I liked what Jamie was talking about with regards to emotions.
"You're also responsible for your emotions and it's your job to find healthy ways to manage them. Emotions are often our guides, telling us what is in or out of alignment in our lives. They help us become aware of what we may need to focus more attention on within our lives. Emotions can also be a symptom of something else. So pay attention to them and use the wisdom they bring. They're not something to be avoided. Emotions are wonderful clues to the inner you and it's important to understand that you can and should assume responsibility for your emotions. They can either control you, or you can learn to understand and use them to express yourself competently.
Being responsible for your emotions means understanding what's causing them in the first place. For example if you are struggling with anger issues, you'll want to explore and learn what triggers your anger response. Then you either avoid your triggers if possible or work to maintain your composure when are triggered."
There are two things I took from this passage.
When I was a new mother struggling those first few years with an intense sweet boy, I found I kept falling back on learned behavior of anger. I was beyond exhausted and climbing out of ppd, and I just didn't know how to stop being angry. It wasn't like that all of the time, but I felt it more than I wished. I understood why I was responding with a tight jaw and then lashing out -- it was exactly what I saw as a child----but it was my responsibility to break that cycle. It took a while for me to make a plan. I recognized that if I could break that tightness, often I could avoid the anger response. First I would recognize the tightness after it happened. Then I could recognize when it was happening. What I did was stick my tongue between my teeth. My tongue prevented my body from tightening my jaw. Eventually, I was able to anticipate my frustration and stick that tongue out. I am proud to say that most of the time, my initial response to frustration is no longer anger. That is huge for me.
I now have three amazing children, my youngest is 3 months old. Anger is not my first emotion but I certainly experience depression. Again, I am climbing out of ppd. It is not easy and I'm not quite sure what this experience is guiding me toward, except looking at it through my biochem glasses. (I clearly need more serotonin) This is the journey I am on now. What is happening to me to cause this?
Actually more important than analyzing my ppd is my general outlook on life. I am a person full of Love, patience, smiles, cuddles, peace (overall I'm a pretty cool person), but I don't have the joy in my life that I would like. I feel heavy with emotions, a bit burdened and always a bit sad -- kind of in a undercurrent sort of way. I don't laugh very often. So the most important thing I am taking from this passage is that I am responsible for my emotions and I want to understand why am this way and what I can do to lighten me up. I think this is going to be an interesting journey of discovery and I plan on finding me giggling and joking at the end.