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A Healthy Normality: I Wonder? Part II

Oct 01

G’day all!  I have returned from my journey.  Once again, I offer you all, including our faithful foreign visitors a tip of your Stetson.  When I last spoke with you I was suggesting that it was our capacity for language, and its’ ability to anticipate and solve problems,  whether out loud or nonverbally, that was the culprit when it came to our emotional difficulties.  For example, this cognitive ability seems to work well when we are dealing with such practical issues as, “……aha, this equation is not working, as this variable SHOULD NOT be here, rather it SHOULD be over there”; but not so well when dealing with emotional issues such as “……..aha, I am miserable because he (she, they) SHOULD NOT be treating me like this”; or, “I SHOULD NOT be feeling this way, I SHOULD be feeling like this (happy, content, stress free?) instead”.  In sum, and as I left you last time, I was suggesting that it is our misplaced, ill-informed desire to avoid natural human emotion that is the true culprit in human misery.  We are really suffering the result of “feeling bad about feeling bad”, when as a human you can’t avoid “feeling bad” sometimes; moreover, it seems to be part of the human condition.

It seems that when we attempt to rid ourselves of painful internal experiences, we tend to make them worse.  Think about it for a moment (those of you who struggle with it) where did your over-attraction to alcohol come from?  Wasn’t it an attempt to lessen the pain of unwanted thoughts, feelings, memories, etc?  So then what have you done in the “long run”?  You’ve created a problem on top of a problem (or is it really a problem?).

The more you battle with your unwanted thoughts, feelings, (internal stuff) the more you are likely to make yourself miserable in the long run.  Let’s use depression as an example.  It’s not really the pure existence of sadness that creates the heart of a depression.  Actually, sadness is a normal human emotion that we can all experience, and should in the face of meaningful loss.  At the heart of a depression, without fail, I will find that you are locked in a battle to avoid or rid yourself of this (normal) sadness.  There is a tonne of reliable and valid research that suggests you, and others like you, if you are (chronically) depressed, anxious, or traumatized (for example), are more involved in avoiding your experience than those who deal with equally serious issues but are more acute in their path of recovery.  ( Actually, when compared to what Indigenous, Black, Lesbian, Gay, the Disabled, many Females, or the Mentally Challenged, for example, have to deal with on a daily basis…….your issue may pale).

Please don’t misinterpret what I am saying!  Not all forms of avoidance are pathological.  It’s not really a problem (well maybe just a wee bit) if it is your habit to have a beer when you get off shift to “unwind”.  When it becomes a larger problem is when you down “a halfsack” after every shift; shift after shift!  I’m sure you can see how an emotional control strategy like this might work in the short-term, but could be a “killer” in the long run?  So when the family wants you to take them to the movies (beach, skiing, amusement park, hiking, camping, etc.) or your dog wants to go for a stroll, just like the “old days”, don’t decline.  “Begging off” might feel good in the short term however, in the long run it is likely making things worse.  Gettin’ the picture?


Dr. Mike Webster

Reg’d Psych.   (#0655)


From → Other

  1. Anonymous permalink

    Yes, I agree, we wallow! It comes a surprise that many wallow too long. I choose not to wallow, because every second I don’t do it, is a second gained on a short life, the sometimes ends too quickly. I allow a bit of wallowing, but pick my self up and move one foot at a time, ending up in a full walk, towards? The Future, the changes, the anticipation of new beginnings, every morning is a blessing. I know. I am at 64 moving forward again, in 30 days I will be 65. A new dawn, time for reflection, time for decisions, time to renew. Renewal is so important, I can make decisions and hopefully positive choices, I may not be wealthy, but I have my eyesight, my brain functions well, and my body needs to get out and do stuff, I need fresh air, walking, but all after I get to pack up a lifetime of of memories, some bad (those are 3 boxes of shredding) and the good packed carefully away for later use. The passions from employment (RCMP) still fresh, but changes coming. Maybe the free classes at UBC, and the experience of lifetime to pass on to those out on their beginning trek. There is time, yes … I still see my therapist, once a month, we go over the latest things, and create new challenges. Nice. I have a little fear, but again everyone does, so I am not going to let it take control, it’s like being out of high school … big future even at this age.

    I am lucky. no alcohol, drugs and the like have gotten in the way, and now can safely move forward without any guilt, some regrets but no guilt. Lucky … I still look at life and say, yes it has been somewhat difficult, but not all of it, experience has given me new life, new hope and a happiness, yes happiness even without being monetarily successful. I am not afraid, I will be creative, and I will survive with that knowledge. Everyone has a tipping point, mine has tipped upwards. I am moving forward.

  2. thekraaken permalink

    Well put anon.

    • Anonymous permalink

      A positive perspective is better than one that is not. I will make little steps, little mistakes, but I will make it. I just want some peace and quiet in my life for a time. Just go with the the flow, as blog master says, don’t push the river, it flows by itself!

    • corbettstu permalink

      -To any new subscribers, my post is unrelated to Webster’s post. My post is related to a previous “back-and-forth between myself and a mysterious contributor who calls them self “The Kraaken.” I’ve thoroughly enjoyed our banter as the Kraaken is perhaps not posting in the interest of constables. The Kraaken/Buttercup and my exchanges can be found in another article. Have a look at the comments following the past few articles and you’ll find them.
      I’d comment on Webster’s article on the issues with PTSD diagnosis but that’s for academics to resolve and you to (be honest with yourself) self-evaluate.

      Now, back to my little nemesis…….

      Hey Buttercup. Oh I mean “Kraaken.” It seems you’ve ceased our on-going “dialogue.” Surely someone with your knowledge and confidence hasn’t backed-down or surrendered? You’ve never been at a loss for words before. If nothing else, you claimed you could disparage my service but “chose not to.”
      Sorry Sport, but you don’t go onto a public site, suggest you’re in the position to disparage my work history, then scurry away.
      Whatever you’ve got to say, now’s the time to say it.
      Let’s hear it.
      I’ll take it from there.

      Corbett 51709


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