Emotions are difficult, more so in a nation built by Puritans. Keep that brave face on and don’t let ’em see you sweat!
But as I’m sitting here crying over a Grace and Frankie episode and thinking about how terrible children are and how wonderful and supportive the women in my life can be I am a flurry of emotions all at once – emotions that my American upbringing, while supplemented with therapy, is still woefully unprepared to handle. But I do my best.
A tool that my most recent therapist shared with me is the feeling wheel.
The idea is that we have trouble putting feelings into words. The wheel helps us not only identify big feelings, like mad or happy, but also helps us to become more specific about our feelings than that.
Today I felt:
Mad – Hurt – Angry: This was due to a work situation that I’m not ready to talk about but that has been resolved. It will be dealt with though, believe me.
Powerful – Respected/Appreciated – Valuable/Worthwhile: Angry Angel Books gained a brand new patron today on Patreon, and I discovered this generosity almost immediately after I dealt with my work thing, so my angry and powerful feelings were mixing and it was confusing, but this made me feel loved and that eclipsed the hurt from work.
Scared – Insecure/Anxious: Since ending my pursuit of an accounting degree it was time to get my own student loans in line that have been in deferment all this time. Part of that process was applying for an Income Based Repayment program, so that my payments would be based on my income and not on the characteristics of the loans (interest rate, principal, etc). I got the letter from the loan servicer today that told me what my payment would be and it said NINE HUNDRED DOLLARS A MONTH. After I resurrected myself I called and asked WTF and they said that the IBR only applied to one set of my loans, the others were still in deferment and so still had the real payment showing. Once they come out of deferment on the 22nd of February, the IBR can be applied to them as well and my payment will be the significantly lower one that I was expecting. But that was ten minutes of financial terror – insecurity and fear.
All of these situations are either resolved or preferable, so I should feel better, but they all happened so fast and overlapped each other so tightly that I feel kind of…out of it? Like I put too many ingredients in the blender and now I can’t tell what I made. My immediate plan to settle my mind is to go in to bed early with a good book, and ask my Google Home Mini to play some ocean or thunderstorm sounds while I read about magical, fighting geisha until I can’t keep my eyes open anymore.
You can google “Feelings Wheel” and find the version of the wheel that works best for you. I would encourage you to practice giving your feelings more words than the basic umbrella emotion words so that you can understand where your feelings are coming from. Once you know where those feelings are coming from, you will be able to grow an understanding of how to manage them. It’s a low risk, low judgment method and sometimes it can be fun to discover other words to empower ourselves.
Read. Be Brave. Stay Angry.