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Sol the Mighty
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06 Jun 2022, 1:29 pm

Does anyone else have trouble regulating emotions? I almost can't regulate them at all.
My moods can switch so fast and from very little, but they can stay for hours at a time, especially bad ones. Today, I was wearing headphones and my mom told me to take them off. I got mad before I realized what I was doing, and that ended up in an argument where I got to experience the mad/sad combo. I still feel bad and it happened almost two hours ago.
I wanted to cry but at the same time I kept picturing breaking something or throwing it against a wall. I eventually just went out on my back porch to break down cardboard boxes we had. It helped take the edge off, but I'm still upset.
I want to apologize, but at the same time I don't even know why I got so mad. Maybe I'm peopled out from this past week, but what worth is an apology if it's probably going to happen again anyway?
When I'm happy, I'm happy. When I'm sad, I'm sad. And when I'm angry, I'm angry. I also tend to mirror other people. If they're happy, so am I. If they're sad, I am too. And especially if they're mad, I'm mad too.
Emotions just feel really big and all encompassing and I don't know how to curb them or just stop and figure out what they are for a second before they come out.
Does anybody have any tips or things I could try? I'm just... really at a loss here.



SharonB
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06 Jun 2022, 6:17 pm

I completely relate. I like what you did with the boxes. In lieu of apologizing, you could thank the person. "I know I reacted very strongly, thank you for...." My therapist advises I can also say "I'm working on it..."

Therapy and tools have helped me. I am just now teaching my big-feeling son (ADHD): you feel like you are always (or never)..., what's so is...." What comes to mind is acknowledging feelings as the other person's, calming tricks, EMDR, etc. For me I want to let my (rampant) Negative thoughts pass and settle on more productive or gentler thoughts. Self-compassion.



Sol the Mighty
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06 Jun 2022, 6:24 pm

I've never thought about thanking someone before. In this case, I could say "Thank you for giving me some space." We're fine now, and I feel a lot less upset, but I definitely want to bring it up to my therapist.
I've done a lot with curbing my anxiety, and have been pretty successful, now it's anger's turn.
But I was able to tell my mom that my emotions feel really big in a way she could understand for the first time, so I hope that can work as a good jumping off point. And I'll keep breaking down boxes if I get upset and try to think in more positive ways.
And calming tricks. Those sound good, because distraction and redirection works for anxiety, not so much for anger.



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06 Jun 2022, 8:28 pm

Mine is less to do with being intense (unlike my childhood, which does consists of mood swings and intense emotions more) and more to do with it controlling it me and my reactions. :x

I wish my mind is stronger and more reliable. I always do.


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skibum
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06 Jun 2022, 8:32 pm

You are completely exhausted. It's not possible to regulate emotions in such a state of exhaustion. Regulating emotions is not your issue. You need real, deep, neurological rest and recovery. Once you get that, your emotions will regulate themselves.


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06 Jun 2022, 10:13 pm

I generally feel some emotions far more intensely than others, albeit I don't show it; if I see something that upsets me, I'll hide it until I'm alone and can get it out (usually crying, but sometimes hitting myself), as I don't like showing upset to others in case it makes them upset, which in turn makes me feel worse. I don't really feel some emotions all that much either, like anger. Some are discombobulated, like fear, where I fear for others but don't care about myself.

I suppose if you do a search on Autism and emotional dysregulation you'll get a lot of hits.



Pepe
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06 Jun 2022, 10:22 pm

Sol the Mighty wrote:
Does anyone else have trouble regulating emotions?


The autistic community is: "Dysfunctional Emotion Regulation R Us." :mrgreen:

My suggestion is to cut down on stimulants such as caffeine.
It helped me big time. 8)


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07 Jun 2022, 6:35 am

being able to regulate your responses to your emotions can be learned. Part of the problem is to be able to identify the emotion before it "runs away" with you. Occupational therapists and some other kinds of therapists can help by giving you better self understanding and helping you learn to recognize the signs in your body that your emotions are building. If you are struggling with this all the time, it is OK to ask for help from others to learn new ways to make this distressing problem less or change it completely. New ideas and insights can come from professionals, sometimes our rigid thinking keeps us trapped in doing the same old things in the same old ways and we need new tools to use to live a better life. Therapists can often help with that. Best wishes


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08 Jun 2022, 2:15 pm

In my family, anyone suffering from emotions was just quarantined until they got over it. I also learned right away that my sister's feelings mattered, and I was not supposed to have any, presumably because I might get drafted or do other work that required suppression.
When I started to have emotions as an adult, they seemed like rare cosmic messages I should delve into. Emotions colour reality so much it feels like abandoning the truth to let one fade. I've had to learn to keep listening to the logic as well.
I was in a recovery group that used lists of about 50 emotions that we could use to help name our feelings. At first, the only sure way I knew that I was angry was when my speedometer was reading 10 higher than usual.
If you look for advice on how to deal with emotions and have yours respected, most of it will be good for women and hazardous for men.



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08 Jun 2022, 5:23 pm

I'm not so good with emotions. I do have alexithymia. I rarely know what I'm feeling. My way of knowing if I am feeling is by things like my heart rate, or reviewing the activities I have been doing...like, am I eating, am I pacing a lot, am I unable to sit still... I do understand angry. I know if I'm pissed off about something. Anger is easy for me. Amused, also easy. The rest? Eh..not so much. When I do get hit with emotion, it really messes me up. I'm not a fan of feeling feelings. It's very uncomfortable to me...makes me want to crawl out of my head, my skin. Overwhelming. Confusing. Crappy. Meh.

My way of dealing with feeling things? It depends. If I know that I am angry, I need to move my body. Physical activity is my friend there. I walk, run, exercise, do some yard work or housework...something to get me moving. I need to get the metaphorical grr out. That's not going to work if it's not angry though. That is important for me... different things work better for different feelings. It's a lot of trial and error for me since I rarely know what I'm feeling.

As for dealing with people, I try to communicate what's been going on with me when I have a handle on it. Until I get a handle on it, I try to distance myself from people so I don't lash out in their general direction. I also try to communicate with people why I am hiding. I find people are pretty receptive to it if I say, hey I'm not in a great headspace, so I'm going on hide mode...nothing personal, I just don't want to accidentally take my crap out on you. Nine times out of ten, the person asks if I need anything, and then tells me they hope I feel better soon. People can be surprisingly understanding if you give them some info.

^ That requires a basic handle on things before they explode though. I used to go from zero to a thousand and not know it was coming. For that I try to be mindful of things like my heart rate, actions and stuff I mentioned before...my tells, you know? I also try to do a lot of regular self care so I have a stable foundation to handle minor bumps in the road should they arise, and then I'm not losing my sh** over small things...because I'm prone to doing that without self care.

Eh, I have no idea if that made sense or I just rambled. Hope it made sense.



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08 Jun 2022, 5:28 pm

One thing I learned is that if I get angry at traffic in a car, it just builds up, but on a bike, the bike goes faster and burns off the adrenalin in a healthy way.



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09 Jun 2022, 6:19 am

No question that emotions are a problem. Figuring them out, for starters. :D I was in my 30s before I realized I was angry and recognized it in me.

Now I am more analytical about it. Basically there are two major catagories (for me.) One is things that are unrealistic. And these can be dismissed with rational analysis OR desensitization (voluntary.)

The other category is more troublesome - the actual real emotions that can tear a person apart. I learned a technique from a therapist (who taught me many useful tools and then proceeded to stalk and sexually abuse me, but that is another story.) The technique basically consists of being able to step outside ones self and take a look at the situation. From that vantage point, it is usually possible to dismantle a "negative" emtion through rational analysis OR by "taking care of" that feeling. That latter one actually came from different sources.

Using these tools I can usually manage even strong negatives within an hour to a couple of days. I did have an atypically strong emotional response lately which was surprising and knocked me for a loop. That took much longer to regain my equilibrium. But I have.

I am okay now.


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