Emotions!

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Today is a teary day… don’t really know why… but it is. I’m crying and it is one of those days when I’m not sure if the tears will ever stop.

Last week in my DBT session we were looking at the function of emotions. The premise is: emotions show up for a reason. We experience emotions to either

a) communicate

b) motivate or

c) self-validate. This self-validation can either be justifiable or unjustifiable.

I’m not sure I entirely understand all of this, but I’m open to the ideas. One of my tasks this week is to try and ascertain the function of my emotions when they arise. To be honest, I am finding it difficult. Only last night as I was filling in my diary card I realised that this is not something that comes naturally to me- and every time I have experienced an emotion this week, it has taken all my effort to observe it and describe it! (Two of the mindfulness skills). I just haven’t remembered in the moment to try and work at the function!

But here I am, half hour to spare before meeting a friend for lunch- feeling upset- so is there anything in the function stuff?! I also have to confess at this point, one of the other mindfulness skills I am trying to work on is doing one thing at a time and today this is hard for me. As I write I have Loose Women on the tele in the background. I know I need to do one or other of the things- either write this blog or watch the programme. For some reason, I am finding it hard to turn the tele off! I am going to make a start and the volume has just been muted!

So here goes with this function stuff. I’m tearful. And I’m tearful because I feel sad and low- possibly didn’t get enough sleep either. I think possibly this sadness has an element of all three functions! I’m sad and the tears are communicating that sadness to myself and to my doctor who I’ve just seen this morning. I am always relieved when I cry- as many many times I feel like crying but no water comes out- which I find even more distressing. So today I am thankful for the tears. It is also communicating to me that I need to try and go to bed earlier and look after my sleep patterns.

Does this sadness motivate me in any way? That’s tricky. Normally when I feel this sad I hide away, veg in front of the tele and do as little as possible! But I read a quote today from Joyce Meyer that really challenged me: “Don’t keep doing the same things and expect a different result.” Wow, so simple but I experienced it as a really powerful truth… how I have been managing my sadness/depression whatever it is- hasn’t been working and if I want a different ‘result’ maybe I will have to change the way I’ve been doing things. So the sadness has motivated me to try different things. Firstly, I’m writing…secondly, I have tried to build a bird stand (this was a bit of a disaster as I couldn’t get the screws in, and my frustration then turned into a swearing and crying session, so maybe that bit of DIY wasn’t such a good idea, but at least it was different!!!!

Is my sadness justifiable or unjustifiable? Actually, I think in this moment it could possibly be justifiable. I am sad as I miss my dog very much. I am sad as my relationship with my doctor has changed and I miss the way it used to be. I am sad as I feel stuck as to how to move forward. So actually my sadness highlights that I need to self-soothe, show self-compassion and put things in place to help me through the day. This I will do.

I’m not sure if I did the exercise correctly (I know, there is no such thing as wrong or right!) but I’ve certainly looked at my tears in a different way. Thank you.

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