Sorting Emotions

First published Psych Central


folded laundry Image01

It started with my husband bringing me a drink at a party. He didn’t believe I had stopped drinking. He thought it was a nice gesture, and was encouraging me to at least taste it. I may have given in, but my son was there telling me not to drink. I talk, blog, about sobriety, go to meetings and he doesn’t believe me or notice. It made me sad.

The next day my husband was in a bad mood. Who knows why? He was grumpy, moody and wanted to be left alone. My automatic thoughts go to “Something is wrong and it’s my fault” “I’m no good” and I start guessing what could be wrong.

Was it the chores? I did random chores. Was he upset about having to make flight reservations? I took care of that.

Finally, I give up and decide to just ask. “You seem upset, is something bothering you?” He said no he was just in a bad mood. I was able to pause from feeling like a child and act like an adult.

I walked in my therapist’s office overwhelmed with negative thoughts and emotions. I had left a disagreement with a peaceful resolution, but hurt feelings. Feelings I didn’t know what to do with.

When I mentioned I had this pile of “stuff” to my therapist he said to think of it as a basket of laundry, not one of my favorite things. Then to deal with each “item” that is bothering me, one at a time. Compartmentalizing for the disorganized, perhaps.

I felt like he had been reading my mail, but maybe there are only so many metaphors. I have a problem with making associations between things that really aren’t related, due to my mental illness. This was similar to something I say in one of my talks, but it is just coincidence.

When I first was home from the hospital I was, fragile and would get overwhelmed easily. I couldn’t keep up with the laundry. I would clean it, but I would have a big pile of clean clothes that needed to be folded and put away. I would look at it and cry, it was too much.

I told a friend and he said, “Do smaller loads.” Which sounds simplistic but it made it manageable and now I do that with other tasks. I break them down into pieces. Otherwise, I freeze and nothing gets done.

So, I understand the concept, now to put it into action.

Edit: I will continue in next blog