Wow - really? There is a solution to stop feeling emotional pain?! Yes - and it takes a countermeasure, folks.
Throughout childhood, adolescence and far too great a period of my young adulthood I was under the false impression that emotions were scary, and not my friend. But we are not put together haphazardly - everything in our mind and body has a purpose and serves to ensure our survival. Emotions are no different. They serve as a reminder when we are not balanced, and must take action to get that peace and balance restored.
I learned this the hard way, I was not always this way. I was once a post-traumatized reactionary who feared everything including myself. I feared God, humanity, spiders, emotions - everything... even myself. I didn't trust myself or anything for that matter. Well, there are many blogs to write on those elements but I am not interested in dwelling for this blog - I am focused on sharing the solution.
Isaac Newton was so inspired to investigate and then propose, and prove, what we now call Newton's Laws of Motion. I was inspired because the first law is the one that proves my theory that the use of countermeasures will stop emotional pain(and the physical pain caused by emotion). Here is Newton's first law:
An object either remains at rest or continues to move at a constant speed and direction (velocity), unless acted upon by a force.
Many people (including myself far too often) act as though life is random and full of confusion - but it's not - and we don't have to have that mind-frame when we can take a full pause, reflect upon agreed certainties, and then apply them to a situation at hand.
This won't appeal to everyone (that is a certainty) so if you are one of the few who think as I do let apply Newton's first law to an emotional charged situation. (and by the way - this is what I do as my livelihood - if you are interested in discussing it more, one-on-one hit the Contact tab.)
Let's say you have a spouse, you and they are not getting along and you are not quite sure where/when it began. Using this law, we can guarantee that unless there is a force acted upon the situation using a countermeasure the discomfort will grow and eventually cause disconnect and withdrawn - possibly divorce. That's fact. Let's switch it around though. Let's say that you collectively act on the situation at hand with a force (maybe counseling, a marriage retreat, prayer, and commitment) - then the track that your relationship is on will be altered.
Let's say you are a child and there is something you want at a store and your parent says no, but because of the force of desire to have your needs/wants met you fuss and fuss unrelenting. Now, I don't know about you but as a kid it took some kind of consequence for me to fall in line with the expected behavior that I was being trained up into. Behavior (fussing) + force (consequence) = changed behavior (relenting)
You see, emotional discomfort is no different - it will continue down it's path (anger, depression, hopelessness) until you do something about the cause of those emotions.
Be blessed, be well!
*photo by Jonathan Pendleton
Do you keep a record, a journal, a diary, or a notebook with random doodles? Anything that helps you record where you have been, what you have tried, and most importantly - the nature of your thoughts? If you have thought about it but are not convinced, let me help by confirming - It is crucial!!
Last week I mentioned to a friend that I can tell when my thoughts are getting cluttered because of the physical manifestation of clutter at home. In the old days of hard-core depression it was evidenced in the lack of my physical care - flossing was optional, hair - eh, and my sleep pattern was terrible. Now it is less obvious (not that it was obvious to be then)- but unmanaged thoughts and neglected emotions still leave clues. Having accountability is amazing - telling a safe friend of those tendencies may help, and recording them is a way of managing yourself in accountability. No one wants to remain depressed or in a mind-cluttered fog, so leave a trail of breadcrumbs (record) for yourself and enlist someone to help you fight this battle of thoughts.
Transparency: I'll be honest, I am not always consistent with this record - I am working in progress. There is so much positive when I do: I can more quickly align my thoughts with my heart, I can discern what doesn't match, and choose to move away from people or events that don't bring benefit to who I am or the outcome of my goals. It's effectiveness is most clear when all the world seems to be falling down - I can look through the pattern of my thoughts and note a negative trend.
So, what to do after you have begun and noticed trends? Glad you asked. ;-)
Thoughts precede emotions, so start testing the validity (or truth) of your thoughts and remember, not all your thoughts come from you. Are you cluttered? Enlist someone to help you navigate: a confidant, a friend, coach, pastor or a wise elder. Navigating our path alone seems less frightening then trusting another - definitely feels preferable, but the facts is that we are not objective. To be objective a person must be unbiased, able to face facts apart from emotion - that is something no one is about themselves. To make progress, and navigate to the heart of a matter, objectivity is mandatory.
I read an article this morning whose title read "Sense of Self - MS may challenge you to redefine who you are and what you want out of life" - THAT'S IT! I wish I had come up with that for PNES and/or PTSD, but I didn't so I will borrow it and give credit. :-)
PNES/NEAD/NES does challenge you to redefine who you are and what you want out of life... and in fact it did. So, what's the point? You must take action and ask yourself: How persistent are you in redefining your sense of self, your identity? Maybe, like me, you didn't know that was necessary or even how to. Once upon a time I thought it was a core strength to be all things for all people - a chameleon who adapts and changes to suit her environment. Maybe you, like myself once upon a time, couldn't sit still and kept busy to avoid that "being still" time... Here's the problem I found with those two elements of old me - I didn't know who I was, which meant I didn't know where I belonged. I didn't question the reasonably questionable people or activities I was asked to be involved with - I didn't know that I could, or how, or when even to say no. If you don't know who you are, you don't know where the boundaries lay. Here are some thoughts for you to question yourself and the elements of your life with? What are your kind of people - are they compassionate, caring, cool (tons of more adjective for you to use)? Do you recognize that in your crowd now? Do you even have a crowd? Do you want a group of identity makers around you?
It is said that we know who we are by who we associate with and I believe that to be true because it has very much been a truth in my journey. Redefining yourself post-PNES or PTSD is essential. For me, getting clarity on who I was (which I was not at all happy with once I got a good look) allowed me to explore who I wanted to be (and am becoming). If you want something you don't have you must go after it ferociously, get brave and dig to explore. :-)
Christine Mauriello's core strengths include motivational speaking, teaching, relational skills’ training, coaching, and compassionate care to meet the recovery goals for those with PTSD, addiction, trauma, divorce, and other setbacks.