Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Emotional Days

I have really been in touch with my emotions lately.  From the graduating of my daughter, my stepdaughter,   My daughter going off to college, my son's medication working, not working, and my older son going to fifth grade, and day-to-day life experiences.  Well I have never been one to cry but last week I guess I had pinned up so much emotions along with frustrations I just started crying.  I actually cried!!!  I cried for the first time in God knows how long.  I shared the fact that I cried.  I felt better after I cried!!  Well on Monday,  a good friend of mine was killed in a tragic accident.  I am still in shock and in disbelief that he is gone.  I did not realize how much of a part of my/ our life as he has been.  Every special event and holiday he has been a part of it the past few years.  Cherish your friends while they are here (even though I did)!! I will miss him and I'm glad that I have good memories with him and about him.  Give me my flowers while I'm alive!!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Are you Wearing A Mask????

Are You Wearing A Mask?

October is usually the month we all play dress up, put on costumes and even masks.  However, there are some who wear masks on a daily basis.  We wear masks to hide hurt, pain, shame, uncertainty, and to hide our scars (internally and externally).  Some of the masks that we wear can include make-up, nice or expensive hair-do, expensive clothing/shoes, and something as simple as a smile.  Others mask pain through excessive laughter, humor, anger, promiscuity, alcoholism, and/or substance abuse.   All this appears to take away your pain, especially while others are looking at and talking to you.  Most people learn in their early years coping techniques and defense mechanisms when it comes to protecting themselves from the hurts and harms of others.  Some encounter situations where there are required to hide their deepest darkest fears and secrets from other, if not there may be repercussions so they internalize.
In reading an article by Karyn Hall, PhD, she named several different masks: “Avoidance Mask; People Pleaser Mask; Mask of Anger; and the Happy Mask.  The Avoidance Mask is where you avoid all pain and protect your authentic self.  In this mask you can also feel powerless, feel judged, rejected, and left out.  The Functional Mask is the mask that you wear to work when you need to look like you’re in charge.”  You have dressed the part, rehearsed the part, Ready, Set, Action!!!!  You take this mask off when no one is around.  “People Pleaser Mask – this is when you do whatever it takes to make other people happy so that they will accept you more and attack you less.  You keep your feelings and opinions to yourself as not to be verbally attacked by family, friend, peers, and co-workers.   “Mask of Anger -Anger feels more powerful than hurt.  It protects you from being vulnerable.”  I often say Hurt people will hurt people!!  “Happy Mask- You protect yourself by acting happy all the time.  You act as though nothing gets you down!!”  You laugh excessively, joke, and smile to hide your hurts.  Any/all emotions can be used as a mask- stop masking your hurts, pains, shame, insecurities, and scars.  These masks work short-term but cause long-term problems if untreated/ unresolved.  You lose your self-identity and self-worth.
My original question- Are you wearing a mask?  What does your mask consist of?  Are you ready to take off your mask and find out who you truly are?  Reclaim your identity!!!  You can do this by:
Making the decision to do so- Take off your mask!!  It may not be easy but take baby steps and ask for help (if needed) to remove this mask.
Focusing on you, your feelings- Ask yourself what do you think and how do you feel.  Keep a journal (journal daily) if you don’t want to share your thoughts and feelings initially.
Being visible- Stand up straight, arch your back, walk with your chest out, voice your opinions (thoughtfully and tactfully).  Let the world know that you exist!!
Developing new coping skills- Deep breathing techniques, exercising, writing, journaling, drawing, singing, dancing, public speaking, helping others, etc….
Face that painful past which you have been avoiding!!  Take baby steps, get a support system/team together, get new coping techniques and take off that mask!!!!   Doc Dee