The F Word

Not that F word!

There were a lot of F words that could fit my theme. I have talked about friendship and being “fine” recently, so I was thinking of others; fear, flat, fatigue, frustrated, foolish, frantic, furious. All of these are feelings. So there we go, F is for the other dreaded F word, feelings. Depression encompasses a lot of different feelings…or none at all. It’s a bit of a paradox in that sense.

faces of depression

Feelings are mediated by the limbic system in your brain and the autonomic nervous system in your body. Feelings are systemic. They are a whole brain-body reaction. When you panic for example, you are having thoughts of dread and doom, but you body is involuntarily reacting too; a higher heart rate, quickened breathing, sweating, shaking, etc. Every reaction requires a stimulus. Often the stimulus is self-talk or an external event, but it can be unconscious too. Feelings are also influenced by stress. When in a state of stress, your body is already primed for an emotional reaction. That’s why it takes so little to set you off when you are under pressure.

Feelings are subject to suppression. You can actively hide them or hold them in when you feel they are inappropriate for your current environment. Other times they may be unpleasant and its easier to distract your mind and avoid them than deal with them. The psychologist says that because I don’t express my feelings, I end up tired and depressed. Psych also says that by blocking my feelings I give myself anxiety. So it’s my fault I’m anxious and depressed? Thanks a lot. That makes me feel a lot better. I believe the psychologist is partially right, so how do I solve this problem? Identify and express. Easier said than done.

buried under depressionOften I feel overwhelmed by the intensity of my feelings or lack of. I feel buried with no way out. I don’t like to talk about my feelings. Not only is it uncomfortable, but I don’t know how to express what I’m feeling in words. I think I’ve been able to identify the basic feelings I have trouble expressing; anger and sadness. These are very basic emotions, there are probably a whole bunch of more complex emotions mixed in there, but we’d be here forever if I talked about those. So anger and sadness it is!

I have a lot of anger towards myself. I have discovered that is because I am a perfectionist. I am working on that. I hold in my anger towards other people too. I think it’s because I am worried about hurting them (emotionally) or what they will think of me. This is silly because when people are angry with me, they tell me and I’m not hurt and I don’t think any less of them. I have to learn to be more assertive.

I’m not really sure where the sadness comes from. Maybe it’s linked to the anger somehow. More likely I’m just chemically imbalanced. I do feel less of the sadness when I am medicated.

So I have identified my feelings. According to psych, that is half the battle. So now for expression. There are three ways I can think of to express feelings. 1) Talk to someone, 2) write them down, 3) physically discharge them.

For anger, I’m choosing to physically discharge it through exercise. I have done karate in the past and found that sparring helped. Since I can’t go beating up people on the street, I’m going to start exercising more. I plan to get back into doing cardio and maybe some kickboxing on my own.

Sadness is a bit harder to deal with. Since I am awful and using my words, 1) and 2) don’t really work for me. So how do you physically discharge sadness? Crying comes to mind. Sometimes I can cry, sometimes I just can’t. As you can see, I’m still trying to figure this one out. What do you do to manage your feelings?

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27 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Victoria
    Apr 07, 2014 @ 07:57:19

    Fabulous post and blog! Great to see you in the A-Z Challenge!

    Reply

  2. suesconsideredtrifles
    Apr 07, 2014 @ 08:07:47

    I try not to focus on my feelings too much. I hate being asked, How do you feel about that?
    The Psalms show us how it is possible to be honest about our feelings in prayer. I try to do that. Sue

    Reply

  3. Rachna Chhabria
    Apr 07, 2014 @ 11:58:23

    Love the post and your blog. Nowadays I am trying to unfocus from my feelings or rather not paying too much attention to it (that’s what my meditation instructor advises).

    Reply

  4. Natalie Bowers (@nembow)
    Apr 07, 2014 @ 12:49:01

    I remember being overwhelmed by sadness and anxiety when I had depression, but once I started taking antidepressants all that went away. I was totally numb. It was exactly what I needed back then when everything was so extreme, but now I’d rather feel sad and anxious than numb – mostly because I’ve learned how to handle those emotions … by channeling them into creative pursuits like writing and photography and by finding good friends to talk to. Something I still find hard to handle though is Guilt – which is my G word for tomorrow. Maybe writing and talking would still be good for you even if you don’t feel particularly competent in those areas. Sometimes just chucking out the words is cathartic in itself. πŸ™‚

    Reply

    • somberscribbler
      Apr 07, 2014 @ 12:54:07

      I am at the beginning of trying the creative pursuits approach, thus the blog and the doodles. I hope it helps. My antidepressants seem to have numbed out the good feelings and only weakened the negative feelings. Thanks for the tips. I’m looking forward to seeing what you have to say about guilt tomorrow! πŸ™‚

      Reply

  5. Deborah Dera
    Apr 07, 2014 @ 15:05:05

    Your post just gave me the idea I’ve been searching to find for one of my other A to Z blogs. thanks!

    Reply

  6. S dot Love
    Apr 07, 2014 @ 16:10:19

    I find that when I talk about my feelings, I end up feeling worse! Haha. It’s like I’m reliving the situation when I say it out loud. That’s why I either turn to writing a song, poem, or even drawing something just to alleviate my frustrations.

    Reply

  7. RZT
    Apr 07, 2014 @ 18:48:59

    I find it strange that your feeling of sadness and depression produce such lovely art work. I am generally a happy chap and my doodles tend to be slightly on the dark side with Zombies and pointy teeth and the like.

    I have learnt though as I get older and bits of me fail or fall off it is best not to chase perfection, it is just not possible particularly if you are a perfectionist, as they have such high standards of what perfection is . . . .

    Reply

    • somberscribbler
      Apr 07, 2014 @ 18:58:52

      You’re a boy, that’s why you draw the creepy stuff πŸ˜› Kidding. I’ve never really stepped out of my comfort zone with my doodles. I draw happy because I want happy.

      Reply

  8. rhonda albom
    Apr 07, 2014 @ 20:27:44

    Fabulous first line. I started reading this with a big smile. Being a perfectionist can be really difficult, I have a child who is like that, and I can see her struggle with it too often.

    Reply

  9. kristen valentine
    Apr 07, 2014 @ 20:52:02

    Another great post. I try channeling my feelings into writing–I might not be able to go around punching people, but my characters can πŸ™‚ I am also trying to be better at telling the difference between a real, pure feeling, and one I’ve sort of created by letting myself get stuck in a loop. Easier said than done, though.

    Reply

    • somberscribbler
      Apr 08, 2014 @ 06:48:14

      I haven’t tried writing fiction and creating characters as a method of managing myself. That’s a good suggestion. I wonder if I could do it. I haven’t tried writing a story since elementary school.

      Reply

  10. Chuck Allen
    Apr 07, 2014 @ 21:44:32

    I have a feeling (pun intended) that I’m going to enjoy reading your posts for A to Z. I’m not very good at sharing my feelings either and usually just keep things inside. I’m looking forward to reading more. πŸ™‚

    Reply

    • somberscribbler
      Apr 08, 2014 @ 06:52:42

      I’m glad you stopped by! I think it’s important to find a balance between holding back and expressing your feelings. Either extreme hurts you in the end. I hope you can find an outlet and I hope to hear from you again!

      Reply

  11. Jocelyn Rish
    Apr 07, 2014 @ 23:15:40

    I’m also a feeling avoider/suppresser, so I know what you mean. I think it’s very brave of you to work through things via your blog, especially during a high traffic time like the A to Z challenge – thanks for sharing.

    Hope you’re having fun with the A to Z challenge,
    Jocelyn

    Reply

  12. Yvonne Ventresca
    Apr 08, 2014 @ 00:08:31

    Writing can help and maybe your drawing, too. (Love the karate!)

    Yvonne

    Reply

  13. C.E. Darrell
    Apr 08, 2014 @ 06:27:09

    I really struggle to talk about my feelings sometimes, particularly when it comes to identifying what it is I’m feeling. My partner is much better at talking about feelings and opening up, so I think he’s taught me how to express myself through calm conversation as well as writing things down, so I don’t stress too much about getting it ‘right’, know what I mean?

    I feel your perfectionist pain, and find inspiration in your bravery πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    Reply

    • somberscribbler
      Apr 08, 2014 @ 06:58:54

      I know what you mean about getting it right. I try not to worry about that either. It’s more important to just understand what is it and get it out some how. It’s great that you have such a good influence in your life!

      Reply

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