Do you ever come home from work/school and want to “kick the dog”, yell at your spouse/parents/kids/roommate…?
Have you ever found yourself in a bad mood for no particular reason?
Well, there usually is a reason, it’s just that we aren’t always self aware enough to know what we are feeling and why we are feeling it…
For someone in the mental health field, I am still not particularly aware of my thoughts, feelings and emotions on a day to day basis. There are times that I realize I have been in a pretty bad mood and I’m not sure why. I may be feeling irritable and sad without even realizing it. If I take the time to ponder my mood or emergent feelings, I will often discover that there is more going on beneath the surface. For instance, I have been feeling depressed for the last couple of weeks. I just wrote it off to a bad mood – you know more work stress that I have to deal with.
It wasn’t until several days ago that I realized it is coming up on the one year anniversary of my mother’s death. A year ago today, my family was hanging out in the ICU of Wuestoff Hospital in Rockledge Florida deciding about putting my Mom in hospice care. I was aware of missing my Mom during the holidays and could embrace the sadness and give myself some understanding of how I was feeling. However, if we don’t know what we are feeling, or why we are feeling it, how can we understand it? Or for that matter, how can we understand ourself?
I grew up in a family where everyone walked on eggshells in a vain attempt at keeping the peace in our house. I never had an opinion about anything because I learned early on that it didn’t matter what I thought or felt. This worked well growing up, but then as an adult I didn’t know who I was. I have been getting to know myself through my adult years and there are times I am still not very aware of what I am thinking or feeling and it sneaks up on me, surprising me with emotions I am somehow feeling without truly understanding.
Seeing a therapist/psychologist can be one way of addressing this in your life. You can learn about yourself and what you like and don’t like; who YOU were meant to be, not who you think you are supposed to be based on the expectations of others. Women are especially susceptible to this. I see it all the time in women who have lived their entire lives meeting the needs of others. They can tell you what everyone else needs, but not what they themselves need. Realizing who you are and what you need does not have to be a selfish act. After all, You have to put on the oxygen mask yourself before you can help anyone else.