Healing Yourself.

Over 15 million people in the United States alone suffer from depression. Often along with this distressing illness come other issues like anxiety and panic disorders, excessive thoughts of death or suicide, and self-harming behaviors that range from physical self-harm to eating disorders to substance abuse.

Although I’ve spoken in previous posts about being there for your significant other (SO) and helping soothe their fears, ultimately our own emotional state is our own responsibility. A supportive and understanding SO can only do so much. If you are unwilling to help yourself, then no one else can help you either. Find the courage to look deep within yourself and discover your own issues and how those might be affecting your relationships.

When I’m in intense emotional pain, I often listen to Eckhart Tolle read his fantastic book A New Earth. This almost always relieves some of my agitation. I struggle with a crippling emotional disorder that sometimes gets the better of me, especially during times of hormonal or chemical imbalance, or during times of heavy stress. My husband, the most understanding and support man I’ve ever known, will stop everything else if necessary to help me through it, and I sometimes lean on him too much before I find my own footing again. But ultimately I must stand on my own or else I become a burden to myself, and I feel like a burden to my husband, although he constantly reassures me that I am not. He is a saint.

Back to my point, we all need some guidance and grounding from time to time, and if you or your SO struggle with depression or another mental disorder, then it can be more challenging for you and your relationship. It can also be more rewarding, as such issues only serve to bring the two of you closer together. After all, you are a team.

Tolle talks about something he calls the “pain body,” and his explanation of it as a construct of the ego is quite profound. When we are in the grips of our “pain body,” we may say or do things that we wouldn’t do under normal circumstances. We all have this “pain body,” although some people’s “pain body” is more dense than others. I call this state of mind my crazy space. When I’m in the grips of the crazy space, or “pain body,” it is like I am on a drug. I see the world differently, as if through a haze. I make irrational decisions. Once I am on the other side again, this becomes very clear, and I’m usually terribly embarrassed about it. Everyone has times like this, when stress or hormones or brain chemicals make you angry or irrational, and it is important to understand your SO’s crazy space, as well as your own, and learn how to deal with it. It is always temporary. Supporting your SO through this will only serve to strengthen your relationship and bring you closer together. Plus, when your SO is in their crazy space, they are not thinking clearly. If you are able to remain calm and objective, you can help them out of it. You can lovingly remind them that it is just temporary and it will pass. You can remind them to breathe or meditate or exercise or listen to Tolle or whatever it is that helps them through it.

Their love will deepen for you because of your patience and understanding, and yours, in turn, will deepen for them.

In order to do this and be there in this way for your spouse, you must ensure that you, too, are emotionally healthy and aware. If you can remain in a place of peace when your SO is suffering, then you will not get triggered into your own crazy space, something that happens far too often and results in arguing and saying hurtful things you don’t really mean.

As I’ve said before, relationships are hard work. The idea of finding someone without “emotional baggage” is a fantasy. Everyone has emotional baggage. We start accumulating it when we are just a child, before we even reach 2-years-old. At this age, our brains are like a sponge. Although a 2-year-old is hardly able to speak, they are absorbing everything that goes on around them. They are looking to their parents and forming ideas about relationships. If they fight, the child thinks that’s normal. If they don’t fight but feel hostile towards each other, the child senses that as well.

Everyone has issues to varying degrees, and it is essential to acknowledge this and learn to work through it for your own health, your SO’s health, your children’s health, and the health of your family/relationship. Aren’t they worth it? Aren’t you worth it?

Learn to meditate. (fun)

You may also try things like Tai Chi; daily walks to clear your head; exercises to bring you in the present moment, the only time that ever exists; or these things to find peace within. After all, it is what we’re all looking for, and we are not going to find it outside ourselves.

Many people say something like this: “When I get that promotion, book deal, break, <fill in the blank>, everything will be better.” It won’t be. Healing yourself and healing your relationship must come from the inside out. Find the courage to discover what you need to stop living in fear.

“In the stillness of presence, you can sense the formless essence of yourself and in the other, as one. Knowing the oneness of yourself and the other is true love, true care, true compassion.” ~Eckhart Tolle

Read my other articles on romance and relationships:

Polyamory as an Alternative to Infedelity
Dispelling 5 Myths About Polyamory

Talking to Your SO About Polyamory
Healing Your Relationship

-_Q

Tolle, Eckhart. A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose. Seattle: Penguin Audio, 2008.

(Also available in hardcover, paperback, & Kindle editions, although I recommend the audio book, as his voice is very soothing. It is a great way to start the day by listening for 15 or 20 minutes as an exercise in remaining present throughout the day.)

~ by omgrey on January 19, 2011.

14 Responses to “Healing Yourself.”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by christinerose, christinerose, adicat and others. adicat said: RT @omgrey: now blogging: Healing Yourself.: Over 15 million people in the United States alone suffer from… http://bit.ly/dZRYLD #roma … […]

  2. “You can lovingly remind them that it is just temporary and it will pass. You can remind them to breathe or meditate or exercise or listen to Tolle or whatever it is that helps them through it.”

    When my SO is in her “crazy space” (migraine, fibromyalgia, arthritis, depression, anxiety) even the slightest mention that she isn’t thinking clearly and that she might want to slow down and reconsider what she’s saying/doing/thinking sends her into a rage. How dare I discount her feelings? How dare I dismiss her needs?

    • I hear that. But with my SO I find it best to be supportively silent. To just be there so she knows – I’m here, I won’t leave, You can’t drive me away, We’ll get through this together. We both know it’s the pain talking. She puts up with a lot from me too. And when I’m in the darkness, no one can reach me – but me. She just rides it out.

    • I agree with Maxwell on this. Just remember that it is the pain talking. You can also tell your SO, gently, that you are not discounting their feelings. You cannot imagine how hard it must be for them and how strong they are for being able to deal with it. That you do not want to dismiss their needs, and if there is something you can do to ease the pain, you will do it. Sometimes just being there is enough. Sometimes it works to physically hold them through it. Ask your SO what they need. They may not know, of course, but just the question can do wonders.

  3. BTW – another great post. You have a great way of touching me. Thanks

  4. Maxwell, omgrey: Thank you for your responses.

    “Supportively silent” is what I believe I’m doing. But it feels, much of the time, like ignoring her.

    I try to tell her, whenever the window opens, that I will never, ever leave her. She doesn’t believe me.

    If her fibro is acting up, she cannot bear my touch. Those are the worst days.

    • I’m so sorry to hear about your situation. That must be very hard for you both. How long have you been together? It sounds like you’re doing the best you can, and even though you feel like you’re repeating yourself, just keep reassuring her until she does believe. It takes as long as it takes.

    • One thing I’ve learned over the years (26 for us) is that men feel a natural need to “fix” things. It’s hard for us to just stand by and be supportive. It can feel like you’re ignoring, because you’re not actively doing something – but you are. Sometimes just loving someone is all we can do. Even if they are not able or willing at the time to accept it. It is clear that you are emotionally involved and commited, so you are doing more than you realize. Love is never wasted, it always has an effect.

  5. […] As I said in a previous post, ultimately everyone must be willing to help themselves first. If they are not willing, there is little you can do; however, those people struggling with depression, self-injury, suicidal thoughts, and addiction might need a little extra patience and understanding from time to time. Learn how to reach out. Learn what to say and how to help them through that time. […]

  6. […] Polyamory as an Alternative to Infidelity Dispelling 5 Myths of Polyamory Talking to Your SO About Polyamory Healing Your Relationship Healing Yourself […]

  7. […] Dispelling 5 Myths of Polyamory Talking to Your SO About Polyamory Healing Your Relationship Healing Yourself Writing for Survival Suicidal Tendencies The Morality of Love and […]

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