Counseling

Depression Hurts – Practical Tips to Help You Ease Emotional Pain

Depression can have a big impact on your mental and emotional health. Pessimistic thoughts intensify. Feelings of sadness, loneliness, hopelessness, and despair deepen. There is an ache inside that feels like it will never end. These thoughts and feelings interrupt your life and the lives of the people around you. 

However, not everyone understands just how deeply the wounds of depression can go in terms of causing emotional pain.

A practical way to think about emotional pain is to compare it to physical pain. The different factors and symptoms associated with depression can create emotional bumps, bruises, and scarring. 

In fact, emotional pain can hurt more and be even more damaging than physical pain. If it’s not taken care of, it can also lead to health problems like a weakened immune system, inflammation, or high blood pressure.

So, how can you ease the emotional pain caused by depression?

Consider a few practical tips for dealing with emotional pain.

 Lean Into the Feelings

The human body is wired to move away from pain and toward pleasure. Emotional pain is no different. People have many different strategies for dealing with emotional pain. They may redirect it, minimize it, avoid it, internalize it, etc. Regardless, emotion paid does not loosen it grips when it is ignored. Instead, it is stubborn and digs its heals in even deeper.

It might seem counterintuitive to lean into emotional pain, but the more light you can shine on it the less intense it will feel.

Depression is the result of not being able to express emotional pain. Feelings are drawn inward, instead of expressing them outward and releasing them.  Inward movement leads to feeling stuck, heavy, paralyzed, and disconnected from life. Outward movement results in feeling light, mobile, energized, and connected with life.

To begin, find a quiet place where you can close your eyes. As you begin to bring awareness inward approach your feelings with curiosity, not judgment. At first you may not know what you are feeling, and that’s ok. Become aware of the body sensations that are emerging. Does the feeling sit anywhere? If so, focus on that area. Notice how long you are able to sit with your feelings before you distract yourself. Ask your body questions such as, “If you can express yourself right now, what would that look like?”

Be sure to listen for the answers to your questions. If possible keep a journal nearby to record your experience.

The longer you can sit with your feelings the greater your tolerance will be, and the quicker you will be able to move through your emotional pain when it emerges.

Fighting Loneliness with Positive Self-Talk

Many people who are dealing with depression also feel lonely. In fact, this might be the reason you yourself are depressed, or you might isolate yourself because of your depression. Relationships and support are extremely important in everyone’s lives, but even more so if you’re currently struggling with overwhelming emotions and thoughts. 

If your depression makes you feel lonely, you might also feel helpless, as though you’re not good enough for healthy relationships. This can lead to a lot of doubt and negative self-talk. You might think that you’re a burden to people or that no one really likes you.

One of the best ways to battle this emotional pain is to fight against that negative self-talk. Think of your self-esteem as a muscle that needs to be “worked out” in order to get stronger. Ask yourself practical questions to challenge your all or nothing thinking about your loneliness and why you feel the way you do. 

As you continue to work on positive self-talk, make every attempt to reconnect with friends and family, even for short periods of time. Doing this will help you to realize that you’re worthy of love and have the ability to love others, despite your depressed feelings.

Healing the Scars of the Past

In a depressed state, it’s not uncommon to ruminate over things you’ve been through in the past. Thinking about unpleasant situations throughout your life can cause you to fall deeper into a hole of darkness. For some people, it’s even easy to make up negative situations and dwell on them.

It’s important to heal these scars so they don’t keep clinging to you for the rest of your life.

One of the first things you can do is to realize that you’re internal dialogue is far more critical than any else’s, and most likely you are the only one in your life who is dwelling on your failures. If you lost your job, had a bad breakup, or even if you made an embarrassing mistake at work, there’s a good chance no one is talking about it or even remembers it the way that you do.

When you realize that these negative situations aren’t important to other people, you can start to make them less important to you as well. As a result, you’ll think about them less and less. 

If you’re still having a problem with these emotional scars, lean into them and acknowledge them. Remind yourself that whatever you are feeling has already happened to you and it can no longer hurt you in the way that it once did. Remind yourself that you are currently safe, and that you are not alone.

Acknowledging, instead of distracting yourself from your emotional pain can make a big difference in not letting yourself get sucked into the past.

Easing the Pain of Trauma

Depression can often be linked to emotional trauma. Maybe you’ve gone through a particularly traumatic event. Or maybe years of repeated trauma have brought you to a state of depression and anxiety.

Whatever the case, dealing with trauma can hurt and make you feel unsafe.

Everyone has different coping mechanisms when it comes to trauma, but seeking out help from a professional counselor or therapist is one of the best ways to get through it. A counselor can help you identify what triggers your pain and learn different ways to manage and relieve your symptoms.

If you’re struggling with emotional pain due to depression, having someone to talk to can make a big difference. Schedule a free consultation or visit my so we can get to the bottom of what is causing your depression. You can also visit my depression counseling page for more information. From there, we’ll work on different ways to find comfort and healing.

 

 

How to Communicate and Have Your Voice Heard in Your Relationship

Communication is an important key in any relationship. Unfortunately, far too many couples don’t communicate properly.

One of the biggest issues hindering communication is not having your voice heard within your relationship. It’s one thing for your partner to listen to you. But are they really hearing and processing what you’re saying?

It’s important to remember that a relationship is about two people who have needs that need to be met. When one person is expressing their needs but the other isn’t hearing them, this crucial element is being neglected.

Thus, if your lines of communication are starting to sound more like “white noise,” it could be time to rethink the way you communicate.

How Do You Know If Your Voice Isn’t Being Heard?

Of course, every relationship is different, and so are communication styles. But there are certain things to look out for that indicate your partner isn’t hearing what you have to say.

Some of the most common signs include:

Selective memory – They might remember things on their calendar, friends’ birthdays, etc., but they don’t remember something important you told them the night before.

Distractions – Does your partner start to do other things when you want to talk to them? Whether it’s chores around the house or something they suddenly “remembered” that needed to get done, this is a sign you’re not actively being heard.

Lashing out – If your partner lashes out in aggression when you bring up a topic important to you, they could be trying to get you to back off so you don’t talk about it again.

Arguing – Some partners will also drag out an argument for long periods of time until you “give up” or get tired of talking about the subject. Again, this is to make sure you don’t bring it up again.

If your voice isn’t being heard in a relationship, it’s not only harmful to the relationship itself, but it can be harmful to your own self-esteem and emotional well-being.

How Do You Have Your Voice Be Heard?

It’s important to note that some partners just will not listen. They might continue their habits no matter what you do, drowning you out and silencing your voice in the relationship. Sometimes, the best thing you can do for yourself is to cut ties with that person.

But, if the relationship can be fixed and you believe your partner can change, there are things you can do to get through to them effectively.

One of the best things you can do is simply to share with them your observation about them when you feel they are not listening, and ask them what is going on. You want to be mindful of not using the work “why”. Often times it puts people on guard and feels accusatory. Try to approach it with observation and curiosity. For example you might say to your partner, “I notice that when I share my thoughts and feelings with you tend to pick up your phone or begin organizing the papers on the counter. This often leaves me feeling ignored and confused. I am curious as to what is happen for you in those moments?”  

Maybe they don’t fully realize that they’re ignoring or belittling the things you have to say. They might be going through problems of their own that make it hard for them to fully listen to your concerns. Approaching with curiosity invites dialogue, where as asking why often shuts it down.

Be genuine with your curiosity and questions. If you don’t want to know the answer to a question, then don’t ask it. People generally can sense the difference between genuine and contrived curiosity.

Sometimes, this is all it takes for the dynamic of a relationship to change.

As silly as it might sound, another great option is to give a presentation to your partner. You don’t need to draw up a PowerPoint slideshow. But you can explain to them how you’re feeling and how their lack of listening affects your relationship.  This can get more productive communication going, especially if you’re open to hearing their feelings in return.

A good way to get them started with paying attention as you begin this presentation is to showcase how they will benefit from hearing your voice. Also, let them know how much they would be helping you simply by listening. Do not assume they know how to listen to you properly. Provide examples of gestures or behaviors that would suggest they are listening to you. Sometimes, pointing out what is obvious is exactly what people need to make a change.

Following Through

Usually, it’s not fair to give your partner an ultimatum. But, if you’ve talked to them about your concerns more than once and nothing has changed, it’s okay to take action. Show them what will happen if they don’t start listening. Maybe you stop doing household chores or going out to eat with them, etc.  If it feels like a relationship deal breaker make them aware of this.

Asserting yourself is not always easy to put into practice, but it can be very effective.

If your partner is struggling to really hear you or you don’t know how to make your voice be heard, you don’t have to deal with it alone. Schedule a free consultation or visit my relationship counseling page to learn more if you’re worried about the state of your relationship. By working on communicative skills together, we can make your relationship stronger and healthier than ever.