Thursday, March 24, 2011

Verbalizing Emotions

As a child, my family never talked about our emotions. Yes, there were arguments, tantrums, crying, etc, but rarely a simple conversation. How do you feel? Are you alright?

When I was feeling so terribly anxious that I couldn't eat much, I just retreated to my room.  I wasn't hungry, and that was as much as was said.

Maybe my parents felt it was better to present the appearance of a perfect family than face the reality of problems.  Seeing a shrink was often presented as a threat - you better shape up or you'll have to see one.

Since I didn't have the practice of describing my emotions, I wasn't experienced in recognizing anxiety, sadness, etc.  I think learning how to describe a mood is something that gets better with practice.  Looking back, I can label times when I felt anxious or depressed or manic, but at the time I was just in the moment. Acting on my emotions, but not taking the time to think about them.

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