Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 506301

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ideas for figuring out feelings?

Posted by Shortelise on June 1, 2005, at 13:30:17

I can't seem to sort out what I'm feeling. About therapy, about myself, about anything ... I mean, I know what I'll make for dinner tonight, it's not at that level. It's more emotional. Like, when I think about therapy, it's as though there's such a range of emotion, in all directions, that I just can't sort out how I feel.

Does anyone have a sort of model for figuring things out? I know that's incredibly vague, but what I mean is, do you have a way of working out what your ffeelings are when things are really confused?

This is asking a lot. I'm just really mixed up. And that low-grade depression is on the horizon again.

Thanks.

ShortE

 

Re: ideas for figuring out feelings? Shortelise

Posted by messadivoce on June 1, 2005, at 14:04:04

In reply to ideas for figuring out feelings?, posted by Shortelise on June 1, 2005, at 13:30:17

A drama class exercise I learned a long time ago helped me with this. My acting teacher is not from a Stanislausky acting background, so he's not about trying to draw feelings out from yourself. He comes from the school of thought, "to move will cause you to feel." So the exercise was to move around, usually walking (called "moving and seething") and repeat "I am... I want... I need... I feel...." and add answers to the questions. At first the results are kind of surface--"I want a handburger, I need a drink of water, I am a woman" but then they can get unexpectedly deep-- "I am sad, I want my T back, I need his approval, I feel abandoned" for example. Even though this is an effective exercise for drama class, I use it myself when I'm at an emotional impasse. I also found that after therapy, I was able to complete this exercise with much more ease.

 

Re: ideas for figuring out feelings?

Posted by Daisym on June 1, 2005, at 14:31:37

In reply to Re: ideas for figuring out feelings? Shortelise, posted by messadivoce on June 1, 2005, at 14:04:04

I write a list of questions without trying to have the answers. I find that the questions that I pose to myself tell me where I am. And I usually start with
What is so wrong?

IF the answers come, I'll write those down too. I type really fast (90wpm) so I just key until I'm tired. Most of the writing books I've read say write things out long hand, it accesses a different part of your brain. I don't, because it is too slow for me and I get frustrated. But either of those might work.

When I started therapy, I talked a lot about being haunted by feelings. My therapist would ask me to just sit with them, sit still and quiet and just "listen" to them. Focus on your breathing and if your mind wanders to things like dinner, bring it back, and focus on your breathing. I found this very hard because I always ended up in tears and didn't know why. It has gotten somewhat easier to do this, but I'd still rather write.

I hope you figure it out soon.

 

Re: ideas for figuring out feelings? Shortelise

Posted by TamaraJ on June 1, 2005, at 16:02:01

In reply to ideas for figuring out feelings?, posted by Shortelise on June 1, 2005, at 13:30:17

Well, I am not always the best at sorting out what I am feeling, and for years (up until a number of months ago), I just ran on sheer adrenaline and didn't even try to analyse what I was thinking or feeling emotionally. It was just go, go, go! Now I am trying to pay attention to what's going on inside me. So, when I feel agitated or anxious, I step back (or try to) and ask myself what's happened recently (perhaps days, hours, minutes) or going on in my life that may have brought these feelings on. Same thing when I start to feel down - check the calendar (could it be PMS), think about conversations I had or even something I saw on t.v. I am trying not to tell myself anymore that I shouldn't feel like this or feel like that because I think I am entitled to my emotions and reactions. I just am using self-talk and some kind of self-analysis to at least understand where some of the emotions are coming from so that I don't freak out or think I am going around the bend.

Hope you can find a way to deal with this and figure things out. I know it is unnerving to feel that way.

Take care.

Tamara

> I can't seem to sort out what I'm feeling. About therapy, about myself, about anything ... I mean, I know what I'll make for dinner tonight, it's not at that level. It's more emotional. Like, when I think about therapy, it's as though there's such a range of emotion, in all directions, that I just can't sort out how I feel.
>
> Does anyone have a sort of model for figuring things out? I know that's incredibly vague, but what I mean is, do you have a way of working out what your ffeelings are when things are really confused?
>
> This is asking a lot. I'm just really mixed up. And that low-grade depression is on the horizon again.
>
> Thanks.
>
> ShortE

 

Re: ideas for figuring out feelings? TamaraJ

Posted by littleone on June 1, 2005, at 16:05:52

In reply to Re: ideas for figuring out feelings? Shortelise, posted by TamaraJ on June 1, 2005, at 16:02:01

I have found the drawing to be helpful with this. You could try drawing you with your T (or you away from your T) and then see what sort of expressions appear on your face. I find I'll often draw multiple me's because sometimes there are multiple feelings involved.

Also, I have a list of feeling words. Sometimes I will run down that and see if any jump out at me.

But then, you probably shouldn't listen to me. I'm *really* bad at feelings.

 

Daisym Keep up the good work...

Posted by 64bowtie on June 1, 2005, at 17:00:28

In reply to Re: ideas for figuring out feelings?, posted by Daisym on June 1, 2005, at 14:31:37

In the movie "Finding Forester", Sean Connery is a dispondent and reclusive famous author, who befriends an interesting young lad from the 'hood'. In one scene he sits the 16 yearold down at a typewriter and says, "Just start writing"... At first the kid thought Forester was nuts, but soon discovered the wisdom of this approach... I bet you have toooo! I tried it and boy does it work to soften up those mental blocks....!

Rod

PS: I'm green with envy that you type so fast......lol I'm doing good to crank out 30 to 35 wpm, downhill with a tailwind.....

 

Shortelise Talking to the person in the mirror

Posted by 64bowtie on June 1, 2005, at 17:08:16

In reply to ideas for figuring out feelings?, posted by Shortelise on June 1, 2005, at 13:30:17

SE,

You will always find your best friend in your mirror... Talk it over with her... She can't lie to ya'... Go out-of-body if you can, so you can be 2 people at the same time...

Magical!!!

Rod

 

Re: sorting out feelings

Posted by gardenergirl on June 1, 2005, at 21:39:27

In reply to Shortelise Talking to the person in the mirror, posted by 64bowtie on June 1, 2005, at 17:08:16

I try to just be still and listen. I usually focus my listening on my gut and ask myself "what am I feeling?" And then I kinda "try on" feelings if I am not sure. Am I sad? Am I hurt? Am I depressed?

I think identifying ANY feeling that feels right is a good start. Work with that feeling until it feels okay, and then ask yourself again "what else is here?"

It's so hard, though.

gg

 

Re: ideas for figuring out feelings? Daisym

Posted by Jazzed on June 1, 2005, at 22:18:21

In reply to Re: ideas for figuring out feelings?, posted by Daisym on June 1, 2005, at 14:31:37


>
> When I started therapy, I talked a lot about being haunted by feelings. My therapist would ask me to just sit with them, sit still and quiet and just "listen" to them. Focus on your breathing and if your mind wanders to things like dinner, bring it back, and focus on your breathing. I found this very hard because I always ended up in tears and didn't know why. It has gotten somewhat easier to do this, but I'd still rather write.
>

I did this with some really disturbing feelings I'd had recently, and it was kind of enlightening, even tho' I wanted like hell to get rid of the feelings. It can be very uncomfortable to just sit with them, but I understand the process.

Jazzed

 

Thanks all

Posted by Shortelise on June 2, 2005, at 1:00:00

In reply to ideas for figuring out feelings?, posted by Shortelise on June 1, 2005, at 13:30:17


Writing, seething, drawing, sitting in the feelings - these all sound good. And I will try them all.

Now, once I figure out what these feelings are, how will I figure out why I feel that way?

It feel as though I were trying to complete a jigsaw puzzle without all the pieces.

:-(

ShortE

 

Re: ideas for figuring out feelings? Shortelise

Posted by Tamar on June 2, 2005, at 3:38:34

In reply to ideas for figuring out feelings?, posted by Shortelise on June 1, 2005, at 13:30:17

What I find hard is sorting them out from each other. I usually know what I'm feeling (sad, angry, happy etc) but I get them all mixed together. Yesterday I was happy that I got some good work done, and proud of myself, but also angry about something that happened and frustrated with the kids. I find it really overwhelming dealing with so many emotions at the same time. I just have to write them all down, otherwise I feel as if I don't have room in my head for it all.

I'm reading a book called "Mind over Mood" that seems to be helping.

Hope you feel better soon.

Tamar

 

Mind Over Mood Tamar

Posted by Shortelise on June 2, 2005, at 12:23:39

In reply to Re: ideas for figuring out feelings? Shortelise, posted by Tamar on June 2, 2005, at 3:38:34

Couldyou tell me a little more about this book Tamar? How it is helping? I read some of the reviews on Amazon, wonder aboutyour experience.

Just briefly.

Thanks

ShortE

 

Re: ideas for figuring out feelings? Shortelise

Posted by Racer on June 2, 2005, at 12:43:42

In reply to ideas for figuring out feelings?, posted by Shortelise on June 1, 2005, at 13:30:17

This is something that we just went over last night in my eating disorder support group. There's a great section on it in the "Overcoming Bulimia Workbook" -- I'm not bulimic, but that's what the exercises we went over last night came from -- that had a five step routine.

From memory, but I'll look it up for you as soon as I have time (houseguest arriving in hours, horrible messy house...):

1. Physically relax -- breathing exercises, whatever works for you.

2. Ask yourself what you're feeling or what's worrying you.

3. Tune into your body, what your body might be telling you.

4. Wait and listen to whatever you can pick up from the above -- don't try to force it, or analyze it. Just wait and feel and listen.

5. If you're still having trouble, start again at number 1.

The other thing that helps a lot -- let me repeat that for emphasis: A LOT! -- is to have a list of possible feelings. I have two: one from the handout last night, the other from the Something Fishy website: http://www.somethingfishy.org I looked for the list but can't find it there now. Try maybe the forums? I can't remember where it was, but I know they have about a three page list of possible feelings.

Hope that helps, and will be back later with more, but probably not until my guest leaves...

 

You wouldn't want to do what I do - Ruminate :-) (nm) Shortelise

Posted by pinkeye on June 2, 2005, at 13:29:36

In reply to ideas for figuring out feelings?, posted by Shortelise on June 1, 2005, at 13:30:17

 

Re: Mind Over Mood Shortelise

Posted by Tamar on June 2, 2005, at 17:55:05

In reply to Mind Over Mood Tamar, posted by Shortelise on June 2, 2005, at 12:23:39

Hi ShortE,

Im still near the beginning of the book. My ex-T recommended it and I guess I find it useful when Im finding it hard to sort my head out. I find it helps to go along with what they say, even if Im feeling quite sceptical. Its pitched fairly widely, so I sometimes feel Im being told something I already know, but having said that, I still find the exercises useful. If youve read the Amazon reviews youll know its a CBT workbook. I think my T used some CBT techniques with me, though he was fairly eclectic I think. So CBT is somewhat new to me. But I like the book because it gives me a list of things to do; I do them and I feel better. That seems to help on days when I just cant facing doing very much.

Sorry, I think Ive rambled a bit. Did that begin to answer your question? Is there anything else youd like to ask?

Tamar

 

Re: ideas for figuring out feelings?

Posted by sleepygirl on June 2, 2005, at 20:25:33

In reply to ideas for figuring out feelings?, posted by Shortelise on June 1, 2005, at 13:30:17

Sometimes it's helpful to journal between conflicting parts of yourself, for ex.
Dear rational me,
You're really a pain in the *ss....etc.
Your nemesis,
emotional me
There can be innumerable versions of this.
Another way is art. Word collage is good. Bits and pieces, words and phrases, cut out and pasted. You can make sense of it later after you see it on one page.

 

Re: ideas for figuring out feelings? sleepygirl

Posted by Shortelise on June 2, 2005, at 20:28:43

In reply to Re: ideas for figuring out feelings?, posted by sleepygirl on June 2, 2005, at 20:25:33

word collage...? What a good idea.

I have a lot of work ahead of me.

thanks

shortE

 

Re: ideas for figuring out feelings?

Posted by sleepygirl on June 2, 2005, at 22:09:01

In reply to Re: ideas for figuring out feelings? sleepygirl, posted by Shortelise on June 2, 2005, at 20:28:43

Yes, I used to do it a lot. If you get hold of some old psychology today mags (not sure where you are though) they have more of the feeling words

 

Re: sorting out feelings

Posted by Dinah on June 7, 2005, at 7:35:53

In reply to Re: sorting out feelings, posted by gardenergirl on June 1, 2005, at 21:39:27

> I try to just be still and listen. I usually focus my listening on my gut and ask myself "what am I feeling?" And then I kinda "try on" feelings if I am not sure. Am I sad? Am I hurt? Am I depressed?
>

I think that's exactly how I do it. If I'm not sure I propose a feeling and try it on for size. It's just as useful to guess a wrong feeling as a right one, because I ususally here a scornful "*That* isn't right." in my head.

 

Re: sorting out feelings

Posted by fallsfall on June 7, 2005, at 9:52:56

In reply to Re: sorting out feelings, posted by Dinah on June 7, 2005, at 7:35:53

You can get a really good list of emotion words from "Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder" (this is the DBT manual). I typed all the words out and printed them on colored paper (I used muted colors) - a different color for each major emotion group (i.e. fear vs. happiness vs. sadness etc.). Then I cut out the words. I call it emotional confetti.

I find that it helps me to identify what I'm feeling if I dump it out on the floor and pick out the words that seem to apply to me. Then I look at what color seems prominent, and it helps me to see the patterns (Today I am choosing a lot of fear words... or Today I am choosing mostly hopeful and sad words).

You can choose lots of words, or limit yourself to 5 or 10 or 15.

You can record which words you choose and see how your feelings change from day to day.

You can pick feelings with a friend and talk about why you chose the ones you did.

I created a contraption (made out of Dunkin' Donut cups and a spring) that when you removed the top cup the emotional confetti gets thrown all over the place. I made my therapists open it. This was how I showed them what it felt like to me - all of the emotions being jumbled and confused and spewing out all over the place.

 

Re: sorting out feelings fallsfall

Posted by Shortelise on June 7, 2005, at 13:32:14

In reply to Re: sorting out feelings, posted by fallsfall on June 7, 2005, at 9:52:56

You're a riot, Falls. I can imagine that your therapist likes seeing you because you are so inventive and smart!

I like the idea of lists of feeling words.

ShortE

 

Re: sorting out feelings fallsfall

Posted by partlycloudy on June 7, 2005, at 20:24:32

In reply to Re: sorting out feelings, posted by fallsfall on June 7, 2005, at 9:52:56

You seriously need to talk to Milton Bradley or some game magnate and become a bazillionaire overnight.
I want one of everything.
pc

 

I remember what I couldn't think of

Posted by Dinah on June 11, 2005, at 10:46:18

In reply to Re: sorting out feelings, posted by Dinah on June 7, 2005, at 7:35:53

It's like solving simultaneous equations. It doesn't matter how wrong your first guess is, you can still get the right answer in three iterations if you just make that first guess.

With feelings it may take more than three iterations, but the idea still holds.


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