One of the challenges I experienced was dissociation. I separated myself so completely from my emotions that I could not name what I felt at any given time. Much of the time I felt gray…..I spent months taking pictures of gray trying to find the one the exemplified how I felt.
After hundreds and hundreds of pictures. I realized the world is rarely gray. I had to focus on only a small part of something to find gray.
The World is colorful and so is Life.
Emotions create that color.
Reconnecting with my emotions brought color back into my World. Hard part is anger hiding the other emotions came first. I needed to allow anger to have its voice before it would allow the other emotions to come forward, hurt, fear, and frustration hid behind anger. Other emotions slowly started coming forward. My counselor asked what was the first emotion that I experienced after integrating all my parts to have one shared emotion. I chuckle at the memory of the shock on his face when I told him the first emotion I felt as whole person was boredom. I had never felt boredom before, by the way, it is a terrible feeling. The struggle I experienced was understanding the body cues for each emotion. The buzz of excitement feels very similar to the physical feelings of anger. Heart rate goes up, nervous system excited, stomach gets jumpy and the list went on. However, excitement is fun to feel, anger not so much. I needed to learn what each emotion felt like to me, name and categorize to prepare myself to sit with it and get to know each emotion.
I was searching for someone else’s ideas on the great variety of emotion. Today I came across this page “Your Emotional Vocabulary List.” https://www.karlamclaren.com/emotional-vocabulary-page/
I skimmed through the page and kept thinking – “This, this is what I am looking for.” I like the way they selected what I call the major emotions and then broke them down to the nuances of emotions. I learned from my first counselor that every emotion is on a continuum from mild to extreme. I discovered when I struggled with emotions I either discounted the emotion or I was already at the extreme ends because I refused to acknowledge the emotion sooner. Learning to negotiate emotions is an ongoing process. This article is one person’s perspective in describing each emotion. Many of my counseling sessions were spent identifying, assessing, and learning to understand the emotions I was feeling.
This article at the bottom listed the emotions that lead towards suicidal ideation. I encourage you to check out the page. I did pull a section to quote for the benefit of those in need right now.
If you don’t know what to do, you can call the Lifeline suicide hotline as a concerned friend (1-800-273-TALK (8255)), and they’ll help you understand what to do. Here are some ideas from the Lifeline website:
How to Be Helpful to Someone Who Is Threatening Suicide
Be direct. Talk openly and matter-of-factly about suicide.
Be willing to listen. Allow expressions of feelings. Accept the feelings.
Don’t debate whether suicide is right or wrong, or whether feelings are good or bad.
Don’t lecture on the value of life.
Get involved. Become available. Show interest and support.
Don’t dare him or her to do it.
Don’t act shocked. This will put distance between you.
Don’t be sworn to secrecy. Seek support.
Offer hope that alternatives are available but do not offer glib reassurance.
Take action. Remove means, such as guns or stockpiled pills.
Get help from persons or agencies specializing in crisis intervention and suicide prevention.
Thank you for helping when people are feeling suicidal. Thank you for your emotional fluency and your willingness to reach out when others are in need. You make a difference!