Well, I’m not sure we definitely answered that question on Your Caregiving Journey this morning. But, I think we have a much better understanding of emotional pain and how to manage its presence in our lives. You can listen to our show via the player at the bottom of the post.
We began our discussion with Anna Stookey, who joins us monthly to keep us in a good emotional space, with a description of grief. When we grieve, we feel a despair, a loss of interest, a change in our eating and sleeping patterns. And, we can be plagued by questions such as, Who am I? What has happened to my life? What is the meaning of my life?
I find great comfort in knowing that we all ask ourselves these questions during tough times. The difficulty of these questions is they can separate us from others, isolate us further into pain. The wonder of these questions is that they can lead us to amazing answers.
And, there’s the rub: Do we take away the questions through treatments like anti-depressants?
Anna had an interesting perspective: “Brains and psyches are not like a broken leg,” she said. Our emotional fix is much more complicated that putting a cast on a foot.
In a caregiving situation, you may feel like grief is ever-present. And, it may be one reason you dread the day: How in the world can you face another day feeling this bad?
Certainly, professional help can be a huge resource and anchor for you during the times you feel yourself float away. Therapists as well as caregiving and grieving coaches can help you develop coping skills. Support groups can be that safe place for venting and feeling.
Anna reminded us the importance of feeling those difficult emotions, rather than pushing them away. When we try to keep them in, they end up coming out in ways we wish they didn’t. (Read: Sigh. If Only It Was Just Vomit)
But, it’s exhausting to feel so deeply and so sadly every day. Anna suggested we look for containers to put those difficult emotions. A container may be 15 minutes at the start of the day; during those 15 minutes, you feel bad. And, then at minute 16, you move on. A container may be your weekly session with a therapist or counselor; you acknowledge the difficult emotion and then say, “I’m going to talk with (your therapist or coach) about this on Monday.” A container may be your support group or your journal.
We ended our discussion with the question: What does it look like on the other side of emotional pain? Anna gave us a glimpse.
What does it look like for you?