A remedy for each and all emotions
Over the past few years of challenging times, I have seen a growing number of people in clinic who are struggling emotionally. Each of us have been pushed to our limits in countless ways and the resulting spectrum of emotions have been difficult for us to deal with in ourselves and support in others, such as our families and friends.
Homeopathy has helped a number of my clients and supported them along a path of moving through their emotions, acknowledging, accepting and healing them along the way. I will look at a few of these remedies later, but for now, let’s look at what distress is and how this can be identified and supported.
When someone has something bad happen to them, they each need something different to make them feel better, and this may differ at different times. As an example, some will require empathy, problem-solving, optimism, distraction, and so on.
It is generally thought that there are four states that a person may be in when something bad happens, and that knowing which of these states they are in can help us figure out how to support them.
When something bad happens to you, at first you may not understand what’s happening. Then you may feel bad but not ready to let go of the emotions. Moving on, you may be ready to start feeling better, and finally, you may want help with working through the emotions.
With these different stages of emotions, if you try to comfort someone and it makes them worse, it’s because you are offering help when they are at a different stage of the process.
For example, trying to cheer someone up when the person is still in a stage where they do not want to feel better, or offering advice when they are still too upset to hear it.
So, what are the 4 States of Distress?
State 1: Shocked or confused
When something negative and unexpected occurs, we may need time to understand what actually happened and how we feel about it. A friend can help by talking through what happened so the person can better understand how they feel about it.
At this stage the most common emotions are: shock, confusion, surprise, fear, dread and denial
The most helpful things to do are:
· Active listening and helping to resolve any confusion
· Express concern and validate their confusion and feelings
· Reflecting back to them your understanding of what they have said
State 2: Feeling bad and not ready to feel better
It’s OK to want to feel strong negative emotions. For example, if someone we love dies, we will want to be sad about it for some period of time as part of the healing process. Or if we are betrayed, we may well want to stay angry at the person for a while because we feel that anger is warranted. If you know someone in this state, you can help them express their feelings and feel validated.
At this stage the most common emotions are: intense forms of sadness, depression, anxiety, anger, contempt, guilt and jealousy
Helpful things to do are:
· Active listening and validate their emotions
· Reflecting back to them your understanding of what they have said
· Help them get into a mindset where they are ready to feel better
State 3: Feeling bad but wants to feel better
At some point we are become bored of the negative feelings and want to feel better again. At this point, a friend can help alleviate those negative feelings.
If you know someone in this state, you can definitely help them feel better!
The most common emotions at this stage are: intense to moderate forms of sadness, depression, anxiety, anger, contempt, guilt, jealousy
At this stage, people can feel comforted by many different things:
· Being optimistic and seeing things in a less negative light
· Physical comforting (e.g., a hug or some ice cream!)
· Validating their emotions
· Distraction (e.g., doing a fun activity)
· Helping them explore and understand their feelings
· Problem-solving (especially if there is a way to quickly fix the problem)
Everyone is different in how they like to be comforted. Not everyone wants a hug and ice cream. Sometimes the best thing to do is to ask someone what they need to feel better.
State 4: Feeling better and want solutions
When we’re feeling intense emotions, it’s often both difficult to problem-solve. Once we start to feel better, however, we feel more motivated to find a way to improve our situation. Friends are great at this point in helping us think through potential solutions or by volunteering to help. This is the stage you can help someone move forward past the problem.
Emotions at this stage are: more manageable or minor forms of sadness, depression, anxiety, anger, contempt, guilt, or jealousy
Depending on the person, things that may help at this stage are:
· Brainstorming solutions
· Problem solving
· Offer your time to help with the solution
So, the next time a friend or loved one has had something bad happen to them,
consider which of the four states they are likely in and how you could help:
1. Shocked or confused – you can help them figure out what happened and how they are feeling
2. Feeling bad and not ready to feel better – you can listen empathetically and validate their feelings
3. Feeling bad but wants to feel better – you can help them feel better using their preferred comfort method
4. Feeling better and wants solutions – you can help them figure out what to do
There are many remedies that can help support people too.
Trauma comes in many forms and many stages, so consider the following to help move through the 4 stages mentioned above.
Ignatia: The number one remedy when a person’s acute response to grief is to weep. The keynote is that the weeping comes in bursts that the person will try and control. You might see only tears in the eyes. A person in the Ignatia state feels shattered inside from disappointment, disappointed love, fright or bad news.
Nat Mur: When the person’s response is irritable outbursts over small things, this would be a good remedy. These people won’t cry in front of others or maybe feel like they would like to cry but can’t as they need to be alone to cry as they are very private. There can be deep sadness extending into a depressed state. They may feel betrayed, alone and need some nurturing, but won’t let on that they feel like this. They might have difficulty going to sleep as they tend to mull over past events and conversations at night while in bed.
Aconite: Is very good for sudden fright and strong emotions. If you find yourself trembling after an emotional conversation with someone, Aconite will bring you back to a balanced place quite quickly. It has great fear, anxiety and worry and will alleviate the instant response of intense fear.
Stramonium: If someone has been affected by violence or robbery and have been traumatised afterwards. They may be fearful of the violent event happening again and may not want to leave the house. They will not want to be alone and may have difficulty sleeping due to their fear of the dark and nightmares.
Pulsatilla: A great remedy for children suffer the feeling of abandonment. Their anxiety can show as becoming clingy and tearful easily, perhaps when they are left at school in the morning. They will want their mother’s attention at all times!
Arsenicum: This remedy is for people who are extremely anxious and restless, even in bed and have difficulty staying asleep. They often get up to watch television or read a book and may be frightened about robbers breaking into the house. They can be frightened of dying, poverty, their health, and dislike being alone. To compensate for their fears, they can become very controlling of their environment, trying to keep it in order.