How to Prioritize Your Emotions

Let's Talk About Emotions

Ew, right? Well, I don't mean the touchy-feely kind, I mean the general sense of the word.

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There's a lot going on in my life. In fact, I'm sure there's a lot going on in your life as well. You may even be ignoring some of those things right this very second as you read my article—in which case, thanks for stopping by! But if college has taught me anything (it's taught me many things, but this one is important) it's how to prioritize. Prioritizing goes right along with time management and that sort of thing, but what I'm specifically talking about in this article is prioritizing and choosing what to do with your emotions.

Some people have many emotions, some people have few, and some people seem to have an adequate amount. But one thing is the same among all people: we all have a certain emotional capacity that we cannot overload or we will have a mental breakdown. I'm sure you've all experienced this at one point or another, especially being in college, but what if I told you that there was a way you could have fewer mental breakdowns?

"But Celine, we don't get to choose how we feel..."

Oh, really? That's where you're wrong. You are completely in control of your emotions, how you feel, and how you let others "make" you feel. With knowledge comes power, so with the power to control your own emotions you can basically keep tabs on your emotional capacity and do your best to keep it below the boiling point. I know it's hard to control how you feel, so you should allow yourself to feel whatever you feel whenever you feel it, but be willing to let things go if they are harmful or unnecessary.

Letting go is hard, and sometimes it feels like we are giving up, but your well being should come before your pride EVERY TIME! Let me give you an example:

Once I had plans to get dinner with a friend of mine after I got off work. As soon as my shift ended, I went over to the restaurant, got a table, and waited. I told the waiter I wouldn't order until she arrived so I just sat at the table alone for a good half hour. My phone died and I wasn't able to contact her so I used a coworkers phone to call her and it went straight to voicemail—her phone was dead too. After about an hour of waiting, I'd lost faith and ordered my food to go. As soon as I paid for my food and was walking out, she breathlessly came running through the door. She, almost tearfully, explained to me that she took a nap, but set an alarm to wake herself up in time for dinner—however, her phone died so her alarm didn't go off.

If this were a movie, I would've been mad and it would've tested our friendship in some incredibly dramatic way. But, to be quite honest, I didn't want that unnecessary anger. Even though I could've been mad, there was no reason to be because what happened wasn't her fault and she had no malicious intent. So I made the choice not to be angry, and my emotional capacity still had plenty of room for emotions that were necessary.

I'm not trying to downplay anyone's feelings, if you feel something then it is a valid feeling, but that doesn't mean it is something you need to feel. Being angry at my friend for something out of her control was completely pointless so, even though I was angry at first when she stood me up, I quickly let that needless emotion go when she explained the situation.

Along with deciding what emotions are not important, you must be able to discern which are. Feelings you have to really think about typically include anger, sadness, and everything related (always let yourself feel whatever happiness comes into your life—you deserve it). You should allow yourself to feel sad for a healthy amount of time, but you still need to know when to let that sadness go—you need to let it go when it is no longer useful or necessary. You cannot grow from sadness or anger, only from how you overcame the situations that caused those emotions.

If you pay attention to nothing else in this article, know this: your emotions are valid

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Some Thoughts On Therapy

Almost everyone I know at college is grappling with some sort of mental illness, whether it's depression, anxiety, or just the overwhelming feeling of stress and paranoia that convinces you, that you have both. Needless to say, it's rather talked about an issue that infiltrated high schools and colleges across the world. The question is how do we prevent or solve these mental problems?

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As a teenager, people didn't really seem to know what to say when you said you were depressed. Instead, a look of confusion, come across parents faces and the immediate answer is almost always therapy. Now I have a bittersweet relationship with therapy. I do think it's effective, but I think it also is overrated and overhyped to those who are uneducated about the power of vulnerability and how crippling loneliness can be.

Therapy makes sense for people who are depressed because they mostly feel lonely, so if they have a non-flaky person that they can count on, of course, they are going to like going. It gives them a sense of stability. Talking about anything you are going through, is going to help no matter what. In my opinion, the only difference between talking to a friend and a therapist is the objective/non-judgmental opinion. You can be completely open with someone and know that they won't judge you or look at you differently, which sometimes can make all the difference.

I did see a therapist for a number of months, after my parent's divorce. I loved the woman I went to see, and I always felt better, mentally, like I wasn't carrying around so much on my shoulders, after talking about my problems. However, I had so many questions going into therapy, and I was always looked for a simple solution, instead, every time I got more questions. It was incredibly frustrating. I also found the experience quite mundane.

Although money isn't exactly a problem for my family, I was outraged at the cost of going to see someone and paying for it. My mom loves therapy and has continued to go, ever since she split with my dad. The fact that I was forced into it, might explain my opposition to it. One thing you should know about me is I am incredibly perceptive about human emotions (not to toot my own horn) and so almost every time the therapist spoke I was speaking the same words in my head or out loud (oops).

So, I didn't get much out of the experience, other than just getting a few things off my chest. I had countless long talks with my mom about life, the future, how to deal with feelings, and moving on. For this reason, my mom has always told me to become a therapist, that it is my calling. However, I can't see myself promoting something, that I don't fully support myself.

I want to make it clear, I am not discouraging therapy as a whole, just that sometimes it takes the right person (therapist) to make it work and also you need to be patient and open to the experience. If you don't feel comfortable being vulnerable, you may as well not even bother with it.

I could see myself, giving it another shot. A lot of my friends see a therapist, in college and say its helped them with a lot, in terms of dealing with self-confidence and eating disorders, which is one of the biggest problems for most girls on college campuses.

I believe that therapy will be around for a long time because you can't underestimate the power of human connection and relationships. People will continue to go to therapy if they feel a connection with that person because that is where most joy in life comes from. It comes from relationships and the feeling of having someone listen no matter what. If we talk to friends nowadays, people have difficulty listening because they are busy with their own lives, and therefore you never get a potential solution to something you are going through. Hence, people search for other ways to feel whole or appreciated, aka therapy.

These are my thoughts and I hope you enjoy and give therapy a try one day, just for kicks and giggles. It might work wonders. Hell, what do I know anyway?

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