Label Your Emotions

My college term is coming to an end. If you had asked me ten weeks ago if I believed it would ever come to an end, you would have heard: NO! It is a lot. I work full time, husband works nights, I work days, two children (one with Autism), a love for yoga, and the gym. I have not seen the gym since this term started. I have been consumed in the world of psychology and math.

Math, I did not believe I would do well in. I implemented the “growth mentality” thought. This is where you believe it can happen, and then it does. I must say that it has exhausted my resources. I have been through a lot in the past ten weeks and my post-traumatic stress disorder is always creeping around the corner. Along with the PTSD, my depression has started to sit in its seat.

I believe that I have set out on a quest of understanding myself through higher education of psychology. I not only want to apply what I learn in these classes to myself but to others around me. I have been slammed into a normally sixteen-week course into a ten weeks. Learning about classical conditioning, mood disorders, personality disorders, the movements in our gray matter. I feel like I am so overwhelmed by the knowledge that I am sinking into my own gray matter.

However, I learned a technique that I have found to be beneficial. It was briefly mentioned in my psychology courses, but reinforced by a podcast on (you guessed it) psychology. Label your emotion. People have emotions, some are happy, some are sad, some are anxious, some are scary, some are angry; whatever the case may be, label that emotion.

I have started to do it myself and have found great relief. For instance, if I come home from a grueling day at work and the house is a warzone with ASD meltdowns, dishes, and dinner to cook before seminar I would just ignore that part of me nagging that I was aggravated. So, on a night that this had happened I went through a mental checklist in my head.

  • I am frustrated that I worked hard all day at work and come home to a warzone
  • I am fearful that Li is having a meltdown and I do not want it to escalate
  • I am aggravated that I do not feel well
  • I am angry with my blood family for not understanding me
  • I am angry when people dismiss my mental handicaps as “you’ve always been a drama queen”

Labelling the emotions has helped me release them. I am able to say to myself (mentally) “I hate when people do not understand that I am in need of a life raft,”. I acknowledge the emotion for what it is and then it is gone. It is as if someone took a huge eraser and wiped it from my memory. No, not literally. A bit of the energy lingers, but by acknowledging it and letting it go has let me find peace.

I have learned that even people that “fake” a smile tend to start smiling more, and then more genuinely. I have learned the patterns of thought can lead people into the most euphoric, and the deepest hole of depression. Is depression a choice? In some cases, it can be, in others it is a chemical imbalance in the brain that does not release the normal amounts of chemical hormones. I have been in awe, and withdrawn with the facts that I am learning about myself, and the suffering of those around me.

I do not believe that taking one psychology course would hurt anyone. It gives one insight into the fascinating cabbage sized piece of gray matter in our skull. The littlest item that can cause the biggest physiological problems.

Label your emotions. Keep a journal for the positive emotions, what triggered them? You can look back at that journal and see the trigger. The same would go with depression.

This all has been fascinating.

Thank you as always to Jenn Bovee for being my counselor and life coach. For helping me make, and keep boundaries. For listening to me ramble on about the same stuff over and over. For helping me work through my trauma. I am forever in her debt.

Light up the Darkness,