At a time in my life I was feeling really depressed. I worked, went home and watched tv or got drunk —or did both at the same time. After a while, I asked myself, who the fuck am I? I had no idea who I was, no identity. I watched other people around me get married, have families, advanced degrees all the while I felt stuck and didn’t know what to do.
I knew I needed to change. I started working out and focusing on eating healthy. I felt better for a while but eventually, while fitness became a part of my life, I went back to feeling like shit mentally and emotionally. I was more fit but still sleeping a lot and drinking a lot. Bad relationships. Obsessing over why guys didn’t call me back. Why I was having trouble making friends. I was lost. I would rely on friends to give me advice and I didn’t trust my own intuition. I was confused and I allowed others to direct my life as if I was a robot.
All the while my career was going great. I became a workaholic and continued on this way for a few years until something finally snapped. I can’t remember exactly what it was. I am pretty sure it was a culmination of days of not being able to get out of bed combined with days of watching tv for 10 hours straight, to days at work where I just wanted to walk out. After fighting it for years, I decided to go to therapy.
At first therapy didn’t feel like it was working. I just wanted answers and quick fixes and was I impatient. Very impatient. It was uncovered that I had c-ptsd from decades of childhood abuse, the memories of which I repressed. I was depressed, anxious, codependent and didn’t trust myself. Ouch.
Since in childhood having emotions or any kind of emotional response would result in a negative response such as punishment or mocking, I learned to ignore my emotions and to intellectualized everything. As an adult I wasn’t sure what emotions really were. When I felt something, I ignored my feelings. They would compound until I finally couldn’t take it anymore and would either be very angry or very upset.
An avid reader, I began reading and researching psychology and the psychological terms that I was hearing in therapy. I was introduced to new books in the current ones I was reading and by forums and other things I found online. I read books that have changed my life. I’ve read books that have made me feel less alone in the world. And books that had me crying in joy and in sadness. Most importantly, I read books that made me realize there isn’t anything so wrong with me after all.
I found who I am. I found my identity, I found my voice. I learned what feelings were, what it felt like to feel them and what it felt like to discuss them with others. I learned that people aren’t so bad and are typically they’re very caring and compassionate. I learned I am compassionate and sometimes too caring. I stopped escaping by drinking and watching tv and this site is a result of my success with EQ.
A therapist once told me that I excelled very quickly, I had people around me tell me I’ve changed and seem different “but in a good way,” and I’ve had others tell me I am evolving.
I credit my success and ability to overcome my obstacles with identifying and learning what was happening around and within me. By building, what I didn’t know at the time was called, my EQ. By labeling and naming feelings and understanding why people do things (eg: abusive distorted reality) I gained clarity and freedom. I feel confident in who I am. I feel more confident in my place in the world and when I make a mistake I have the self-compassion to not be too hard on myself and to move forward. This is where EQdicition was born.
Learning the vocabulary was a great start but I also needed to incorporate these concepts into my life. To do this I used advice found in books and I also started to created activities that helped me. It was a lot of trial and error! This is where EQactive was formed.
I credit my ability to work though traumatic experiences such as brain surgery, a murder attempt, a childhood and adolescence filled with torment and abuse by improving my EQ. People talk about how EQ is good in business but I believe it is imperative in every aspect of life. Improving my EQ saved my life.
Featured Image Credit: Sharon Pittaway