“Sometimes persons tell us that they get sad for no reason at all. All of a sudden they just feel down and don’t know why. Many times after reflecting upon this sudden rush of sadness, they realize that it has come from somewhere and they might as well take responsibility for it and deal with it. One of the best ways to deal with a feeling, especially the unpleasant ones, is to stay with it, feel it, and see what it is trying to tell you. When we run from it we lose. Granted, this won’t be easy and you might not find the source of the sudden sadness at the first glance, but in time you can feel it, deal with it and then discard it. The more you ruminate about how sad you are and then how bad you are for being so sad, the more you have begun the downward spiral into physically feeling weak and hopeless. This is the time to call a friend or a member of the group. Just say: “Hey, I’m feeling sad and there is no reason why I think I am feeling sad – what do you think?” More times than not, your sad feelings will melt away.
Our feelings are like messengers. They come to tell us something important. They can tell us , as was the case with our ancestors of primitive times, that either it was time to run or to stand and fight. Flight or fight. Today, in these modern times, we don’t have to run or even fight when the unpleasant feelings rise up inside of us. The only activity that most of us engage in when faced with an unpleasant thought/feeling is to put our mind in overdrive, stomping on the accelerator, and shooting adrenaline into our blood stream. Even though there is no lion nipping at our heels we begin to flee those feelings of fright and find our selves swimming in a sea of fear and anxiety. Our palms begin to feel clammy, our forehead breaks out in beads of sweat and our heart rate is going trough the roof.
The more we “listen into” these frenzied feelings the more frenzied and frazzled we become physically. Now, totally worn out with all this adrenaline pumped through our arteries, and all physical systems on high alert, we become exhausted. After all this, my drug of choice was to hit the bed and sleep it off. Some folks medicate themselves with alcohol or other mind altering drugs.
Our other stance is to stay and fight the lion. No lion? We fight in our mind whatever it might be that is ready to devour us and spit us out. We might be sitting at our desk at work and this negative ruminating will be having the same effect on our body as it did with the native faced with fighting a lion. It was the lion or himself that had to win this fight.
So, for us, as we continue to put emotional energy into the negativity of the thought that affects our moods, we find ourselves spiraling downward into that depressed mood and isolation. Instead we need to listen to the feeling, face the feeling, and tell ourselves that the feeling is uncomfortable, but not life threatening. This becomes sort of a mantra at the time of our panicky thoughts where by gradually and slowly repeating this phrase over and over again to ourselves, our breathing gets slower, our heart rate slides back to normal and the sweating stops. No running and no fighting. No foot on the accelerator resulting in no more adrenaline pumping through our arteries.
This technique of talking ourselves down when our body and reasoning is about to be taken over by unpleasant emotions, really works.
(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.KY. Pg.91.
(c) Claire Weekes, Hope and Help for your Nerves. (1969) Berkley. NY.
NOTE: All Depressed Anonymous publications can be ordered online from the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore. At https://depressedanon.com