I just google’d emotional regression. Among other links, I found this 5 mins. video with John Lee, where he talks about this psychological phenomenon happening to adult people. I had to google it, since I wasn’t all sure, whether that term actually exists or whether I had just made it up for myself. Anyway – it exists. And John Lee seems to be a big guy in self help, although I haven’t heard of him until now. To give you a general idea of my position on self help: I’ve read a couple of books in that category, where I thought them to be relevant to what issues I have and what I’m working on. But frankly speaking, many times I’ve found our own intuition – or mine at the very least… – tell us most of what’s really important to recover and become healthier and happier. The biggest problem I’ve had with that was not listening to what my heart already knew and tried to get my attention for. I don’t want to be unfair to Mr. Lee, as I have only watched this little video, but this seems to fall into the same category of “don’t I know it” 😉
But anyway – I’ve digressed before I started out properly… The reason why I even bothered to look up that term is this: I’m checking in to hospital tomorrow morning to get a throat surgery done (they might remove my left submandibular salivary gland or at least try to remove a stone from it.) While I am not too concerned with the surgery itsself – although there are some risks involved – I’m dreading the stay as such. Because it means revisiting early-on trauma, which I don’t think I’ve ever had a chance to really process in my adult life. So I became interested in why I felt this gloomy about a fairly minor surgery. And came across emotional regression, which seems to make sense in this context, although John Lee talks primarily about anger. From what little research I’ve done tonight, I am not all sure, whether the term is appliccable to other feelings as well. But let’s assume for now it was or let me borrow that term in other ways than just for referencing (old) feelings of anger. In that case the most intense emotional regression happened to me in 2009, when I experienced the so-far worst panic attack of my life! I have been having panic attacks probably forever ranging from mild to pretty intense/nightmarish, but the first conscious memory of one is from around age 9 or 10. This one however, had me hyperventilate so hard, I actually passed out, fell to the floor and got myself a minor concussion as well as a laceration of the chin. And I was taken to hospital to take care of the gaping wound in my face. When I woke up in the morning after maybe 2 or 3 hours of heavily interrupted sleep – despite medication and sedation – I felt like a four year old…. but was actually 44 years old at the time. It was probably the most profound feeling of helplessness and being disempowered I’ve ever had in my life.
Minor triggers of these feelings of helplessness happen every time I’m sick, major ones when the situation resembles the actual traumatizing events, like e.g. the need to undergo surgery. My point being? Much like John Lee maintains in his video, I don’t think any longer that certain very vital deprivation of basic needs can ever be overcome. We might learn to better deal with them by becoming aware when emotional regression is triggered, we might learn to minimize the feelings involved and “switch” to “mature mode” or something. But it is impossible for me to just go in there tomorrow and shrug all concerns off, figuratively speaking. Again, I am not as much concerned with the actual risks involved, the post-surgery drousiness or pain (although I expect it to be … not really minor). But the knowledge of having to “hand myself over” to people who really just care about the money they’re making from me… is not a pleasant place to be. I wish it was already behind me. And I hope to God, I’m not going to end up in hospital when I’m old and facing death…. because this will be such a horrible state of mind, I’m positively going to go crazy – if I haven’t already until then….
I’m going to need a lot of strength and mind control tomorrow and the coming days. Ugh… Wanna trade your problems? 😉