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)
I got a copy of Molecules and Mental Illness by Samuel H. Barondes (1993) yesterday. Biological psychiatry. Coincidence? I have not started reading yet,but chapter 4 “Neurons, Circuits, and Neurotransmission” probably links to orthomolecular medicine re dysfunction and behavior modification via nutrition I know a little about.
that is totally wild! 🙂 you’re going where your interests and natural incline rolls you. it happens that right now it includes me which i couldn’t be happier about! tell us how that seriously wordy book goes though! 😉 i really would luv to hear your take as would the rest of us, i’m sure! “enyoy” as my Ecuadorian friends would say.
quite a complex idear but could be a very intresting theory black holes i know plenty about but then a black hole is a nothing its just a big mass of nothing we seeming less no dimentions i think there must be a good theroy by someone out there or maybe its one of those things you belive in or dont belive in or there may not be an awnser
it’s a “thunker” Kevin :). bless.
This, for the last couple of years, has been my problem to solve. I can no longer (so I am told, and so my body seems to scream) use science to solve stress problems. That leaves talk or, – thank you, Sana – an excellent blog site. I tried journaling but that was like talking to myself. “Blah!” :-} I need to know that someone hears me and this blog does that. Your comments are lovely and supportive and caring but, unlike my family members and a friend to whom I try to explain how I feel, you (and anyone responding to your blogs) don’t panic and think I need to be medicated or that I might have to be hospitalized or that they will “lose” me again. What amazes me is that, in being involved with this blog site, my “bridge” has become much shorter and less terrifying. (I envision the one I crossed – on the back of a mule – over the Colorado River at the bottom of the Grand Canyon many years ago!)
Please understand, I have nothing against medications and I know that they are essential for a lot of people. They were for me at first, until I began to react to every one of the, and I am the first to recommend them to others who are suffering with depression – or stress. It’s just that, now that I have to live without them, I’m finding that I can do this…with a little help from things like this blog site…and life is less stressful for me now just reading other people’s stories and knowing that I’m not alone.
wow! say it girl. suffering is feeling alone, i believe someone more profound than me said before. keep on!
This is a very thoughtful post….and I think many of us wonder about this topic. If we are predestined, are we meant to suffer? Or even if we aren’t predestined (allowing for some free will), what are the ways in which we can help to heal ourselves? Also, I am comforted to hear more about what the process of talking with you would be like…objective and gentle.
um, u r generous. i am blushing because i fear some of the dear people who’ve come to see me, got the human side. thanks sarah. keep on.
“She found herself thinking that things would be different if things had been different.” – Story of my life! I can’t even begin to explain how often I feel regret about what I haven’t done in the past, and how my life would be better now if I had done things differently / better. In essence, it causes me to dwell on what I haven’t done, further putting things off because I sink into another low point. It’s a vicious cycle.
round and round. we all do it. thanks for sharing a bit of your story. u r not alone.
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