Are you angry a lot with your partner? Or is your partner telling you that you are constantly angry? Do you feel overwhelmed after a fight? Do most discussions end up in an argument? As humans, it's normal to have a tendency towards fight in a stressful encounter. That's a learned reaction from childhood to protect you. That's the function of anger. It's there to keep you safe.
A whopping 70% of Canadians experience feelings of depression at some point in their lives. It may be a one time event or it may recur when certain stressors arise. We may very well be depressed as a result of an incident that we had no or little control over, such as losing a job, experiencing a break-up, or being abused. These kinds of traumatic events can change our beliefs in the world and in ourselves. We end up with lower self-esteem and a feeling of being stuck. It's harder to see the path we were on.
Dreams to Goals Jaminie Hilton, RCC Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for? Robert Browning You need dreams. If you don’t have dreams, how will you realize them? Is it a challenge to remain open to realizing your dreams? Does it help to view them as goals?
Anger is a signal to us that we need to pay attention. It's like pain. Without it, we may not notice we have an injury. The presence of anger is telling us we should stop and assess otherwise we may continue to get hurt or we may hurt someone else. The anger may be due to a variety of reasons: It may be that our boundaries are being pushed. Or that our arousal/activation level is too high from too much stress to our system. Your anger is valid and there is a real reason for it. However, it is up to us to use it in a constructive way.
When you’ve been struggling with anxiety or depression for awhile it can be hard to feel that there is any hope for things to change. Added to how stuck you might be feeling is the constant reinforcement in our culture of the idea of a quick fix. It's the "Here, just do this one thing and you will feel better indefinitely" kind of attitude. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about people getting relief as quickly as possible. It’s just that this kind of attitude can be a setup when what is needed is patience, time, and realistic, achievable goals.
"I believe Jennifer*. I believe Jennifer. I believe Jennifer." Those were the words that came out of the judge's mouth. Tears sprang to my eyes. I was in a court room as a support person, and was with a young woman who had very reluctantly testified about being sexually assaulted. The words uttered by the judge were so powerful. And as we have come to learn, so rare in a court of law.
I regularly hear from people that they desire to have more happiness. An understandable desire! But if someone is experiencing flatness the next step isn’t to feel happy, it’s to feel. And rarely (although I can’t say never) do I hear someone say, “Can you help me to feel more sadness, more anger, more fear?” along with their request for more happiness. Also understandable! We all have a history that has shaped our relationship to emotion. Often that history hasn’t included healthy models for how to be with feeling and how to express feeling.
What is Trauma? Trauma is a significant, upsetting experience or event. If you can’t identify one single event that could have had a huge effect on you, know that trauma can also result from ongoing similar experiences or events. Signs that you’ve been traumatized can vary from typical symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder, to a vague sense that your feelings of fear or anger seem exaggerated. Something to ask yourself is, does your level of fear or anger seem larger, more dramatic than seems appropriate to the situation.
I like my life. It's hard sometimes. I'm in the stage of my life where I am parenting two young kids. But I've created a life that contains the things that I value most:
Responding to compulsive behaviour through mindfulness and observation
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