I told my therapist about how this last week has been going. I told her that I spent everyday wishing that I was dead and I asked her what I could do to deal with such intense emotion, especially since I’ve been unable to cry.
She believes that I will be able to cry one day but I needed something for now. She reminded me of four steps which for some reason I had forgotten and I figured I’d share them here. I’m usually wary of techniques that don’t have a physical solution because I’m all about problem solving and needing data and then a resolution. She told me that apart of these steps provides a type of distance which in of itself can help ease the pain. We’ll see and maybe it won’t help anyone else, maybe it will. I’m sharing just in case.
Step 1: Label the feeling. This one needs to be made simple for someone like me because I have trouble identifying emotions. This keeps it in basic terms. The four emotions you’re supposed to use are: happy, sad, scared or mad and you can feel more than one at the same time. One the feeling has been labeled, say it to yourself.
Step 2: Ask what triggered this? Obviously it’s important to know what brought the feeling on even though my therapist said that you may not always be able to track down a specific trigger. Things can kind of come out of nowhere which I’m sure we’ve all experienced.
Step 3: Is the intensity of the feeling matching the trigger? Let me explain that one a bit if I can. This is supposed to be about understanding if you’re in a situation currently that makes the feeling logical. Like: are you in danger at the moment? If you were, then the feeling would match the trigger. But what if you’re alone at home? You’re not in any danger so, let’s say you’re feeling scared; why are you scared? The feeling doesn’t match what’s actually happening. The reason for figuring this out isn’t to minimize the seriousness of the feeling, it’s to get information because if the current situation doesn’t match, then the feeling is coming from somewhere else, like maybe feeling what you felt as a child when you were being abused. She said to ask myself some questions. 1) When have I felt this way before? 2) Is this a feeling memory? Again, the purpose is to be able understand where the feeling is coming from because that gives you information. Realizing that you’re experiencing a feeling memory may lessen the intensity. She used a phrase which is something that I would never say because I don’t talk like this but I’ll still write it. She said to ‘hold the feeling very gently’. *eye roll for therapist speech* And she said to say “thank you” so-to-speak, ‘for letting me feel this or letting me know how I felt’ etc. She also suggested doing some free association writing.
Step 4: What do I need to do to take care of this feeling? This is the hardest one for me because when she talked about this my mind literally went blank. She said that as a child I could do nothing about how I was feeling. There was nowhere to go and no way to escape. Now, I need to take care of the feeling, still holding it gently, which for her means with no judgment. She said that how I take care of the feeling would depend on the feeling itself. I assume that means that being scared would be taken care of differently than being mad for instance. Her caveat was that taking care of the feeling should not involve using any of my “addictions” (her words). I know what that means as I told her what I did last week when I was overwhelmed by all of that sadness. And I agree with her. Giving in to that impulse just made me feel worse about myself and I don’t need that. The question for me was: what other methods do I have to take care of feelings? She mentioned calling a friend and the only friend that I have who knows anything about this has enough stuff on her plate with her own life. So that was a big zero. She mentioned playing my instrument and I said that it still makes me sad because I haven’t figured out the teacher thing yet. She reminded me to take action on finding a new instructor.
At this point in the conversation my time was up and I was left with a loose end because I still didn’t have anything concrete for step 4. But, I’m hoping that if I can do steps 1-3 maybe it will lessen the relentless pain a bit so I can breathe.
Maybe this will help someone else, maybe it won’t, but here it is anyway.
I have to see my psychiatrist because I’ve determined that the Wellbutrin isn’t working at all and may go completely under if I don’t get some kind of medical intervention. We’ll see what he says. I’m not hopeful because I’ve tried so many drugs in the past and I refuse to go down the road of weight gain again. I’d rather be crazy and miserable. But, I had a day last week where I thought that it was a shame that my life insurance doesn’t pay out on suicide until after two years because that meant that I’d have to wait until next year. I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that isn’t healthy thinking. 😛