Website URL: http://myrelationshipemergency.com
Stage 2 Decoding the Symptoms of Depression
Decoding the Symptoms of Depression
Depression includes a range of normal negative emotions, and most people experience symptoms of depression at some point in their lives. The purpose of this inventory is to help you understand depression and also recognize when depression based on a situation has become something more. Clinical depression differs significantly from situational or mild depression, even though some of the symptoms can be the same. There are several types of depression, some of which are mood disorders, and it is important to understand where your symptoms fit in so that you can determine where you're at on the spectrum. Understanding helps take the fear out of depression and it also helps us to reach out for help if we begin to feel that the depression has moved beyond this particular life experience.
Stage 1 Suffering vs. Pain - What's the difference?
Suffering vs Pain
What's the difference?
By Lisa Walker
Although we rarely see it this way, pain in life is often ultimately for your benefit and growth. The challenge most of us face is shifting out of “why me” mode, to the more productive perspective of “what am I learning from this?” It’s often impossible to see past pain when we are in the middle of our experience to what is possible for our future and for a little while we need to be with our pain before we can transition out. For the most part pain is a part of life and often, when we look for the lesson, it is staring us right in the face. Of course there are also some pains, such as the death of a child, that require their own special category of suffering but for the purposes of relationship recovery let's categorize pain vs. suffering around the dissolution of love relationships. Jack Kornfield a pioneer of Buddhist psychology; says in his book The Wise Heart, “ Pain is inevitable, suffering is not. Suffering arises from grasping. Release grasping and be free from suffering.” Translation: when we doggedly hold on to the past, our attachments to someone or the idea of someone, our dreams which no longer represent our reality or perhaps even our title as girlfriend or wife, pain transitions into suffering.
Our fear of the unknown can create grasping – clinging to the past to avoid fear and uncertainty. When a relationship is ending, we may find ourselves creating thoughts such as, “any relationship is better than being alone.” or "what if i never find anyone? i can't take the risk of being alone". We can create suffering when we grasp onto relationsips that we know are not working or are not good for us because of our fear of being alone ,facing the unknown or even feeling pain. When that happens, we are “suffering through our grasping.” In actuality, there is no lonelier place than being in a relationship that is no longer working but often we can't see that until we are beyond it.
Explore the distinctions between pain and suffering.
So understanding that pain is an inevitable part of life, we can practice opening to pain and accepting it as a normal part of life. The difference between pain and suffering is that pain is short lived, we feel it and it is eventually gone. Our suffering comes from not accepting what’s happening in the moment, be it pain or pleasure or peace of mind; from trying to avoid the reality of life. In psychological terms most of our suffering comes from that place within us where our "developed personalities" have separated from our true nature or inherent character. This means that our experiences in life, our societal and familial programming can cause us to become numb to our true hearts.
Because of this we can generate all kinds of neuroses to mask the pain and loneliness of separation. With mindfulness practice (meditation and self awareness) we can begin to notice old patterns that are causing us suffering. Maybe you were a caregiver for example, to someone in your family and that is now how, as an adult, you express care or love - by not asserting your own needs and constantly making things ok for the person you are “caring” for. The lesson here would be how can you turn that care toward yourself? How can you maintain boundaries with others, let them learn their own lessons while testing out how to feel loved without having to give everything to someone else. There are many more stories of this nature and the point is to find your own.
How do you find your own? click here: Go to Stage 1 Healing Assignment: Suffering vs Pain.
Stage 1 Trauma and Denial. Why is breaking up so hard?
Trauma and Denial
Why is breaking up so hard?
Apart from the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship can be one of the most difficult emotional experiences that any of us will go through. The loss of a love whether through a breakup or divorce can rock the very foundation of our being. It can trigger past hurts, old wounds and even make us feel as if all our hopes and dreams have been forever lost. When we are in this place it’s hard to believe that this is actually happening to us. These are the initial stages of shock, trauma and denial. The good new is you WILL get through this and you can be as happy and likely happier than you have ever been before but before that can happen you have to deal with now.
So, how does denial help you deal with now?
Denial and minimization are often the first responses people have to shocking or life altering experiences. This is your natural defense to overwhelm, a way to integrate our emotion, intellect, fear and speed of change into manageable chunks so we don’t collapse. It’s a little like the reset button on an electrical socket. When we get overwhelmed we may even have moments of complete shutdown in that we disassociate from whatever is happening as if it wasn’t really happening to us. We may even re-write history or begin to overanalyze every aspect of the relationship leading to the breakup to slow down the acceptance of what we already know to be true but can’t quite accept or process yet. Does any of this sound familiar? You may run the gamut of feeling from anxiety, panic, emotional outbursts and sleeplessness to the opposite end of the spectrum; exhaustion, inability to eat, disorientation and complete lack of focus. Either being “on” like a live electrical wire or completely “off”, no energy at all. The important thing to remember is that these emotions are normal for this stage of the experience. It’s ok to feel what you are feeling. It’s your natural progression of healing.
You are more than this one experience!
You are good
You are whole
You are beautiful
Simply because you are YOU!
Stage 1 Plus :Sleep Deprivation- Often the first casaulty of trauma. Why sleep is so important
Sleep Deprivation- Often the First Casualty of Trauma
Why sleep is so important
Often one of the first things that happens when we are in shock, trauma and emotional turmoil is we can't go to sleep or stay asleep. Laying in bed we have no distractions to keep us from thinking about what is happening, ruminating on our fears and grief. Sleep deprivation can have serious effects on your health in the form of physical and mental impairments. Inadequate rest impairs our ability to think, handle stress, maintain a healthy immune system and moderate our emotions. In fact, sleep is so important to our overall health that total sleep deprivation has been proven to be fatal: lab rats denied the chance to rest die within two to three weeks.
Without adequate rest, the brain's ability to function quickly deteriorates. The brain works harder to counteract sleep deprivation effects, but operates less effectively: concentration levels drop, and memory becomes impaired. Similarly, the brain's ability to problem solve is greatly impaired. Decision-making abilities are compromised, and the brain falls into rigid thought patterns that make it difficult to generate new problem-solving ideas. Insufficient rest can also cause people to have hallucinations.
To avoid becoming too sleep deprived prepare support. Use the tools and suggestions given in your Relationship Emergency First Aid Kit. Review the articles on natural sleep aids and nutritional support and routines for good sleep.
- Take a warm shower or bath every night before you go to bed.
- Read a book or listen to relaxing music or a meditation.
- Go to bed at the same time every night.
If you are feeling an exasperation of the symptoms below, seek assitance from your medical doctor.
- slower reaction times
- slurred speech
Stage 1 Shifting Suffering- How to ride the waves of grace in dark times by Deepak Chopra
How to ride the waves of grace in dark times
By Deepak Chopra
When people face a dark hour, as all of us have to, what is the best way to move out of it? The kinds of darkness haven’t changed over the centuries, but our response has. The greatest change is that medicine has replaced religion as a way to explain what is happening. We speak of depression and anxiety as disorders, not as curses or as signs of sin. In the aftermath of trauma we don’t ask why God wanted t punish us; we cope with post-traumatic stress disorder through therapy, either talking to a professional or taking a pill. Thus the doctor has replaced the priest as first choice for dispelling the darkness when it descends.
The medical model is free of judgment; it removes blame from anyone who is afraid or depressed, who suddenly loses faith in themselves or wants to give up out of sheer hopelessness. This is all to the good. Yet there was something valuable in the spiritual model that we can’t afford to lose: the notion of the divided self. In the world’s wisdom traditions, darkness is inescapable, because Nature contains both creation and destruction. That includes our own nature. Everyone contains creative impulses and destructive impulses inside themselves. Being self-aware, we watch both at work, and since the destructive side – aging, sickness, fear, and depression – causes suffering, we yearn to escape it. Every society has a dispeller of darkness who is responsible for keeping the dark forces at bay. In the past the role was taken by priests, shamans, and gurus (the word “guru” means dispeller of darkness in Sanskrit).
Doctors can serve as modern replacements in order to alleviate immediate mental pain, but when it comes to wisdom or long-term change, they are relatively helpless. Even in an age of countless therapies and practitioners who train for years in psychology, real change depends on the sufferer himself: studies show that 75% of people who achieve significant improvement with their psychological problems did it on their own. The divided self isn’t going away, nor is the darkness it brings. So each of us must take responsibility for dispelling your own darkness, and that begins by seeing what is effective and what isn’t.
The paradox of suffering
Suffering is universal, and yet pain isn’t a good motivator for change. One can undergo years of darkness without finding a way out. If you stand back, it would seem paradoxical even to ask someone to deal with the destructive forces inside themselves. How can the divided self be both the sickness and the healer? No problem is more difficult to solve, which is why most people find it hard even to start. They feel too overshadowed by their problems. When fear, depression, anger, regret, helplessness, loneliness, or despair comes calling, it takes over the mind too easily; like a familiar guest, it knows just how to settle in and make itself comfortable. It does no good to blame yourself or wring your hands. It’s not your fault that negativity can gain such a strong hold. The divided self makes it inevitable, because life is constructed out of opposites, and the contest between light and darkness, evolution and entropy, growth and decay, good and evil, God and the Devil – pick any pair of opposites you prefer – keeps nature in balance and provides the dynamism for the cosmos itself.
But you can’t make the symptom the solution, which is what countless people do. They try to use the divided self to cure its own negativity. This happens in three ways...
To find out more about your coping and suffering styles and learn some techniques to move on; click on your healing assignement link below:
Stage 2 Saying Goodbye. It's a process not a destination
It's a process not a destination
Saying goodbye. It's something we all do at various times in our lives. Some of us do it consciously and intentionally, while some of us avoid it like the plague.
1. Saying goodbye is a process not a destination.
When you're saying goodbye to a relationship that's ending, it takes time to fully acknowledge and appreciate all that has occurred. When we say goodbye, we never say goodbye to one person, one event, or one thing. We say goodbye to many experiences - the lessons learned, the challenges won and lost, the unfulfilled promises, or the unexpected joys. This takes time, patience, and a willingness to sift through and experience all of our feelings.
The best way to create the space for a great, new beginning is to fully participate in the ending. This means acknowledging "what was" with eyes wide open. I've learned to say goodbye with meaning and purpose by using the power of ritual. The ritual of revisiting the memories (and the feelings), both good and bad, allows us to honor and appreciate the time we've been fortunate enough to share together.
Often we spend enormous amounts of time and energy trying to avoid the pain of saying goodbye. Learn to accept and embrace sadness as a normal part of the process. After all, the sadness simply means that we're experiencing the loss of something that held significance in our lives. It's earned the right to pull at your heart. If you allow yourself to go through it instead of working hard to go around it, you'll save yourself a whole lot of energy. You can't feel joy without cultivating the strength to feel pain.
Stage 2 Giving Yourself the Love You Need. How to nurture and heal your own heart.
Giving Yourself the Love You Need
How to nurture and heal your own heart.
Have you spent years looking for validation in all the wrong places? It’s your own validation that you’re really looking for.
We all, to some extent, in some way, look outside ourselves for validation. It’s human nature, the nature of society and our culture. But sometimes we forget that the person we really need validation from is ourselves. When our only sense of self-esteem comes from what we are wearing, how we look and what we have, then we find ourselves in a precarious and doomed position."In some ways, that's not unhealthy," says Kathleen Brehony, a clinical psychologist, personal and executive coach, and author. "Everyone likes to have a reflection coming back that's positive," she says. "We're social animals. We want to be liked and approved of. The question is to what extent we will go to get that, and to what extent we need it. Anybody who says they don't care what other people say or think about them is probably not well liked or adjusted. On the other hand, there's a problem if you think that if men aren't looking at you, if you don't get an A on a paper, if you don't accomplish something professionally, then you're worthless."
Many of us know logically that we aren’t worthless, but often we find that we are running as fast as we can to keep up and the treadmill is about to sweep us under. No matter how we excel, the voices in our heads tell us we are never enough. What would it be like to be enough, just because you are you, without accomplishments, without flat abs, without tallying how many men flirted with you in the frozen food aisle. What would it be like to feel—in your bones, your soul, yourself—worthy? Many of us have been on a quest to find our value on the inside, not even knowing if it’s possible to let go of our exterior standards. We attune with our intellect through books delving into our psyche and our traditional/historical role in society. Even if we understand the logic, it often doesn’t translate into the rest of our lives and “selves.”
Self-help books tell us it’s all about our thinking and perspective. That message is well and good—except we often don’t’ really believe it in that deep hidden part of ourselves. We are sure we have to be perfect to be loved. All these things keep us in our heads, but the problem is really deep in our gut and hard to reach. Often there remains an inner chasm, needy and gaping, that our intellect just can’t breach alone.This is when we take up the art of spelunking- searching in our internal caves to shine a light on our inner beliefs and histories. Then when we can identify them, we can address them with all the resources and perspective of an adult. The voices, saying you aren’t pretty enough or sufficiently competent or worthy are voices from childhood and society that can play in an endless loop. To the little girl who heard them, they were inarguable, but not to you as an adult. Consider this: often times those outside things actually can feel like the only things we really CAN control. How so? Well, if you are unhappy and you tell yourself all you have to do is diet or buy a new outfit, that is something tangible and actionable. Whereas trying to unravel the confluence of our life’s events and their effects can seem a lot more daunting and even impossible.
So where to begin? Well it may feel silly but we begin with mothering ourselves and healing our child wounds. It’s a fairly simple start but can feel a little awkward at first. First find a photo of yourself as a child and and then with an open mind and heart proceed to the healing assignment below.
Stage 2 Mood Medication from Nature
Mood Medication from Nature
There are several supplements, herbs, and vitamins used as mood medication
Exercise, proper diet, relaxation techniques, and yoga can help fight a mood disorder. If you have moderate or severe mood problem, or are currently taking pharmaceutical medicines for a mood disorder, discuss with your doctor before adding any supplements. Some of these supplements can be quite powerful and may interact with medicines.
Also consider Mind Power Rx which has mood support properties in addition to overall mind enhancing qualities. See below after this list. Here is a list of nutrients and herbs for depression:
5-HTP may sometimes start working within hours. 5-HTP converts into serotonin, and important brain chemical involved in mood, appetite, and impulse control. 5-HTP suits those whose mood disorder is associated with anxiety, restlessness, or racing thoughts.
Stage 1 What is Trauma? Why heartbreak can leave us traumatized.
What is Trauma?
Why heartbreak can leave us traumatized.
Trauma is your protection against overwhelm, allowing you to integrate painful and shocking information in manageable bits and pieces.
What does it mean to be traumatized? Emotional and psychological trauma is the result of extraordinarily stressful events that shatter your sense of security, making you feel helpless and vulnerable in a seemingly now unfamiliar world. If you are in trauma or shock you may also be feeling, grief, denial and a sense of unreality.
FIRST: Know you will get through this.
Now is the time to treat yourself with extreme compassion and care. Depending on the depth of the loss, past hurts and life experiences you may find that you are literally in shock. This is the body/minds natural defense against intense pain. When we lose a person who we are intimate with, rely upon emotionally, financially and as a part of our nuclear existance it can shift our internal compass of security, safety and trust. The unchanging familiar landmarks of our lives are suddenly gone and we may feel as if we are adrift in our own life. This can be true whether we are compliant with the separation or not. In any case we are forced to create new foundations of stability in our lives.
Any situation that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and alone can be traumatic, even if it doesn’t involve physical harm. It’s not the objective facts that determine whether an event is traumatic, but your subjective emotional experience of the event. The more frightened and helpless you feel, the more likely you are to be traumatized.
If you’ve gone through a traumatic experience, you may be struggling with upsetting emotions, memories, or a sense of constant anxiety that you just can’t kick. Or you may feel numb, disconnected, and unable to trust other people. When traumatic events happen, it can take awhile to get over the pain and feel balanced again. But treatment and support from family and friends can speed your recovery from emotional and psychological trauma. Know You can heal and move on.
What makes traumatic response differ from normal stress?
Most people consider the definition of stress to be something that causes distress. However, stress is not always harmful since increased stress results can increase productivity. Any definition of stress should also embrace this type of healthy stress, which is usually ignored when you ask someone about their definition of stress. The definition of stress for most people tends to focus on the negative feelings and emotions it produces. Almost every definition of stress also discusses certain resultant physical, physiological or biochemical responses that are experienced or observed. A very comprehensive definition of stress that includes these and more is the biopsychosocial model, which, as it name suggests, has three components. This definition of stress distinguishes between an external element, another that is internal, as well as a third that represents the interaction between these two factors.
Stress begins with a percpetion and creates a physioligical response. Stress an essentially normal response to feeling overwhelmed or threatened. Fight, flight and freeze are survival responses that developed to protect us from danger. In moments of stress, hormones release and, as our heart beat speeds up and blood pressure increases, we breath quicker, move faster, hit harder, see better, hear more accurately, and jump higher than we could only seconds earlier. Because all of our available focus and energy are being channeled towards our physical defense we therefor also have reduced cognitive ability and a singular focus on survival. These neurological and physiological changes enable us to better protect ourselves in the moment. But once the danger has passed, our nervous systems calm down and we return to a state of equilibrium or neurological balance. Positive stress can produce feelings of exhilaration and opportunity. Not all people experience stress in the same way. One person’s exhilarating challenge may be another’s terrifying experience.
When someone becomes traumatized they are in stress frozen in place –locked into a pattern of neurological distress that doesn’t go away by returning to a state of equilibrium. Traumatization promotes ongoing disability that can take many mental, social, emotional and physical forms. Like normal stress, trauma is also experienced differently by different individuals.
What are the common links between both high and low impact experiences that trigger traumatic responses?
Trauma and loss are parts of life. It is not what happens to us but how we react to it that determines whether or not an experience or a series of less intense experiences will, in fact, be traumatizing. The more vulnerable the person, the more they are at risk for the neural dysregulation that can follow traumatic experiences. Whether dysregulation follows an intense event described with symptoms of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) or a seemingly benign event or series of events with symptoms like depression, anxiety or relationship disorders, emotionally traumatizing events contain three common elements:
- It was unexpected;
- The person was unprepared; and
- There was nothing the person could do to prevent it from happening.
It is only in recent history that we have come to recognize trauma can occur from the dissolution of significant relationships.
Traumatizing events can take a serious emotional toll on those involved, even if the event did not cause physical damage.
Symptoms of trauma can include the following:
- Low self esteem
- Needy, clingy or pseudo-independent behavior
- Inability to deal with stress and adversity
- Lack of self-control
- Antisocial attitudes and behaviors
- Aggression and violence
- Difficulty with genuine trust, intimacy, and affection
- Negative, hopeless, pessimistic view of self, family and society
- Lack of empathy, compassion and remorse
- Susceptibility to chronic illness
- Obsession with food: hordes, gorges, refuses to eat, eats strange things, hides food
- Repetition of the cycle of maltreatment and attachment disorder in their own children when they reach adulthood
These symptoms are somewhat encompassing as they also include the affects of relational and developmental trauma which can occur form infancy through childhood and affect our developing brains and early experiences of attachment. The point of listing these here is simply to give context; if you are experiencing these symptoms as a result of your heartbreak they are a part of your process and normal responses to a traumatizing event.
click here: Go To Healing Assignment: Trauma and Denial
Stage 1 Healing Assignment: Suffering vs. Pain
Healing Assignment: Suffering vs. Pain
Reflect on and write about the following questions.
- Take a moment to remember a painful experience that taught you a vital lesson and write it and the lesson in your journal.
- What relationships have formed you?
- What responses or patterns have you formed to cope, self protect or be loved?
- Name a few of the surprising messages playing in your subconscious?
- What are you learning about your thoughts and undercover beliefs in this process?
- What causes your suffering and what feels in alignment with your true self?
- Listen to the audio meditation on releasing attachment and suffering.
Click here to go to Meditation: Releasing Attachment and Suffering