I still remember the day my doctor diagnosed me with pulmonary fibrosis
I was hit with a ton of emotions, all at once. I couldn’t believe what he was saying. I was confused, incredibly sad, angry and disoriented. I felt one emotion, then another and then a third … all in five minutes. It’s how my mind, heart, and spirit tried to process the unthinkable. When you find your feelings all over the place, this means you are a human being who is struggling with very, very difficult news.
We need to find ways to process our emotions in healthy ways, so as to not be taken down by them
As a marriage and family therapist and pulmonary fibrosis patient, I have worked hard to stay in tune with my feelings, and actually make friends with them. Believe it or not, God gave us emotions to help guide us, much like a GPS. When we can see our emotions as giving us valuable information to learn and grow from, it helps us be a compassionate friend to ourselves.
Approaching our feelings with a curiosity about what they have to say and teach us is pivotal in both treating ourselves with compassion and coming to our own aid when distressed.
So … what are we supposed to do with our emotions?
What helps is allowing yourself to notice and have your emotions (even the upsetting ones), name them if possible, and express them in ways that are not harmful to yourself or others.
This process helps lower their intensity and calms our system down. When we do this, we will be more connected to ourselves and often will move through these emotions more quickly.
With emotions, it is healthy to stop and listen rather than judge or push them away
Step back and ask yourself questions, such as:
~ What is going on inside me?
~ What do I need?
~ What message is this emotion sending that I need to address?
~ What can I do to address the problem my emotions are letting me know exists?
~ How can I help soothe and calm myself in this moment?
For many of us, these kind responses to our emotions are not our instinctual reactions
Instead, we may gloss over our emotions, react strongly to them, push them down, or go numb. These responses occur because we haven’t learned healthy ways to process our emotions; consequently, we repeat what we’ve learned growing up — even if it’s not effective.
If you’d like to learn more about Making Friends with Your Emotions, check out a recent Facebook live I did on this very topic.
I’ll be sharing more next time about how allowing yourself to grieve helps to release and let go of pain and suffering. When diagnosed with a terminal illness, there are lots of emotions to work through, and making friends with them will help you learn from them and find peace.
Questions to ponder:
~ What is it like to think of your emotions as a friend that is trying to help you pay attention to something important?
~ What do you think your emotions are trying to tell you right now?
~ What is one thing you could say or do to make friends with your emotions?
I’d love you to share any comments, questions, or additional helpful ideas below that you’d like to share with our PF community.
Note: Pulmonary Fibrosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Fibrosis News, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary fibrosis.