Erin E. McEndree
Adoption Trifecta: Emotional Health
Where do you dwell on the adoption trifecta? I'm not asking if you are an adoptive parent, an adoptee or a birth mother. I'm asking you where you dwell emotionally? Avoidance? Numbness? Anxiety? Helplessness? Depression? Acceptance? Readjustment? Hope?
So many times we think if we just avoid a situation or person it will go away, but the opposite is true. It festers. It grows bigger. The coping skills needed are exponentially greater. I believe we think it is easier to just deny the situation instead of face it head on so we do nothing. We don't make any decision at all and so we become stagnant. Being stagnant leads to inability to think of feel.
Pushing away feelings over and over creates a lack of ability to have emotions. It is like cauterizing a wound. This technique seals a wound by burning it or freezing it, but in the process it damages the nerves around the injury making it less sensitive to emotions. At some point, if not dealt with in a healthy way, the wound opens and is worse off than before which causes panic.
This fear is real. It causes shortness of breath, restlessness and a feeling of dread. I believe it can be diminished and headed off with a good strategy. Many people who have anxiety don't have the tools or intentionally use the coping skills in place to curb the emotion or keep them safe until they pass when their values get triggered with opposition to their beliefs.
When they think they have done all they can, and nothing seems to change, despair and isolation seem to take over. You might have a good support system, but your mind has already determined a struggle will occur so disinterest your moods.
Sinking deeper into isolation is the cause of hopelessness. And, if you don't seek, find and accept hope, you will become a walking, empty shell with no purpose or aim for your life. The only hope is to let go of what has you in bondage.
Breaking free from your past is a good step towards healing. Acceptance does not mean that what others did is okay. It means you are not going to allow the past to dictate your future. It is intentionally seeing a new direction and refocusing on what is true, right, pure, lovely and admirable. Acceptance can only occur for the willing.
I've known people who accept their past situations, family decisions, choices and consequences, but never their attitude or outlook. Instead of using their experience to educate others and help increase supporters, they use their circumstance to fuel negativity, one sided perspectives and misinformation. But those who can change their focus on a new purpose with other supporters, begin to develop what they have lost: hope, confidence and peace.
Hope helps us look outside ourselves to gain peace and relief. The need for superficial affirmation is diminished and worth from a higher source rests on the mind and heart. Hope helps you see others in a different way and helping others creates a feeling of worth and purpose.
Where are you in your adoption journey? I'd love to hear some stories.