Regarding Emotional Struggles

It is likely wise to include a disclaimer that I am in no way a trained psychologist, and that these are simply my personal opinions and observations.

I think that, common to a lot of addictions and psychological struggles, is a pattern of becoming confined to a narrow emotional track. It’s a self reinforcing track where you don’t feel anything else, and therefore don’t see anything else, and therefore can’t feel anything else, and therefore can’t see anything else…

I don’t recall the source, but I once read a quote that, “sobriety is not the opposite of addiction, connection is.” You’re not going to escape an addiction (or unhealthy emotional pattern) the same way you fell into it; you’re not going to get out of an addiction by focusing on the addiction.

I think a limited perspective can be an enormous contributor to emotional stress. What kinds of things can limit a person’s perspective? They are factors such as the mindsets of the people they spend the most time with, or unhealthy brain chemistry, or simple inexperience. What I mean by ‘inexperience’ is that you may be really stressed out about something that isn’t a big deal to someone else, because they’ve faced bigger problems.

Also, I say ‘perspective’ while acknowledging that there is a difference between knowing something and really feeling it. You get perspective when an experience or realization doesn’t just add knowledge but shifts you emotionally.  To gain some perspective, you may need a bigger personal world; more social experiences, new skills, new knowledge.  Reach out to some new people, if necessary. Go to some new places.  Put together a better organized personal living space.  Find some meaningful work to do, even if it’s just on the side for now.  Practice better nutrition.  Get physical exersize consistently.

I am not opposed to medications and supplements.  If you need them, use them, but the way I view it is that they are the short term solution, and these actions I’m talking about are the long term solution.  You can alter your state chemically, but you have to change the pattern intentionally.  The chemical state alteration is leverage to be able to think clearly.

Another point I would like to adress here is naming and relating to your struggle.  What I mean is acknowledging that you struggle with depression, or anxiety, or some kind of addiction.  When it comes to the variety of ways that people wrestle with their shit, I think that the errors occur on the far ends of the spectrum, where either 1.) the condition defines who I am or, 2.) I am in denial.  The latter may be survivable, but not sustainable.  The former indicates that a person is living in a very limited world, which is the opposite of where they need to be in order to get better.  I feel that a person shouldn’t have be defined by their condition, or worse yet define themselves by it, nor should they attempt to live like their emotional experience doesn’t matter.  If I am being honest, I have gone to each of these extremes at different points in my life.  Defining yourself by it is not healing, and denying it is not strength.  I believe that you seek and practice a more abundant life, aiming at point that is beyond your struggle, and the answers will avail themselves to you.

 

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