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Discovering mental health through taming emotional wakes.

One of my most profound insights during my 2021 mental health journey was my discovery of “emotional wakes.” I will provide a few bullets for the context of what I mean by the term.

Understanding how emotional wakes occur:

Emotional wakes can result in intrapersonal and interpersonal emotional disruption.

Emotional interpersonal wakes disruption result from overreacting to perceived stressors from an interaction with another person. Gaps in coping skills to deal with perceived threats are the root cause. How interpersonal wakes occur:

  • You experience a negative interpersonal interaction (e.g., your partner suddenly says they don’t trust you).
  • Because of a skills gap in regulating emotions, an automatic thought is fired off to escape unpleasant emotions (e.g., rejection) triggered by the comment.
  • Without adaptive coping skills, your unconscious ego steps in to protect and win. Your ego never considers others’ emotions, only yours.
  • The impairment for mental illness is constantly living in unpleasant emotions that unfortunately drive interpersonal disruption.
  • Though we may think the challenge is outside, the cure begins with looking inside, which I explain in more detail below.

Perceived expectations are a challenge for a professional person living with a mental illness: “They should be able to ….” There will be a disappointment when there is a gap between reality and expectations.

All the best – Dr. Bill Howatt

Dr. Bill's Memo - Chapter 2

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