Self-Care Tip #147 – Bridge the gap between emotions and science. Be a friend to yourself.
She had been through a lot – Aimee. Lost her baby brother to medical disease. Was in a stressful marriage and didn’t like her work. There was more but you get the drift. She found herself thinking that things would be different if things had been different.
Readers, I am referring specifically to her medical condition. Not to the fact that the universe is different because her brother died.
Madeleine L’Engle talked about death affecting the whole universe. She compared it to the death of a star. In death, the star creates a hole in space dark and large, enough so that the absence of it has its own gravitational force, a “black hole.” L’Engle says that when any part of creation dies, we are all touched. Life knows and the absence of that bit of creation leaves the surviving universe changed forever.
Aimee wasn’t talking about that. Aimee thought her emotional illness was largely secondary to her life stressors. Because this influenced Aimee’s choices regarding her medical treatment, I had to tell her no. Gently. It was hard for her to hear. “Aimee, your sadness you feel now, four years after your brother’s death, your isolation and amotivation, your low sex drive, your difficulty feeling pleasure in other things, your sleepiness during the day – these things are not because you have suffered your brother’s death, nor because your marriage is hard.”
There are times when directly saying things is the more gentle approach. No one going through what Aimee is going through wants to hear about how I feel about it. Yuck. There’s not much that is slimier than going to someone for objective feedback and getting their emotions and personal opinions all over you.
Aimee left saying she understood and with a new medical treatment for the medical illness propagating emotional and behavioral symptoms in her. We’ll see if she did some days from now. But what about you? Do you believe that her emotions and behaviors were secondary to medical illness?
Readers, life stress will continue to happen. What may change is how we respond to it. If our response does change and it isn’t serving us or others well we need to think that we might not be interpreting how we feel objectively. We might be having changes to our biology that “taste like chicken.” It helps to get a physician’s opinion – someone who sees behavior as more than the spirit, the abstract, the puppet of our volition.
Question: How do you bridge the seemingly abysmal distance between emotions and science? Please tell me your story.
- Full Treatment Response Means a Better Future (friendtoyourself.com)
- The Presence of Stress Doesn’t Make the Disease Process Any Less Important (friendtoyourself.com)