The beginning of emotion regulation or simply emotion reg. Essentially, we will be learning how to change our mood if it actually needs changing. As well naming emotions and reducing their effect.
Updates: I started my trauma work and wrote about it separately here
I’m still feeling off, or I am PMSing. I’m not sure, just generally moody and aggressive. I have no patience for people’s micro aggressions.
For this unit, we received a sheet that I’ve seen many times. There’s Emotion Mind, Rational mind and in the middle Wise mind. Wise mind is the place in this venn diagram where you want to be. You want to have feelings, but also be a rational person. Getting there is a lot of work, because sometimes emotions can feel like rational thought, and rational thought can diminish feelings.
It’s a way of breaking things down to understand what you emotionally and rationally want. Don’t let the emotions take over, and don’t let cool rationality make you do something you emotionally don’t want to do.
Sometimes it works very well at getting you through stuff.
Example: Windows recently updated and thus destroyed windows to fix windows. Thank you Microsoft. All of windows blue screen quick fixes do nothing. Their offer is to format and re-install.
Emotion Mind: Everything is over. All my work is gone. I am so stupid because I didn’t back up. I’m sad. I’m angry. I’m ashamed at my foolishness. I basically worked myself into suicidal thoughts, because I don’t deal with loss of intellectual property very well.
Regulating emotion mind: Being suicidal is not helpful. Let’s go do something we can fix before we throw the computer out the window and eat something because you are also hangery. If I can get past being upset, or be less upset maybe I’ll think of something. Just walk away and breathe.
I did the dishes. I ate and made coffee. Alright? In a place where your emotions aren’t screaming at you? Let’s talk to that rational part of you.
Rational Mind with emotional bullying: How can you be so stupid not to back up your files every week? Stupid, stupid, stupid. You deserve to loose everything because you are stupid
Regulating negative rational mind: Not helping, being judgey judge isn’t helping. Radical acceptance: I didn’t back up my files. I am not a horrible person, just a person who made a mistake and I will probably learn from it. But beating myself up for being dumb is not going to solve the problem. (And let’s be honest, it’s really Microsoft’s fault. :P)
Rational Mind : I am decently smart. I can access all the windows fixes. This means the computer hasn’t formatted itself. If it hasn’t formatted itself, that means the data is still on there. Can I use command prompt?
Wise Mind: I am super upset about this issue. But if I use my thinking brain I can maybe fix it. It’s okay for me to be upset about it and I can walk away from it when it makes me too upset. If I loose everything we can start over and make new and better things. It will also take me less time to re-do what is lost. This is a bad thing, but I don’t need to emotionally whip myself over it.
Luckily, I had watched a relevant episode of Halt and Catch Fire which made me believe I could fix it. And yes, I did get my files. I used command prompt with notepad to save everything to a USB hard drive.
In this case, breaking it down worked. I used a whole bunch of skills to both feel my feelings and access my rational brain.
Does it always work? Ummm no.
There are also times when trying to use this skill to do something doesn’t produce the result you are hoping for. Or the times when my emotions are also rational thoughts.
“Not bad for a Robot we need you to get X surgery.”
Me: “FUCK NO! I’m not getting tortured. FUCK ALL OF YOU GUYS. ”
Emotion mind: Fear, Danger, I AM BEING THREATENED!!!! it happened in the past that they hurt me, there’s no reason in the future that they won’t hurt me (this last part feels like the truth, because it did happen, I was hurt, but because it happened in the past does not 100% guarantee it will happen in the future)
Rational Mind: Yes, there is risk of injury. No, not all surgeries are screw ups, no not all doctors mess up, if they did everyone who had surgery would either have ptsd, chronic pain, or be dead. No it won’t be the same. We know so much more now that it will be different.
Rational Mind with memory of the past: DON’T YOU REMEMBER WHAT THEY DID? HOW THEY PRETENDED THEY DIDN’T?
-insert a whole bunch of facts from the past about how the healthcare system has failed me.
Wise mind: Based on the current info, this is a thing we cannot do as emotional mind will explode and possibly nuke the world. We know as a fact it won’t be the same, but the current level of danger means this is a no go. Continue in therapy and ask later.
I’m actually okay with this. It’s not a quick fix, but it’s acknowledging that I am not there yet, and that’s okay.
So, I guess it did work? But just not the outcome I wanted.