I haven’t written for a while which I regret a lot as I love writing. However, I have been extremely busy. I was finishing the final year of university and was overwhelmed by the amount of work I had to complete. I thought my dissertation was going to be the most difficult but it turns out another one of my modules ended up being a lot more work. I basically had to code a website even though I had never done any coding in my life, and the lecturer didn’t exactly do a good job at explaining it either. I passed my degree with a 2:1 though and I am extremely happy about that considering the tough time I went through at university.
I had a difficult time knowing what I wanted to do next. For a while I was going to do a masters but realised the only reason I wanted to do it was because I was scared of having to face the ‘real world.’ And the real world is very tough, I have realised. At the moment, I am working a job as a cleaner. Previous experiences in customer service roles have usually been too overwhelming for me but I seem to be coping a lot better with this role. I have had a few occasions where my emotions have hit me like a storm and I have had to try to keep it together. Recently, I have been using a self help dialect behavioural therapy book which has been a great help. So far, I have learned that when my emotions overwhelm me, I need to ‘distract, relax and then cope’. I have also learned that my irrational behaviours are not helpful and only cause me and other people more suffering and pain.
For example, last week, I forgot to pick up a clean mop heads before I went around clients houses. Usually, I would be too afraid to admit to the manager that I had made a mistake but I realised that pretending I had not made a mistake may only make it worse. So, I texted my manager and told her my mistake but unfortunately, she got quite angry at me. At this point, I could feel the overwhelming emotions beginning to take over. I began thinking ‘I am going to quit my job and go home’ or ‘I will not go to any of the clients houses’. Obviously, this would only cause more suffering for both myself and my boss. I would get fired, my boss would receive complaints and the business would suffer. So instead, I decided to first, take my lunch break so that I could cool down, making sure to treat myself to a coffee. After that, I provided a rational solution to the problem, telling my boss that I will ask my clients if I could use their mop for this one occasion, if not, I will use my cloths. She agreed to this and then I distracted myself for the rest of the day by focusing on my job, and I think I worked much harder as a result. When I was done for the day, I took a relaxing bath and meditated to help myself cope.
I felt much better for reacting the way I did and I hope to continue to be able to cope this well with my emotions. It is not easy and this technique definitely takes a lot of practice but you feel a lot better and a great sense of accomplishment once you achieve it. It is also important not to beat yourself up when you do slip up and emotions do get the better of you. The main thing to remember is that you are trying your best to improve yourself and you cannot always be perfect because no one is.
It is also important to have certain phrases to help myself cope. For example, in that situation I said to myself ‘It is okay, you just feel emotions more strongly than other people and this feeling won’t last forever’. I hope this is helpful for anyone else struggling with overwhelming emotions or emotional instability. The book I am using is called ‘The Dialectical Behvioural Skills Workbook: Practical DBT Exercising for Learning Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotional Regulation & Distress Tolerance’ by McKay, Wood and Brantley :). I hope this helps anyone who may be struggling.