A colleague told me the other day about his patient. Of course he didn’t name him, but I’ll call him Brent. Struggling with melancholic depression for many years, Brent started medication therapy. He began feeling better emotionally. But at the same time, he started to believe that he didn’t love his wife any more and started a dialogue with her about possible divorce.
It’s tempting to judge Brent. Easy to say, “What the…!?” Still, because we don’t know the full story, nor his thoughts, nor consider ourselves his Judge, we won’t.
Self-care can be a tricky road. It’s not all ah-ha moments and nirvana. Have you been there? Confused by your feelings as you heal?
A common reaction to improving is associating the things in our “ill” life – when we were feeling terrible – with other elements that may not have had anything to do with our bad feelings. Perhaps Brent’s wife was guilty by association and at some level he may have connected her to the dark emotions he so desperately never wants to feel again. Bits of this idea are also in a previous post about panic disorder and grief. For example, someone may change her profession because she believes her previous work is causally linked to the way she felt when ill. Maybe Brent wanted a change in spouses for the same reason.
When we are going through the healing that self-care brings, we might not find our new emotional baseline for a while. During that time, and because feelings are often not trustworthy, stay connected to the support network, confidants, the trusted few who can be our third-party advisors.
Although taking action on for our own health involves lifestyle changes, knowing when and how to get feedback is key.
Question: What has confused you about your healing and self-care journey? Please tell me your story.