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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5810
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Kate: I am feeling extremely overwhelmed and do not know how

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I am feeling extremely overwhelmed and do not know how to push my feelings and emotions down so i can get on with my day. I see my therapist on Friday but I can't wait until then to dig myself out of my sad mood. I have tried journalling (made me feel worse which never happens), getting out of the house, etc. but nothing is working.
My therapist wants me to slowly get control back of my life from my attacker. This means everything that is a trigger for me (makes me anxious, fearaful, sad, etc.) we plan to tackle one at a time.
But to me, although I think it is a great idea, it feels so overwhelming. There are so many triggers and thing that I am terrified of. The more scared or sad I get over thesse things, the more my OCD increases. The more my OCD increases, the sadder and discouraged I get.
I always wondered why I put my seatbelt on (besides it being the law) when I often feel like giving up on life. Then it hit me. Death is something I can control to a certain degree. If I want to die, I can make it happen. It seems that I have very little control over anything in my life except that. I know how terrible this sounds but it is truthfully how I feel.
My therapist says that we will just work on one thing on a time and slowly get me more and more control back. But I just think it will take forever if it is even possible.
I'm not sure there is a question here but it helps me feel less lonely with my overwhelming emotions just to write you and know that someone cares.

Hi Kathy,

I am sorry that you are feeling this way. It is very hard and takes great courage to do what you are doing.

Your therapist is right, one step at a time. But that can seem like a mountain to climb when you are facing so many over overwhelming feelings.

You had a very good insight when you mentioned that you want to die because you can control it. So much of the feelings you suffer are from a situation that was out of your control. Being able to control something would feel very good right now. But recognizing that you feel that way is in a sense control. You realize how deep your feelings go and your insight helps you seek support when you need it.

Keep in mind, your recovery will not take forever. You are so much further along than you were just a few months ago and way ahead of where you were when we first started talking. You have made great progress and I have no doubt you will continue to do so.

When you work on your symptoms, you will start resolving them one by one. Don't look at them as a group. As each of them are resolved, you will begin to feel better and better. Things will become clearer and you will be able to work on your symptoms on your own as well because you will have gained more insight. So looking at your recovery as a whole will make you feel overwhelmed. But seeing one step at a time helps. It is a step process that become cumulative.

And you already have a good amount of control right now. You are getting help for what happened to you. Your attacker did not win. You are getting better and less and less under his control as you do. You seek help when you feel bad (like now) and you continue to push to feel better. Once you are better, you will be wiser and stronger than you were before the attack. You are showing your attacker that not only will he not win, but you will be a better person for it.

I know you are feeling very sad and down. But instead of pushing those feelings down and trying to rid yourself of them, allow them in. Accept that you feel sad, for today. Make as much accommodations to your schedule as you can so you can indulge yourself. Also, repeat comforting sayings to yourself such as, "this too will pass. I feel this way now but I will feel better soon. Sadness will not hurt me. I am in control and I am allowing myself time to deal with feeling bad". Changing your thinking will help your mood improve and help you feel better. Take one moment at a time if you need to. Time will pass whether you feel good or not, so your sadness will not last forever.


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Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Thanks Kate for your suggestions and support. It means a lot to me especially right now. As I struggle through this, the thing that scares me the most is how distraught I often get. I am in a constant battle with myself as my anxiety over my emotions spurs on more OCD symptoms which then in turn makes me feel even worse.

You must see something that I don't because I do not feel I have made much progress at all. I feel like I have been trying and trying and getting no where. I want to feel happy again but I forget sometimes what that feels like. The sadness I feel about what happened to me is so big. Plus sometimes I feel guilty for feeling the way I do when there is so much bad going on in the world that is worse than what I went through.

I apologize if I am complaining too much but right now I just need an outlet for my feelings and you are it.



Kathy, I don't mind being your outlet at all! I am very glad I can help.

It is easy to feel overwhelmed and distraught about your feelings because since the attack you have reacted to what happened. That is the nature of a trauma- the strong and invasive feelings your body and mind created in response to what happened. You are supposed to feel the way you do because what happened to you was invasive and horrific. If you were to just have a little anxiety or maybe some tears, I would worry about you!

There is no measure of your sadness and anxiety compared to others. Each person has there own way of coping with the trauma that is imposed on us in life. Comparing yourself to others who suffer is only a way to make yourself feel ashamed of your own feelings. There is nothing to be ashamed about. You suffered, you are trying to get better. You have a right to feel whatever you need to in order to recover. Besides, there are many people who have even less reason to feel sad and depressed than you do. Yet they still feel it and it is just as valid as your reasons.

I can see your progress because it is there. You may not see your progress because it seems to you as if you are feeling bad all the time. But since I met you, you have worked steadily towards feeling better. You have faced your fears, talked about your attack, expressed your deepest feelings (not so easy for a trauma survivor), and consistently reached out for help. These are all signs of a survivor and of someone who won't give up or give in. So your attacker has lost already from my point of view.

You may be experiencing a cycle of symptoms between feeling bad, feeling anxious and the OCD symptoms and that is ok. It is your way of coping. You can break it by accepting your feelings. Anxiety comes when you feel out of control. And OCD is a way of trying to control. So you are trying to answer feeling distraught and other symptoms by following the cycle. But you can break it. Accept you are feeling bad. That does not mean you cannot try to find a way to make yourself feel better. What makes you feel happy? Make a list. I imagine your daughter would be on there. What else? What you want to do by making the list is think of things that at least make you smile. Something funny you once saw, a roller coaster, etc. Think of these things to help you change your feelings into something you can tolerate. If you can laugh or smile, even for just a second, you will have changed your thinking and controlled your emotions in a healthy way.


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