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Motion changes Emotion

Suffering is not an enjoyable state of being and whether you suffer from a mental, emotional, spiritual or physical affliction, we can feel paralyzed by it. I know – I have been there. I have felt the overwhelming desire to lock myself in my bedroom never to leave, the almost physical repulsion at the thought of even seeing another human being let a lone having a conversation.

You don’t have to be battling the dark cloud of clinical depression to understand what I am talking about, everyone has felt what I am describing at some point in time – maybe it was due to the loss of a family member or pet, a life changing disappointment, discovering infidelity in a relationship or just a reaction to financial stress or unemployment. It doesn’t matter what causes the feeling what matters is what you choose to do about them.

Ten years ago – I suffered a traumatic miscarriage at 11 weeks of pregnancy which left me unable to conceive children naturally. I was lying in the hospital bed after surgery alone. No husband, no boyfriend, just me. My 6-year-old son was staying with a friend of mine, a woman who told me I was better off losing the baby than to raise 2 children on my own with no father’s present (I had divorced my son’s biological father 2 years earlier and hadn’t seen him since). And as I layed there contemplating my life – the last thing I wanted to do was talk – to anyone. 24 hours passed by with me in that room barely uttering more than a word or two when addressed and just staring at the wall. My body seemed quiet and serene but my mind was anything but. Again and again I thought about my situation – what I had lost, what I could never have, the direction my life had taken – over and over again until I got a special visit. From my mom.

My mother and I have never been close, actually our relationship was anything but and would take a whole dedicated blog to discuss but she did come to see me. And in her usual non-motherly way she said ‘If you don’t snap out of this and stop acting this way – they are going to lock you up in the nut ward.’  Ahhh the bliss of motherly affection. She may not have come from a place of compassion but she did succeed in one thing – she snapped me out of my funk – not because I valued her opinion but because as usual, she pissed me off and in my anger and frustration at her once again not giving me what I wanted or needed I learned a valuable lesson.

The minute I started focusing on her, the minute I sat up in that bed and stopped playing those negative ‘poor me’ tapes over and over again in my head, I started feeling better. It didn’t make the pain and the fear go away, but it did change my focus just enough to break through that black cloud and start moving down the path of life again, one baby step at a time.

I have used that lesson many times in my life since then (although I still can’t bring myself to give my mother credit for it) and I try to teach my clients and the people in my life the value of three small words “Motion changes Emotion”. When you are feeling down, belittled, unsuccessful, battered, hopeless, helpless – the longer you allow yourself to stay down, the stronger those emotions will become and the more power they will wield over you. Get up – move around, go for a walk – whatever it is DO SOMETHING. Take the focus off of yourself if even for a few moments at a time and slowly those tapes in your head will start to lose volume and you will begin to live again.

Sometimes the best ‘motion’ I have found is to work with or talk to someone who has it worse than I do so I can start to be grateful for being me and having what I do have instead of pitying myself and thinking only of what I don’t have. It’s hard – it is so very hard to make that first step though – to get out of bed – but think of it this way… what do you have to lose? If it doesn’t make you feel even a bit better – you can always go back to bed, draw the drapes and close out the world. But if it DOES work??? If getting out of bed, taking a shower, getting dressed and just taking a walk could have the power to diffuse that black cloud of emotion hanging over your head – isn’t it worth a try?

This entry was posted on Monday, May 3rd, 2010 at 3:22 pm and is filed under Mental Health. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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