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Of Emotional Ailments And How To Deal With Them

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In an earlier article, we discussed about how getting sick is a lose-lose situation for working professionals. If the sick days cut into the workweek, productivity is lost, backlogs pile up, and pay is reduced, for some employment arrangements. Getting physically sick, in short, is a pretty devastating situation. There's another kind of downtime that affects a good number of workers, especially those in their early 20's, when the hormones are still occupying a good part of one's judgment: Emotional Ailments.

Emotional sicknesses are far less easy to detect and more likely to be ignored. We live in a culture where tears are a sign of weakness, and any sign of that would not be tolerated. In highly competitive workplaces, being weak will only expose a person to jeers, humiliation, and even disqualification from promotions. In a world where politics plays a huge part in its dynamics, an emotionally hurting man or woman could carry the emotional gangrene to the point where it breaks them.

Even though the hurting person looks like they can handle it, when, deep inside, they're already crumbling, it may get to the point where they would need professional help. When your world crashes in on you, you'd need people to help you pick up the pieces from the rubble. Things would be better for the emotionally burdened worker if the workplace encourages space, sanity, and work-life balance. But for those whose workplaces barely care about how their workers are holding up emotionally, you, as the worker, would have to learn how to fend for yourself and even heal yourself.

So what's an emotionally bleeding girl (or guy) gotta do in order to pick themselves up?

  1. Find a good support group. If you have friends who will help you up in times of need, you're very fortunate indeed. If your family is close-knit, better. But if you have neither, maybe it's time to make new friends. Find a church that has discipleship groups made up of people who will genuinely see you to your wellness. Despite how you've been treated in the past, kind, compassionate people, true friends, actually exist. It's only a matter of time before you find them.
  2. Read up on resources that will address your problem. Do you have a problem with self-defeating thoughts? Do you wrestle with saying "NO"? Do you feel like life is treating you unfairly? There are books that would help you overcome these handicaps.
  3. Do something to make yourself feel better. And not to act like your mother, try skipping Red Horse nights for once. Instead of getting drunk and passing out in Makati or Libis, try staying home, get a Romantic Comedy movie, a pint or half gallon of ice cream, chocolates, and feel the misery in all its force. I find that wallowing for a moment is actually therapeutic. Then give yourself a maximum of 2 days to wallow, and by Monday, drink a Venti or two to shake it all off and get back to work. Giving yourself time to mourn allows you to honor your emotions and be able to let it go quicker, since you've finally acknowledged it.
  4. Remove yourself from the situation. Travel. If you're in the Visayas, go to Bora, Guimaras or Bohol. If you're in Manila, go to Tagaytay, Sagada, Ilocos or Baguio. Anything to remove yourself from the area where pressure is at its highest. Then when you get back, stare at the problem straight in the face and formulate steps to overcome it. Attack it the way you would a salad bar, or a complex project you're great at. As they say, the way to eat an elephant is by having it piece by piece.
  5. Get professional help. Sometimes, we really need other people to correct the way we think. So in case your troubles are already repetitive and cyclical, find a professional who can help you. Ateneo, La Salle and UP have licensed Clinical Psychologists who may be able to help you. Back to the Bible and The 700 Club may also have contacts to good Christian Psychologists.

As the book Boundaries states, you have a problem when you believe that your Boulders (of problems and issues) are just Daily Loads; just as you have a problem when you believe that you shouldn't have any Daily Load to carry (pp. 30-31). If life is giving you Boulders, don't hesitate to ask for and seek help. Find ways to ease these burdens, in order to ensure that life would be manageable for you.

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