• Soo Woods

Are you emotionally out of whack?

I promised recently that I would come back with more information on ‘being out of whack emotionally’ and I’m a woman of my word. To me, being ‘out of whack emotionally’ is one and the same as ‘emotional distress’ and so I may use the terms interchangeably. When did you last feel unable to cope? Do you feel depressed, isolated and disconnected from others? Do you lose sleep to migraines and/or nightmares? Are you fatigued and easily angered? Do you feel stuck in anxiety? Has the brain fog set in? I think my most recent episode was a few months ago and my ‘go to’ is usually to isolate. And yes, I still have ‘wobbles’ (after all, I am human). But what I can tell you is that it is generally only BIG stuff now that makes me wobble and even then, I am then able to regain my equilibrium quickly, rather than getting stuck in ‘that’ hole. What some people are surprised to learn is that we are SUPPOSED to experience emotions. We are not programmed to go through life at a monotonous tone. Learning how best to experience emotions is a very helpful and important skill which sadly is not taught in school (yet … to my knowledge)! Sadly, many of us find experiencing difficult emotions too hard and dive into coping mechanisms such as eating, drinking, smoking. So, what IS ‘being out of whack emotionally?’ ​​It simply means you are experiencing one or more emotions at a level that you personally find uncomfortable. These emotions may be fear or anger based, or maybe sadness. We are all different and we all have our own unique experience, it is a part of human existence (and in my beliefs, something we come to this lifetime to experience and learn from!) Interestingly, the legal definition of ‘emotional distress’ is: ‘a highly unpleasant emotional reaction which results from another’s conduct.’ I challenge the second half of this definition because how we react actually has nothing to do with the other, it is dependent on our unique programming from life experiences. [And this programming can be 'updated' whenever we are ready to do so!] What can CAUSE emotional distress? The simplest answer is : “a lot!” And what affects one person won’t affect another in the same way. The causes may include relationship difficulties, financial strain, going through a traumatic experience or event, problems at work, environmental factors such as low income, discrimination, debt, unhealthy lifestyle, undergoing major life changes … and so the list goes on. What are the SYMPTOMS? ​​How do you know you are experiencing emotional distress? These are many and varied, and again, as different as we all are, but may include some of the following:

  • Feelings of overwhelm, helplessness or hopelessness

  • Getting stuck in spirals of worry and anxiety

  • Having brain fog; difficulty thinking clearly or remembering things

  • Bouts of depression and generalised low mood; little or no energy

  • Eating or sleeping too much or too little

  • Reaching for that support by way of alcohol, cigarette, drugs (including prescription)

  • Isolating from people and things

  • Getting angry and upset at the smallest stress

  • Feelings of loneliness

  • Unexplained aches and pains, such as stomach aches or headaches

Emotional distress can become overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be! Wouldn’t you like to learn how to cope with difficult situations more easily and not feel like you’ve been hit side on by a ten tonne truck each time? So, what can you DO? ​​The first step is to acknowledge you are struggling. Then to decide whether your degree of suffering is something you can address on your own with activities such as more exercise, mindfulness, and if you know how, sit with, experience and process your uncomfortable emotions. You may decide you are better off reaching out for help; a medical professional or therapist who honestly understands and is able to support you through this phase, a friend or loved one. What matters most is that you are able to find a way through to beyond; a way that helps you find your balance emotionally and thus live a more peaceful life.

To your emotional equilibrium

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