I"m depressed I feel self-destructive, or hopeless, or helpless (whatever fits). OBSERVE yourself.

A third skill is "acceptance and allowing". Our feelings are neither good or bad, they just "are". What gives them their character is what we do with them. What do you do when you feel anger? Do you want to hurt some in some way? Do you want to talk the problem out? Do you wish to think about it during a "time out" and then return to the conversation later (delay your response)? Which response is most like you? First accept and allow: I'm mad, angry, pissed off, irritated, furious. What should I do? The best answer is "DELAY your response. It is rarely profitable to just react. This usually turns the outcome to the negative side. I think of reaction as impulsive and immediate. I think of response as thought out and taking time to cool down. In most cases response is key in handling difficult emotions.

A fourth and final skill I'[d like to discuss is called "Self-Soothing". This skill involves thinking about what healthy activity or thinking will help me feel better. For me it is, usually, one of the following: 1) Following my breath; 2) Taking a Walk; 3) Calling a Friend; 4) Involving myself in a hobby (weightlifting, reading) or 5) Writing feelings in my journal.These are my top five self-soothing behaviors. You may have others.

It is important to have a game plan in mind for when difficult emotions come up for us. Its good to have a few to choose from. I'm glad I have developed several, including the five mentioned above. I wanted to share these with you to encourage you on your road to recovery from depression-anxiety. Discover what works for you.

I hope your weekend began on a good note tonight. Thanks for reading.

Typos and all ... God bless you.

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