When you think, speak, react, interact, and judge with your emotions most situations can be misconstrued. Relationships can become strained, and your motives and decisions may be questioned. Living with depression is living with a jungle of emotion. Our minds are clouded by what is going on inside of us and the pain we are feeling. We become hypervigilant toward the negatives that come our way.
I have difficulty putting a name to my emotions. They are confused and mixed to the point that what I feel has no name. I can describe it as a chemistry experiment. If I had hydrogen in one hand, it has the name hydrogen and the property of a gas. You can’t hold it in your hand because it is a gas, so it is a confusing emotion. I can have oxygen in my other hand, and again it is a gas that can not be held in my hand. Processing these two confused emotions puts them together forming water (two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen). In this analysis, I have two confusing feelings mixing in unequal amounts forming an entirely different substance. If that is an emotion, what do I call it?
If I find myself in a situation that is negative, I am inevitably going to react emotionally. Depression and anxiety will pick out that negative and run! My reaction is so jumbled up it resembles an abstract painting. If I say something, it doesn’t make sense. My thoughts come from every direction. The nameless feeling I have is very distressing. This all leaves me turning that abstract painting around and around in attempts to figure which is the top and the bottom.
Many of us living with depression, especially if we have been through trauma, turn universal emotions around. My best example is anger. I have seen plenty of anger in others, but I haven’t felt it. I believe that in situations where others feel the emotion called anger I feel hurt. Anger turns inward. That is great in a clinically depressed world! (sarcasm) I am sure there are more examples of backward emotions, but I don’t know their names.
Helping myself through this complicated, confusing, and misunderstood mess has required some intense personal analysis and a good therapist. I highly recommend therapy. Depression, anxiety, mood disorders, codependence and a whole host of issues are best addressed with professional help. Even the most introspective person cannot see the life issues we need to address without proper guidance. I am incredibly reflective and I it has made many of my problems worse. With the supervision of therapist #6, I’m learning to use it productively, sometimes. I am a difficult client.
What have I learned? Much like the advice given to someone who is on fire, “stop, drop, and roll,” is where I begin. I may seem to be ignoring people in a conversation or indecisive in some situations because I am taking time to think. I’m sure you will see this self-help tool difficult, but I need to be mindful of catching myself in negatives that lead to the jumbled up emotions.
I wish you well in your personal journey through depression.