After surviving divorce, I became a more sensitive person. I would tear up even more easily at the mention of past. I had been typically using an avoidance method to cope with all the unpleasant issues. This did not teach me to resolve the causes so whenever I started recalling those incidents, my emotions were evoked. They brimmed and spilt over, resulting in waterfall of tears. This is an issue I am grappling with.
When it comes to emotions, everyone has triggers and vulnerabilities. Figure out what yours are, stop being a victim of your emotions, and take action. It’s all about learning to run your life better.
Lately, my read-ups led me to realise I have been struggling with anxiety and PTSD after my divorce. Now my focus is how to change my story so as to change my life. My greatest fear as of now is fear of poverty. Growing up was a struggle with household financial woes with my parents. I was rid of it when I left my household in my 20s.
After my marriage breakdown, I was plagued by anxieties and fears of financial poverty. I was struggling to hold a job, yet concurrently, trying to cope with the household demands/disharmony and financial turmoils. I accepted my father’s request to move back home in search for support during my difficult times. But instead, I was more worn out emotionally with the demands and expectations of being daughter and leader of
I accepted my father’s request to move back home in search for support during my difficult times. But instead, I was more worn out emotionally with the demands and expectations of being daughter and leader of the household.
I became Jessica (again) in the article. My resentment built up as I felt the weight on my shoulders. I suffered burnout from my job and I had caregiver fatigue as time worn on. My irritability increased. I was constantly stretched by the irrational fears and stresses from undue worrying about the future. I became “frozen”. I failed to be in the present moment. Instead, I was in avoidance mode, trying to shrug off the problems instead of taking them head-on.
So when someone is in distress—the dog, the colleague, the friend—she is ready to step in. She learned this as way of coping with anxiety as a child. She followed the rules, walked on eggshells, did what she was told, and stayed out of trouble. As an adult, she does the same. She is afraid of conflict and making others unhappy, and tends to be over-responsible to ensure that others feel better because she cares, but also because it reduces her anxiety. On the down side, she is susceptible to periodically becoming resentful, which can result in her blowing up about something small, acting out by drinking too much or spending a lot of money, or collapsing because of burnout. Long-term friends and family will admit that sometimes she is bit too controlling.
Recommended solution. This is oh so true for me.
Stop being a martyr. Stop the cycle of self-sacrificial with resentments/fears piling up from within. Don’t be over-responsible and being conflict-avoiding. Put up your boundaries and be assertive in making self-care as topmost concern. Put yourself as priority instead.
Jessica’s childhood ways of dealing with relationships don’t work so well in the adult world—too many people, too much to do, too many eggshells to cross. She needs to stop being over-responsible. This doesn’t mean that she can’t be sensitive and empathize with those around her, but she needs to stop overdoing, stop enabling, and stop being a martyr. To counter this, she needs to learn to tolerate conflict, move away from the rules in her head, and shift toward making decisions on what she wants. Finally, she needs to learn to speak up and be assertive in spite of being anxious about doing so.
When things escalated out of my coping threshold, I will become Kelly.
I will be overwhelmed by my internal turmoil and hence have a complete system shutdown. My concentration and focus will be lost. I will lose my motivation and spin into negative spiral of anxiety and fear. These are critical triggers I am monitoring, to minimise myself from derailing off my track. I am aiming to be stronger in my inner voice to eradicate the mounting pressure and negativities building up.
Kelly is emotionally driven. As soon as strong emotions flare up—feeling great about the day off, or overwhelmed by a work assignment or gray skies—her emotions set the tone. She tends to believe that she needs to feel better before she can do what she needs to, so those down times derail her as she waits, like the weather, for her mood to change. Those close to her are always bracing for the sudden emotional change that can come at any time and inevitably will come, making it hard and exhausting to be around her at times.
I must need to be proactive in my life. I really cannot afford and continue this luxury to be reactive to life challenges thrown in my way. I am pushing myself. To challenge my boundary. To be fears-less more. To be brave and courageous in changing my status quo. Life has to be forward-moving, instead of being grounded by fears and being pulled back by myself and consideration for others’ instead.
Kelly’s rational brain goes offline when she gets emotional. This happens to everyone to some degree, but Kelly has a difficult time realizing that this is happening. Rather than being proactive, she is constantly reacting and waiting for her feelings to subside. Her challenge is learning ways of calming herself down when anxious, or moving forward in spite of feeling a bit down, rather than letting her emotions set the tone. In the long term, she needs to be more proactive in her life and learn to take deliberate behavioral action to deal with problems that arise or act in spite of how she feels. By moving forward, her emotions will often change.
Having depression, diagnosed or not, is not my life story I want to base myself on any longer. Past few years I was crazy in my agenda to dissect my life and made things right. I was obsessed in delving into my past to determine the cause-and-effect of my life. I wanted to set the record straight by going back to my adolescent years of why I had “malfunctioned”. I realised with greater knowledge after read-ups, that I may be afflicted with depression and anxiety issues.
I can’t change my past. I just want to better equip myself with more resources to deal better with the current and future challenges in life. So Anne, you may know a greater deal of yourself along the way, but do not be defined by what had happened in the past. Stop ruminating and be defeated by the critical inner voice.
Be resourceful to change your story. Give yourself the motivation and hunger inside yourself to keep pushing yourself ahead, one foot at a time. Jia you! Life is a journey. You are always being given every day a brand new chance to do better. It’s not the end of life yet. Go for it! Make your life story happen. Don’t wait for others or fate to do the work for you. That’s impossible. Get real!