4/25/21: The Difference Between Situational And Emotional Wellness

Two days ago I shared the article abt “languishing”…the idea that there’s more than feeling either “depressed” or “thriving.”

While I/we’ve believed in the idea of MH on a continuum for some time…our naming conventions for these other places on that continuum differ from simply- languishing. Other than the extremes, we have Gliding, Surviving, Fluctuating, Struggling. Yeah the names are diff, but the concept’s the same. Emotions aren’t binary: Good or Bad…Happy or Sad. Emotions are more complex.

So w that as a bkgrnd, I was texting w a friend last nt who’s also an advocate. She knows me enough to answer more than “fine” when I ask how she’s doing. This time she answered: “Situationally, good. Emotionally struggling a bit as I’m working thru some EMDR sessions, dealing w some messy stuff, & laying down new neural pathways.”

I loved that answer. It resonated so much w me, & here’s why: I answer ppl the SAME friggin’ way!! When ppl ask how I’m doing, I’ll say something like: situationally – work, physical health, friends, fam life, things are going really well. Emotionally – it’s complicated. Got some frustrating feelings I’m working thru.

If you feel this way/have felt this way, this is SO common. As humans we want simple answers: situation A led to feeling B, so I’m feeling B right now. If only life were that simple.

Why do I share this? Bc I think part of what can hold us back, is this idea if things are going well (even really well) we don’t think we have the right to feel anything else but “good.”

That concept is bogus, & it holds us back more. Human emotions are complex. What we’ve experienced in the past builds up cumulatively inside of us. Like plaque in our arteries for physical health, stress & trauma build in our CNS. Our brains are like video recorders, taking all of our experiences in & storing them.

You might be situationally great, but be working thru unresolved stuff in your dreams (which you don’t even remember, when waking). You may watch a movie that lights a fire in your subconscious abt an event when you were 13!

It’s ok to be in a good place situationally, but a rough spot emotionally.

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