Saturday, June 20, 2015

Coping with Isolating Emotions

A couple of months ago I experienced isolation, self-doubt, and fear, that was triggered by my travels out of town, and lack of immediate contact with my support system. In fact, I journaled in that moment and this was some of the concerns I identified:

I feel negative energy. I feel alone because I don't feel like I can trust my support system, and I don't know why? Maybe it's paranoia? Or indifference about some relationships, and guilt about others; I don't know. What energy am I putting out?- I try not to complain. I try to be easy-going. I feel a range of negative emotions: emptiness, void, depression, sadness, exhausted, alone, struggling, uneasiness, tension, unsettling...

While my emotions were real, they came from a place of fear that manifested emotional instability. For example, I could not explain why I should not trust my closest supporters. In that moment, I created more anxiety. In turn, I tried to calm myself by asking a series of questions in order to think my way out of my fears. Ultimately, I addressed my feelings by reverting back to my personalized coping skills. I encouraged myself to engage in practicing my coping tools to help soothe my spirit; that included: listening to music, writing in my journal, watching television to help distract myself, and positive self-talk by creating positive affirmations, which I recited out loud; "I am strong," and "I am loved!" Utilizing these coping tools rekindled emotional wellness for those feelings. The following day's journal started off with "Today is a new day!..."

Suffering from isolation are side effects of stigma and fear, among a range of other issues. I understand how isolation can be a huge challenge, and its resolutions to that demands adequate supports such as a support system, unique coping skills, and ongoing customized engagement in self-care acts. For me, self-care acts involves oneself validating experiences and prioritizes them into a desire and need to focus on getting oneself well again.

Feeling isolated is real, and fighting to overcome it is a process. If you are feeling any of the negative emotions I shared I encourage you to fight back with your customized coping skills. Finally, I shared this experience with you to offer a glimpse into what my isolation looks like, and how I fought through it in the moment. However, my way is not the only way to get through it, you must resort to your own coping skills that generally works well for you. I hope my experience offers insight and awareness that validating our emotions is essential, as well as practicing coping skills to maintain emotional and mental wellness.

If you feel that you experience severe isolation, depression, and self-doubt, however you define severe, I urge you to seek professional help, immediately. The following resources may be a great starting point:

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