A way to look at pain

A woman recently posted on a private Facebook page about her feelings of hopelessness and unlovability (she’s going through a divorce).

Feeling heartfelt compassion for her, I thought about her situation and wrote the following response:


Thank you for sharing your raw, honest self with us, [name withheld]. It takes courage to be vulnerable, and your reaching out is a brave step in the direction of a life joyfully connected with people who “get” and love you.

Feeling hopeless is so, so painful. It consumes our energy and often blinds us to innumerable paths we might take to higher ground. When in a depressive state, we often need people on the outside of our pain to help us understand our resources and to celebrate our freedom to choose our next steps. I hope we can provide support, friendship, and some wise advice to you at this time, and going forward.

I think we sometimes invite additional suffering by judging our pain as wrong and therefore unacceptable. Feeling down for any number of reasons is a natural part of being human–and negative emotions are part of our body’s warning system (a signal to pay attention to an unmet need or a damaging situation).

Feeling lonely and worried about continued isolation is “helpful” in that it reminds us of what we truly need: connection, acceptance, and belonging. Rather than despise those feelings, rather than believe that they are a portend/diagnosis of inevitable future pain, you might just allow yourself to feel them. Where do you feel them most strongly in your body? Pay attention to how they feel. Breathe into the feelings– breathe into that place in your body where they’re residing–and accept them. Trust that they’re doing their “job.” You might even thank them for faithfully reminding you of the importance of connection, acceptance, and belonging. Then let them go, reassuring your body, “I got the message! I’ll get working on connecting with ‘my people’ right away!”

A mantra I recently adopted is: “I choose to believe that everything I experience is contributing to my growth and healing.” You might try that mantra on and see if it serves you.


This viewpoint keeps pain in perspective.  I hope to remember the suggestions, myself, next time I’m feeling the blues.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Oh, really?

Last night’s insight: “Depression is believing one’s efforts won’t make the difference.”–sba

Now, to recognize when I’m in such despair and to be skeptical of the so-called impossibility of improvement. “Oh, really–nothing will improve my situation/status/state . . . ? Carol Dweck begs to differ!”

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Is EMDR the answer to lasting peace?

I went to a new therapist earlier this summer to help me deal with one of the underlying causes (at least, I assumed it was an underlying cause) of my self-criticism and depression. I had recently heard of EMDR, so searched until I found a local practitioner of that therapeutic modality (method).

Powerful stuff.

As I understand it, the power behind EMDR is that it helps people access the emotions they’ve long hidden in their cells following a trauma–to experience those emotions and work through them–after which they can face the memory of the trauma without it causing them anxiety, panic, shame, etc. The memory no longer harms them!

If you haven’t heard of it, I recommend you research EMDR. I think everyone who is struggling with PTSD or other long-term depressive disorders should look into it.

The term EMDR (or E.M.D.R.) is an acronym for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. The treatment modality involves a therapist gently encouraging you to hold a memory or fear (of your choice, decided beforehand in consultation with the therapist) in your thoughts as he/she trains your brain to use both hemispheres as you access those memories. Often, deeply guarded emotions will surface–which is a milestone, but not the end of the treatment. “As [EMDR] exercises continue, painful feelings are replaced with greater calm, peace, and resolution,” resulting in lasting relief from the anxiety and triggering formerly caused by the memory.

For some, the “training” involves having their eyes follow a moving object controlled by the therapist. For me, my “training” involved holding two vibrating apparati (one in each hand), which would alternate back and forth (first one would vibrate, then the other, repeat).

I’m grateful I was able to have 4 productive sessions with Marilyn Soto. Her practice, called Healing Haven Counseling, is located in Springville. (https://therapists.psychologytoday.com/…/Healing+Haven+Coun…)

Please spread the word. I’m convinced that many, many would benefit from EMDR .

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment