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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5824
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Kate. Sorry to be so needy. I was wondering if it was a

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Hi Kate. Sorry to be so needy.
I was wondering if it was a normal thing to feel so down and not be able to turn it off, like at work yesterday. I mean, I could stop myself from crying, but I couldn't put things away - even just right under the surface. Is that how normal people are? Like when they're down, they just are? Or was it just because my emotions are so extreme? I couldn't hide Thursday night or yesterday or wen last evening that I am feeling bad. Is that how things are supposed to be, or, in a normal situation, accepting my feelings, would I be able to keep it under wraps? Does what I'm asking make sense? I'm trying to figure out what is progress and what is not.
Linda Brought up the whole retraumatization thing yesterday that you have brought up months ago. It make me feel better and safer that she was apparently very in tune to what was going on with me and was on top of it. She said it was so obvious that it wasn't rocket science, but still - it hasn't been that way sometimes in the past. She said that it was painful to watch. I kind of want to know what she means - like what was I doing? But I kind of don't want to know until I am past the point of worrying about it.
She asked me last evening, before we were getting off the phone, if I was safe, which of course I was. Then she asked of I could keep myself safe. I didn't know what she meant, and she said I was very "bummed.". I told her that's true, but I would never be that bummed - I would never do anything. She said she was glad and that she had to to make sure. I was really surprised. She has never brought something like that up before. But I Also found it interesting, because I would never ever do something like that. It's too selfish and no matter what the circumstances, everyone else is left with a bunch of guilt. And I don't want to die. I mean, sometimes Ido when things are so hard, but not that way. It's not up to me. I just want relief. I would want to go to sleep for a very long time, but I do want to wake up. but Thursday might, for probably the first time, I did consider that possibility. I dismissed it. Again, that's not something I would do or even threaten, but I did realize the other night that it was an option and the only way I could get immediate relief, perhaps. I thought it was a bad option. Do you think she knew I had thought about it? How could she know? I didn't say anything to her at all - not even close. The timing was just weird. Oh well. I was serious that I would never, ever do it, and I wouldn't try anything either (I mean, my feeling is that if I really wanted to do it, I certainly wouldn't threaten it. Kind of defeat the purpose if that's what someone really wants, doesn't it?). So I want to be clear that I do not consider it even a small possibility. But it was kind of weird that she brought it up.
I don't know which parts of this are healthy and which are playing into the unhealthy ways I learned growing up. Can you help me distinguish? I don't know how it should be. But in doing this, I guess I'm still not just letting things come and accepting them. But when I think I am, then I find out - no, I'm just playing into those old bad lessons. ???

You are never needy! I want to be here to help you through this so anytime you need to talk is fine.

Yes, it is very normal to feel down and not be able to stop it. People who have been through losses and traumas often find that everything feels differently and that they cannot stop feeling awful. It is your mind's way of dealing with what happened.

You have suffered an extreme trauma, a life threatening one. It doesn't matter that it was years ago. What matters is that you are dealing with it now. The feelings you have with it are going to be extreme. Just like anyone who has suffered trauma like a death, war or a major event such as what just happened in Colorado. I just read about a police officer who was shot by a criminal. When they asked him about how he was doing, he said he feels fine physically but mentally it's going to take a while to heal. Just like what you are feeling now.

Everyone experiences ups and downs in life. Most things are pretty easy to cope with. You can feel discouraged, sad, angry or just ok with it. When you get to something like a loss or trauma, reactions are much different. Those are the things you can't keep under wraps and just carry on. Those are the things that shake your core and change how everything seems around you. Your emotions take over your life and become the focus until you are able to find ways to cope with them.

Linda is right, it is hard to see someone suffer. You are going through a very difficult time. What you are experiencing is normal for what you suffered, but that doesn't make it easy to cope with. And Linda is probably just letting you know that she understands.

Suicidal risk does go up when someone is suffering emotionally. Even the strongest person can think about suicide when traumas happen. The emotional pain it so intense that it makes you think about it, even if you are not seriously considering it. I don't know anyone that hasn't thought of it at least a few times when they have suffered a trauma. But thoughts are much different than plans. And you don't have any plans. Linda probably just wants to be sure she is aware that you are in that much pain.

I will certainly help you sort out your emotions and distinguish them. I would be glad to help :) But I think you are doing great just as you are. You want to know how to work this through and you are motivated. That is exactly what you need to work through this. It may be hard because of happened to you as a child, but I have no doubt you will work through it.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
thank you, ***** ***** you clear up for me what it means to "cope?". I use that word a lot, but I'm not sure that what I think it means is the same as you are using it. Like when you said my feelings will be the focus until I learn how to "cope" with them. What does that mean, exactly. What would that look like to me? What exactly do you mean when you say to "accept" feelings, and what is the difference between that and "letting the feelings in" or letting them happen or letting them come? An how do I get to the first, then how do I get to the second? Are they close? And what is the difference between feeling the feelings and expressing them? And are both necessary? But it doesn't mean automatically expressing them when feeling them, right? (I already battle against that with thoughts - sometimes I think them and they shoot out my mouth. As c (church c, not bad dad c) has said to me: " just because you think it doesn't mean you have to say it - especially at church" :) ).

To cope means that when you feel something, you have ways to deal with it. Many times, it takes a while to learn how to cope with a trauma or loss. That is because it is a shock to your system due to the overwhelming emotions attached to it.

I understand your questions. But it sounds like you are overanalyzing what you feel. There is no guide book on what feelings look like when you feel them. You just feel them. Looking too closely at them is making them more than they really are. Let go and let yourself experience them. Like crying. You just feel it and expressing it is crying. That is all. Looking at it too closely is going to keep you from experiencing what you really feel.

You don't always have to express what you feel. Just feeling it is fine. If it does get overwhelming, sharing it with someone does help. Or just expressing what you feel, like crying. Writing also helps. All are ways to cope with feelings that get to be overwhelming. You decide what you need.

TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Okay. I kinda get it. :). I called Debra & we went to the park & talked for like 3 hours. She only lives a few blocks away from us Not just about this, but about a lot of stuff. It was actually good. And she said, "you know, it's okay to let me know when you need help." I like that she doesn't care that she doesn't know a whole lot about what happened and she doesn't pry. For once I don't feel like she would feel differently if she had all the facts. I really get the sense it wouldn't matter.
I meant to comment before on something you said a few days ago. You said that they may have hurt me badly, but they can't take anything fromm - that they had no right to. But, Kate, they did take things. They didn't have a "right" to do any of it, but they could and they did. They DID take something. Maybe I can get it back (when I figure out what it was), but they did take something. I just hope they don't keep it and I am mostly afraid the mean one left something of him in me - or recognized something of him in me and that's why he knew I was the right one.

I am glad to hear that you talked with Debra and that you were able to make that breakthrough!

I think whatever you feel those guys took you will be able to get back. It just will take some time.