Updated: Dec 4, 2020
Depression? Anxiety? Burn-out? — Most of my teen years moving forward to my early 30s were spent in a state of depression. The first decade, I didn’t really know what was going on. I just thought it was part of being a teenager. A part of living new experiences and making the best of them.
I hit rock bottom in my early 20s. It was a very confusing time for me. What is happening to me? Why am I always tired? Why do I not even care if a Moose hits my car as I drive tonight? Why do I have no interest in food? Why am I crying anytime I am alone in the car?
My father gave me an ultimatum…
… make an appointment yourself to see the doctor, or I will. My parents and I are very close; they could see that something wasn’t right.
Enter the diagnosis of “clinically depressed and clinically burned out”.
With the help of Celexa and the program “Making Love Work by Dr. De Angelis” I started to heal. My now husband, best friend, and life partner met me in 1996, right at the beginning of this diagnosis of depression and burn-out. He stood by my side through it all (it wasn’t easy) and now calls us a “Power Couple”.
One of the things that was of enormous help to me was to write letters to everyone that had an impact in my life. Including myself. It is called an “emotional letter” or a “love letter”. It allowed me to work through the emotions of any baggage I had, and work my way back to love and healing. With each letter, I felt a weight being lifted off of my heart and a sense of peace slowly filling that space. I felt the “depression” and “burn-out” leave my body bit by bit. It was a long road. It took me 10 years to fully recover. But you know what? I was and am worth it, and so are you.
Let me share with you what worked for me.
There is a pyramid of emotions that affect everyone close to us, right down to your pet if you own one. — Spouse comes home and is sharp or mean to partner, partner loses patience with child, child acts out towards family pet, family pet is confused and hurt… as is most of the family. — The emotions trickle all the way down to the family pet.
Anger, blame, resentment
Hurt, sadness, disappointment
Fear, insecurity, wounds
Regret, understanding, responsibility
Intention, solution, wishes
Keeping emotional tension from building up in any relationship is key (friendship, work, love…). The way to do this is feeling and communicating our complete truth. Keeping in mind to do this in a respectful way.
If we choose to express only some of the emotions we are feeling, the conflict never gets fully resolved. In turn, the emotional tension doesn’t get released. Even leading to depression or burn-out.
Suppressing vs expressing
Let’s say your spouse has upset you in a certain way. You decide to not fully be honest about how you feel and push most of your emotions down deep into your being. How is you body feeling? Tense? Belly ache? Headache? Lower back pain? Do you feel angry or want to cry? Is this leading to depression and/or burn-out?
We all have some sort of emotional baggage that needs healing. That’s ok. It’s part of life. The good news is that emotions you feel and/or express are emotions you can heal. Living a new positive experience of love and healing heals old pain… by changing your old emotional programming.
A great way to release emotional tension caused by conflict is through writing an “emotional letter” using the “pyramid” above. This letter is written to each individual that has had an impact in your life, including yourself. It does not have to be given to the person it is addressed to, as some can be quite intense. I chose to burn most of my letters. For me this was a symbolic way of releasing the past baggage. The act of writing the letter is what helps “release” the emotional tension from your whole being, making your way back to a sense of love and peace.
A guide to writing a “emotional/love letter” (use each line)
I don’t like….
I feel frustrated….
I am angry that…
I feel annoyed…
I feel disappointed…
I am sad that…
I feel hurt…