Emotions and Frustrations:
For some time I have been wanting to do a post about chronic illness and emotions. I started doing it once a while back but was not happy with how it came out. However, emotional ups and downs and their reactions have been so much worse for me lately that I’d like to try to deal with the subject a little bit.
To start out with, here are some definitions
Emotion is of the mind alone, being the excited action of some inward susceptibility or feeling; as, an emotion of pity, terror, etc. “Agitation may be bodily or mental, and usually arises in the latter case from a vehement struggle between contending desires or emotions… emotions vary with the objects that awaken them. There are emotions either of tenderness or anger, either gentle or strong, either painful or pleasing." Crabb.
~Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, 1913
“To bring to nothing; to prevent from attaining a purpose; to disappoint; to defeat; to baffle; as, to frustrate a plan, design, or attempt; to frustrate the will or purpose.”
~Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, 1913
Below is a very good description of frustration
“In psychology, frustration is a common emotional response to opposition. Related to anger, annoyance and disappointment, frustration arises from the perceived resistance to the fulfillment of an individual's will or goal and is likely to increase when a will or goal is denied or blocked. There are two types of frustration; internal and external. Internal frustration may arise from challenges in fulfilling personal goals, desires, instinctual drives and needs, or dealing with perceived deficiencies, such as a lack of confidence or fear of social situations. Conflict, such as when one has competing goals that interfere with one another, can also be an internal source of frustration and can create cognitive dissonance. External causes of frustration involve conditions outside an individual's control, such as a physical roadblock, a difficult task, or the perception of wasting time. There are multiple ways individuals cope with frustration such as passive–aggressive behavior, anger, or violence, although frustration may also propel positive processes via enhanced effort and strive. This broad range of potential outcomes makes it difficult to identify the original cause(s) of frustration, as the responses may be indirect. However, a more direct and common response is a propensity towards aggression.
“Frustration originates from feelings of uncertainty and insecurity which stems from a sense of inability to fulfill needs. If the needs [or perceived needs] of an individual are blocked, uneasiness and frustration are more likely to occur. When these needs are constantly ignored or unsatisfied, anger, depression, loss of self-confidence, annoyance, aggression, and sometimes violence are likely to follow. Needs can be blocked two different ways; internally and externally. Internal blocking happens within an individual's mind, either through lack of ability, confidence, conflicting goals and desires, and/or fears. External blocking happens to an individual outside their control such as physical roadblocks, difficult tasks, or perceived waste of time.”
Emotions and frustrations are common and an emotional response to frustration can create some real problems. For example, a situation may excite or concern me and I talk animatedly about it to someone else. Other than passively acknowledging what I said, they make no other response. I do not understand why the other person is not excited about it or why they are not concerned about it. Why does it seem like no big deal to them? So, I continue to talk about it and pursue it from different angles even if there is no response from the other party(ies). My thinking, “Come on. Let’s look at this from all the different angles and consider all the possible scenarios and see if a plan of action or a resolution can be brought up. If something can be done about it, why do nothing?” Meanwhile, the other party(ies) is no longer interested in the subject. This is very frustrating to both of us. I become agitated, and they become irritated.
Now, there could be several causes for the way my emotions and frustrations have made me carried away.
1. My personality.
That is part of the problem. Although, I don’t consider myself the most logical person, my personality is such that, “if there is a problem, let us take some action to fix it.” When others do not take action, I wonder “What is wrong with them? Why do they think this is not important?” Or they think I am arguing with them when really I want to see things from every different angle to make the best approach toward the problem. Though I don’t have an extremely logical mind, I do have an analytical mind. But it takes me a while to break the problem down and work it all through.
2. My physical condition
My hormones – I know from testing that some of my hormones are out of balance
My cortisol levels – these were only tested once but were high. It would be a good idea to test them again. But all the symptoms of high cortisol levels are there. This would explain the constant feeling of being on edge and of being ready to “pop” and of having a constant sense of “urgency” about matters. I am like a rubber band stretched and ready to break or be let go any second.
My food allergies/digestive situation. This can lead to reactions that make me feel bad or ups and downs in my nutritional level that can play tricks with my emotions as well.
3. My mental and emotional condition – though emotional, I’m not able to “feel” as I would like and to express these emotions in a constructive way, thus leading to further frustration.
4. My spiritual state
When a person’s mind and emotions are affected by their health, the Devil takes full advantage of this and uses that opportunity to make an onslaught. It is important to be aware of this and to be able to discern reality from the thoughts the Devil puts into the mind and the things that he stirs up in the mind and emotions. When it is the Devil who is at work, there is armor prepared for that. (See Ephesians 6:10-18)
Let us take a brief look at each of these.
According to Women’s Health Network, when certain hormones are not in balance, “many women experience extreme anger, snappiness and fits of rage… they are often scared by how venomous their reactions can be.” An interesting note is that the writers at the Women’s Health Network believe that this is a woman’s “true feelings” that have been hidden and are now allowed to surface. That is a scary thought. Is my heart really full of anger, fear, and frustration? They believe that anger can be controlled and put in its rightful place and have provided some helpful suggestions for doing so.
2. High cortisol levels
High cortisol levels can lead to some symptoms that significantly impact a person’s life and well being.
a. Lack of sleep
It is normal for cortisol levels to drop at night. However, if they are too high, a person may not be able to sleep or may sleep and wake up not feeling rested. Lack of sleep can contribute to more stress and higher cortisol levels. Thus a vicious cycle is formed.
b. Weight gain, especially around the abdomen
Weight gain continues despite any efforts to lose weight.
c. Susceptibility to colds or other infections
Although this is not a significant problem for me at the moment, I do have chronic problems with my teeth, and I wonder if any infections or inflammation from the teeth contribute to an elevation of cortisol levels.
d. Craving for unhealthy foods or sweets
Increase in cortisol levels can cause increase in blood sugar. I have tested mine periodically but find that it only goes up when I am reacting to a food. Can a reaction also contribute to an increase in cortisol levels?
e. Backaches and Headaches
This is caused by adrenal stress and irritation to nerves in the brain
f. Gastrointestinal problems –
Heart burn, nausea, abdominal cramps, diarrhea or constipation
g. Jitters or anxiousness
Even paranoia or panic
Could this be a reason why some individuals have panic attacks?
h. Feeling blue
High cortisol levels reduce the levels of serotonin, which is the “feel good” hormone
i. Imbalanced hormones
High cortisol levels can cause imbalance of other hormones, compounding the problems
3. Food allergies and sensitivities
I have multiple food allergies and sensitivities. This can lead to the digestive system not operating correctly. It can also lead to more hormonal problems and other imbalances. Although most of my nutrients test “normal” via blood test, normal amounts in the blood do not mean that the body’s cells are making proper use of them. It just means there is enough of them in my system, but it does not tell how my system is using them. Some nutrients did test low, such as Vitamin D.
The reactions to foods can cause a variety of symptoms – mood swings, digestive issues, fatigue, and more. These things also contribute to the emotional swings and tensions and no doubt to the hormone and cortisol problems as well.
Mental and Spiritual Health
Finally, let us take a look at the mental and spiritual health
Although physical factors and personality contribute significantly to the mental and emotional state, it is important to look at the spiritual state as well. Remember that the Women’s Health Network indicated that what comes out when the woman is stressed and under the influence of her hormonal ups and downs and mood swings is her “true feelings.” That is, it is what is really inside of her. Wow! If that is true, then I need to take a look at my heart. What is really inside of my heart? Is there really fear, anger, and frustration there? If so, they need to be rooted out. But, not only do they need to be rooted out, something better needs to be planted in their place so that there is no room for new seeds to sprout and take root.
To work on these emotional ups and downs and mood swings and frustrations, I will consider some of the ideas on the Women’s Health Network and see if/how they can be applied Biblically. Here are some ideas -- based on their thoughts, but they are my own ideas from a spiritual and Biblical perspective..
1. Manage the moment
If anger, excitement, or frustration pops up,
Why is this happening? Is anyone else upset? If not, is it really worth getting upset about? Why am I upset about it?
Stop your thoughts
Replace them with right thoughts
2. Physically remove myself from the situation if possible
3. Allow Christ to take control and to “overcome” me so that it is His reaction that shows, not mine
4. Take measures necessary to treat what is going on in brain, mind, and body – allergy remedies, or whatever helps
5. Make a “mad” diary or a “nervous” or “high tension” diary to track “the moments”
Believe it or not, sometimes when a person is experiencing “the moment,” especially if it is a woman experiencing “the moment,” that person may not recognize that they are having “the moment.” They may not even recognize it until later.
So here is an idea. Make a diary
What triggered “the moment”?
That time of the month?
Reaction to a food?
Certain circumstances (does it always happen when certain types of circumstances occur)?
When my own ideas are challenged? Why does this bother me sometimes but not bother me at all other times?
Are there certain symptoms or feelings that precede “the moment”? How can I recognize these in order to do something before “the moment” occurs?
In light of the diary, make a plan of action for when “the moment” is recognized and be prepared with the necessary tools to carry out the action.
5. Release the emotion, fear, anger, or frustration or tension
Tell it to God. He knows all about it anyway
Take time to hide in God. “1He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. 3Surely he shall deliver thee….” (Psalm 91:1-3a)
Cast the care on God and let Him deal with the matter; He is more powerful than me anyway. “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” (I Peter 5:7)
6. Take action if possible
Is there an action I can take? If so, do it now. If not, let it go.
a. Fill the heart and mind with Scripture and good music.
b. Lift high the cross. A Satanist got saved, and after his salvation, he said that when you put the cross before the Devil, the Devil becomes as weak as a newborn baby. That does not mean the Devil’s power is diminished, but he has no power in comparison with Christ; and Christ’s work on the cross won the victory over the Devil. The cross is where the Savior crushed the Devil’s head and made a show of the powers and principalities openly. Satan fears the cross, and it is the place of victory for the child of God.
c. Do another activity – an enjoyable or soothing one; if the opportunity to do this is available, make full use of it; do activities to take time to relax in order to reduce cortisol levels
7. Ask for help
Share the problem with someone else.
Ask them to please try to understand.
Ask them to help you to be able to manage the problem – to recognize “the moment,” try to understand how you are thinking, consider what the cause might be, help with a remedy or measures to control the problem.
8. Put the emotional swings, fear, frustration, or anger in their place – at the foot of the cross, where they can be overcome by Jesus and buried and put away.
Some information and helpful tips have been taken from the Women's Health Network site.
Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read this. I hope this article has been a help to someone – someone who is dealing with these issues; or someone who is helping another individual who is dealing with these issues. God bless!