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Flipping Out

I look at this photo and think, "WHOO HOO!" I then I think of the landing and think, "O.M.G. That's gonna hurt."

Both feelings of UP and DOWN can be experienced as Anxiety (flying through the air out of control) and Depression (what is going to happen to me when I crash). These ups and downs can also be expressed as a "roller-coaster ride" and a sense of being "overwhelmed." These feelings can be manufactured within our relationships (conflict, avoidance), and experienced as a result of living with someone with physical limitations or a mental health condition (PTSD, Bipolar, Schizophrenia, Dementia, etc.). Because we are relational beings we need to learn how to keep the wheels on the ground and the car on the road, and so often we don't have a clue how to do that.

How to measure Anxiety and Depression

When I work with clients, I have a white board that helps me draw what the client is feeling. My "scribbles, graphs, and pictures," provide a level of understanding words alone cannot fully explain. When I ask a client how they are feeling and draw a street with two curbs and a line down the middle, I show them a measurement of "0-10/10" (from center line to curb and beyond) and they are able to see, "Your emotional car has jumped the curb and gone four-wheeling off the road." I love the contemplative looks I get as this sinks in and they give me a Charlie Brown response, "THAT'S IT!" as they gain insight as to WHY they feel out of control (anxiety) and sadness (guilt, shame, regrets). I also love how within weeks we can do the same drawing and they tell me they are keeping the wheels down and are staying between the curbs.

When you can understand who is driving your car, the limitations the driver has in keeping it on the road, and with the assistance of a pit-crew (therapist), you can learn to control your out of control feelings and manage the little bumps in the road of life without flipping out.

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