One of the tasks of therapy is to help you identify, connect with, and trust your own feelings. Many of us are conditioned to avoid our own feelings because we did not have an emotionally safe early environment in which we could learn about our feelings and how to express them.

A useful concept in this process is to look at four main feelings: Mad, Sad, Glad and Scared. Most feeling states can be identified as one or more of these four; it is even possible to have all four feelings about the same subject!  Some of us have become accustomed to using euphemisms for these feelings to make them more acceptable, for example saying "I'm frustrated" when really "I'm angry (mad)" would be more accurate.

In many cases, anxiety and/or depression can result from being disconnected from our own feelings. Anxiety, because we believe that certain feelings are unacceptable or intolerable, yet the feelings are in the body and won't go away. This creates tension which only escalates the more the feelings are pushed away. And the very word "depression" connotes feelings being pushed down or "depressed".   Feelings are emotions - "energy in motion". It's no wonder that fatigue is a symptom of depression -- just imagine how much energy it takes to push down that "energy in motion" and lock it away in some part of the body.  You can do a mental scan of your body from head to toe and  locate where that "energy" has gone - it probably feels heavy, tight or painful.

Therapy creates a safe haven for you to explore and discover, at your own pace, those feelings which have not been able to come out before. This can be scary, which is why safety and trust are emphasized in the therapeutic process. As with other tasks in life, just getting started -- making the first call to a therapist -- is sometimes the hardest part.

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