Lessons Learned

broken heart 2 colour

I know, I should let sleeping dogs lie, but I’ve been heart broken by all that’s been going on in our little community on Twitter. I miss the encouragement and support and I’ve become a bit nervous about expressing any kind of opinion on anything. It’s been upsetting to see people taking sides, unfollowing each other, and using ugly adjectives.

I am writing this because I’d like to apologize for my involvement in the matter. I was part of the original discussion that started this whole thing. Maybe if I hadn’t butted it, it would have remained a simple debate between two people and nothing more. I am sorry for that.

I’m not taking sides as I have gotten to know most of the people involved and find them all to be kind, generous people for the most part. I highly respect both sides for allowing me to maintain friendship with the other. It’s an unfortunate situation, but I must say, it has reinforced some beliefs I’ve had and helped me to learn more.

There are different forms of expression. Everyone handles their negative feelings differently. I mostly keep mine to myself, but many don’t, as you’ve seen on twitter. Some people rant, post quotes or pictures or debate or argue. Some of it I can relate to, some of it I find quite upsetting. If this is the way you need to deal with things, then by all means do it. I’d rather know that you are on twitter ranting up a storm than off somewhere alone and hurting yourself. The rest of us are free to listen or not.

Positive thinking is healthy. I believe trying to be positive on a regular basis is healthy and I’m all for it. Seeing the bright side of a situation can change your mood or outlook and prevent you from dwelling on the negatives. It’s also uplifting for the people around you. It is natural for me to see negatives first though, so I actively try to look for the positives, no matter how small. It does make me feel better. Now, some wont agree with me, that’s ok, we all have our own methods, but read the next point before you bite my head off.

Suppression is not healthy. Part of depression is the inability to feel or process feelings. Not feeling is part of what makes us unhappy. So feel it. It is impossible to be perfect all the time, sometimes you feel anger, grief, guilt, hatred etc. You need to feel them, accept the feeling and let it go. It’s not that simple, but you know what I mean. Positives are good, but you can’t use them to suppress the negative feelings.

We need comfort. Being positive is hard work and sometimes I just don’t have the energy. Other times I feel like I’m forcing it or kidding myself or something. In these moments I want those I confide in to agree with me that it sucks, I’m hurting and give me hugs. It’s not that I am not trying, I’ve been thinking about it all day, trying to turn myself around and I’ve run out of steam.

Honesty is the best policy. Tell people what you need. If you want advice, ask for it. If you don’t want it, say thanks but what I really need right now is compassion or whatever it is that you need. No one is a mind reader. The more honest you are about how you are feeling (even if you don’t know how you are feeling) and what you need, the more information people have and the less people assume. Generally people have good intentions and are just wanting to help.

Don’t make assumptions. Nothing annoys me more than people who constantly complain about a situation and then go on to make it worse and complain more. I just want to tell them that if they don’t want to do anything about it, then they aren’t allowed to complain so much. I have a friend who complains constantly about not being able to pay rent and buy dog food, but he continues to work the same job and spend a fortune on drinking and smoking. He makes me crazy sometimes, but who am I to judge whether he is not trying or not? Maybe he really loves his job and doesn’t want to leave it. Maybe he has tried budgeting, but can’t figure it out. Maybe he has an addiction and can’t just stop spending money or drinking. All I can do is offer what help I can give and hope for the best. I can’t expect that he has told me everything. Some things are just too hard to explain.

If you have gotten this far, thank you for reading and hearing me out. I’ve been over-thinking this all week. I hope I haven’t offended anyone. I just wanted to apologize to those involved and the bystanders for the part I played. I also wanted to share what has been reinforced and what I’ve learned from this. They are important lessons.


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?

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Follow Somber Scribbler on WordPress.com


%d bloggers like this: