In therapy I have been working with identifying the feeling behind the event. Here is an example:
Let's say Thomas comes to me and tells me that he's seeing something that isn't there. Naturally, that causes an emotional reaction in me and often times I deploy my iron clad door that I slam shut on my emotions so that I can stay on my feet emotionally and intellectually to help him deal with what he's dealing with. While I personally feel like that's a skill to be proud of when it comes to helping him deal with this illness, I can speak from excellent experience that what you slam behind that door doesn't go anywhere. Nope! It's builds up inside in the furthest regions of your mind and body and waits for you to give it life again and process it, whether it's dealing with the emotion or healing the physical affects of stress which, by the way, I also have a great deal of, some of which include high cholesterol (a manifestation of stress my doc tells me) and high blood pressure.
In therapy I am being taught to take just a moment in time and identify the original emotions in the situation. Just name them. Things have slowed down in my life just enough that I am able to do that instead of automatically and swiftly slamming the proverbial iron door. I'll be honest with you though, aside from one colossal momentary marital explosion which elicited plenty of anger, my overwhelming instant feeling to the things in my life are sadness and really, sadness doesn't quite describe it. It is grief. Full on crippling, heart-wrenching grief. Grief that inside of it holds all that has happened to Thomas in the last year and a half and continues to trickle in day to day, grief about my father's massive stroke, grief about what my mom lost inside of her when she lost the husband that she knew before his stroke, grief about so many many tragic things that have happened.
So, yeah, now what, right? I suppose that is what therapy is for but naming it, instead of layering in other feelings over the grief like anger, which incidentally that's normally what people throw in after the initial grief reaction because anger is more manageable, anger gives you the feeling of some sort of power over your situation whereas grief you must feel and face and frankly, for me, feeling that is like inviting an elephant to sit on my chest and make himself at home which I'm quick to stop. Anger, though, is infinitely more destructive as it bleeds into you, permeating your self and subsequently overflowing onto your loved ones. It's not good for anyone involved.
So, I am writing this because I think it's time to honor the after effects of tragedy in my life, most especially Thomas' diagnosis. I'm going to take you with me because it is my hope that you will find something useful in my journey, many of you say you have up to this point.
Grief is what I've named it and now I work to honor it, give it life, and eventually release it into the ether where it belongs.