Dealing With Overwhelming Feelings

The closer it gets to Memorial Day, the more I’m overcome with emotions. I have family who recently passed that were veterans. I think about the sacrifices they made. There are people I love who are fighting various illnesses. Some are watching their loved ones fight epilepsy, while others battle different forms of cancer. Some fight debilitating diseases like ALS and MS, while others fight mental disorders. No matter how many of us deal with our emotions, the fact is that we all have hearts, and those hearts deal with a complexity of emotions throughout our days, months, years, and decades.  

As we find our way back to a sense of normalcy as COVID restrictions loosening, I have so many mixed emotions swirling inside. Over the last year, I have seen so many people angry with each other and our government. I’ve watched verbal sparring and bullying become the norm on social media platforms, and worse, I’ve seen and heard the stories of people who lost their lives to the disease and to the social inflictions they endured.   

A few days ago, I heard stories of young people bullied so much by their peers that they committed suicide. My heart sank for the families that are left behind. There’s nothing worse than the pain of losing a child. The parents won’t get to hold their children once they are gone. They’ll not hear them come down the hall, nor the pitter-patter of feet. All that remains is the memories that haunt the ones left to remember their presence. Sometimes, those memories are so painful that people have pride or feel too weak to talk about them. 

No matter how you deal with overwhelming feelings, chances are you are not alone. When I get to those points of feeling depressed or anxious, I have to remind myself that this isn’t always something that I can snap out of, but rather something that I need to be mindful of how my emotions are affecting my health. One of the most damning things people suffer from depression and anxiety deals with is “Just snap out of it.” If “snapping out of it” was that easy, people would overcome depression and other mental illnesses much more manageable. Unfortunately, life isn’t easy. Fighting illnesses people can’t see can be exhausting. Adding issues to depression doesn’t help people relax – if anything, it adds to more overwhelming feelings and anxieties.

I recently attended a virtual seminar that dealt with people who are combatting depression and other illnesses. Here are some of the points they raised about talking to those you know are dealing with depression.

Don’t

  • Minimize their feelings
  • Dismiss their symptoms
  • Deny their feelings
  • Compare their feelings to others
  • Express apathy
  • Call them selfish

Do

  • Tell them you care
  • Ask how you can help
  • Take care of tasks like chores or errands
  • Offer to help them find help
  • Express empathy and understanding
  • Be supportive

Some of the pointers should be common sense, but I’ve found myself guilty of some don’ts. Before I battled depression, I used to compare others and their feelings. Often, I dismissed their symptom and minimized their emotions while thinking they were self-absorbed in self-pity. I was wrong on so many levels. When you face overwhelming feelings and emotions, it’s easy to feel like you’re in a bottomless pit with nothing to pull you out. The most challenging part of the journey is figuring out when you need help and going through stages. Complications can happen with anyone struggling with their emotions. If a person doesn’t take the time to sort out their feelings, it can create a jumbled mess. So how does a person begin to deal with overwhelming emotions when they feel like a mess? Here are some helpful ideas that I found online. I hope they help you.  

  1. Observe and describe the emotions. We sort through our feelings and identify what we feel is critical to getting a sense of control back in our lives. Part of the reason this is necessary is that if we can’t identify what we feel, we tend to become numb.  
  2. Reframe negative or overwhelming thoughts. There is power in positive energy. If all you do and hear is negative, you are programming yourself to live in a negative mind. When you surround yourself with positivity, the world gets a little lighter, and your mindset shifts.  
  3. Become aware of your vulnerability to negative emotions. When we think about negative emotions, our self-esteem starts feeling negative. Instead of looking at something that happened that was a bad experience, try looking at the glass as half-full. What good things transpired can be used to make you shift your focus from draining to inspiring? 
  4. Distract.  This tool can be a wonderful respite from drama. If you find yourself overwhelmed, change your focus with a distraction. Maybe you find a book you’ve wanted to read or write, or perhaps you start working out with an exercise regime. There are always other things that can provide a helpful distraction and make you see your situations a little differently. Use those experiences to your advantage.  
  5. Exercise, meditation, self-reflection, and recognizing the root.  When we exercise, we are helping our self-esteem and bodies by giving more energy and better conditions. Meditation, self-reflection, and identifying the source of why you are dealing with so many issues are needed to help keep the cycle from continuing. If we have no idea why we keep compressing our emotions to where we have no clue about what’s wrong, we will never stop the cycle of a continuous merry-go-round with our feelings.  

No matter what you are dealing with, remember you don’t have to do everything alone. There are support groups available to help you with the issues you face. No one comes through life without dealing with heartbreak in their life. We all suffer from various illnesses, whether it’s with ourselves or others we love. I’ve lived through sorting out confusing, messy emotions. It took me a while to figure out how to make things better, but I made changes that helped once I did. Those changes allow me to focus better, keep pushing myself to grow, and improve my health. So today, if you are feeling overwhelmed, take a deep breath and start paying attention to your needs. You won’t do others any good if you exhibit symptoms of being worn out, exhausted, and tired. Once you start taking care of yourself, you can begin sorting out the clutter of emotions and start living life to the fullest. Have a great day, everyone. 

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