Learning to interpret feelings


How much of your life is a blind reaction to your circumstances?

It’s taken many years, but I’m starting to identify some of my own patterns. I struggle with depression and overeating, but mainly as a reaction to feeling helpless, unhappy or terminally bored. When I feel those things I try to lose myself in fried food and video games, stop exercising and start sleeping all the time.

And I blame myself for feeling bad. The shame and guilt are real. I convince myself that I just need to be better, push harder, change my attitude.

Maybe that’s true? I don’t know. But trying that has never fixed anything. I’ve never come out of that state until I’ve changed something in my life. When I’m deep in it I start having strangers tell me I’m too hard on myself.

I try all the things you’re supposed to do. I try talking to myself the way I’d talk to a friend who’s going through the same thing, I try characterizing my feelings to acknowledge them, I try to have a stoic detachment. It doesn’t last.

Your feelings are trying to tell you something. Assume they’re valid. For me, they’re trying to say my life is out of balance. They don’t go away until I’ve dealt with it.

The curious thing to me is that it’s still so hard for me to see that there’s something wrong. Still, after all these years, after all these times.