Every so often I notice a theme emerging in my psychotherapy practice. As of recently, the emergent theme has been with women and questions have come up about how essential oils may be of help, since I am always diffusing Young Living Essential Oils * in my office.
“I am blessed with a great family and great friends, my health is good, my life is generally stable and there are many good things in my life…but I can’t get out from under this depression and (or) anxiety. Some bad things have happened in my past and I have worked on some of those things, but now, I “should” be happy, but I don’t feel happy. In fact, I can’t seem to feel joy.”
Same Old Patterns
Sometimes when we can’t let go of the past or feel like it won’t let go of us it can be related to what is going on the the present. Without being aware, there could be current issues with a parent or a spouse or children, that are triggering old or never let go of thought patterns. It is not necessarily an indication of a negative current relationship with mom or husband, etc., but more an issue of discovery about what is triggering you and learning new ways of tackling it.
We tend to connect with people, who may later become our spouse, that replicate the same emotional patterns as significant early relationships. We also sometimes, inadvertently replicate parent-child dynamics with our own children, even when we made a commitment to not do so. In this case, the right therapist is often needed to help navigate new patterns, because, in the case of old dynamics being triggered with a spouse, it is quite possible that they also may be repeating patterns from their earlier life.
Now is Different from Then
When there is no need for symptoms, symptoms will cease to exist, UNLESS, we are living in “automatic mode” rather than in awareness. For example, when you were a child and felt like you had no voice, you may have truly HAD NO VOICE. Children in many instance; 1. don’t have the vocabulary and/or insight to express their experience, and 2. may not have been expected to voice their feelings or experiences. This may be the case with a “love relationship” in later teen years or early 20s. In a controlling, emotionally abusive relationship, you may have felt like you had no voice, and you actually may have had no voice, because your boyfriend couldn’t tolerate you having a voice. This leads to now, you feel like you have no voice. But when I stop and check it out, or feel it out with your husband, you see that not only you do have a voice, but he wants to hear your voice.
When things from the past are being triggered, you don’t have to “white knuckle it” and be consumed by the bad feelings. Let’s say you made a poor decision, or many poor decisions, or a huge poor decision. If you in fact know that you have worked on this issue, and even prayed about it, and even believed that the Lord has done a work in you with it, you can remind yourself that you already reconciled that one. Reconciling it doesn’t mean you forgot about it or it was erased from your memory. Thanks be to God if He did remove it from you completely. I believe He can do that! But that’s not the story for most of us. The memory or feeling will resurface and when it does we need to remind ourselves of the victory that we already had over it and give thanks for that! Aromatherapy can have an amazing impact on us, both positive and negative. A scent can immediately bring back a feeling from the past and all of the emotions that went with that feeling. However, it can also help build a new experience. As you are siting in a quiet place, contemplating and giving thanks for what you have already accomplished in this area, you can bring a lovely new scent to the experience and build a new experience, whereby the next time you feel defeated, you can bring out the scent, place a drop on your palms, rub your hands together, cup your hands in front of your face and inhale.
You Are Adored*
Not many people know what I went through in my past. Even though I am a psychotherapist and look like I have it all together, the same thing happens to me and I have to do these things also. We could have a big discussion about Satan here and talk about how Satan wants to bring us down with our past. I don’t think of it that way. I think of it more like, God wants us to love and adore Him and He wants us to receive all of the gifts that He has for us. Even if you don’t feel that you are adored by someone, know that God Adores you. I do not believe He wants us to give our attention to a battle with Satan.
A New Therapy Experience
Maybe you have had a positive relationship and made progress with a therapist in the past. Sometimes things have to come together in the right way for this to occur – timing, readiness, circumstances, current relationships, etc. Sometimes we need to do a piece of therapy and then just live. When we go back at a later time we can do another piece of the work. Maybe it’s time to interview a couple of therapists or get some referrals from someone you trust.
Taking Care of Me
Are you at a point in your life that you can really take care of yourself – set aside time to plan your menu, carve out a quiet time each day, make time to walk or any other exercise that you like, etc. Is your “me time” consumed by surfing the web or checking all of your social media feeds? Can you match the time you spend on these activities with time devoted to “calm” and “peace.” Can you match digital time, which is “static” in the brain with peaceful activities? I find it interesting that when I ask a person to spend 7 minutes, twice per day doing an uninterupted focus, such as being in a quite room, without distractions and maybe a recording of a stream or birds, 9x out of 10 they come back and say they didn’t do it. SEVEN MINUTES!
As for the essential oils*, you could experiment with a lovely scent in your “me time.” When you sense a panic attack coming on or are feeling down, I would take the opportunity to place a drop of my favorite oil (or change it up between a couple of nice scents) in my palm and breath deeply. This way, you will “support your feelings of well-being,” and know that you can take steps to care for yourself and have positive results. I love the oils for associating new emotions to old experiences.
*Disclaimer #1 – In addition to being an LMHC, I personally use essential oils and I am an Independent Distributor of Young Living Essential Oils. This post is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease or illness and it is not intended to solicit Young Living Essential Oil sales.
*Disclaimer #2 – In addition to being an LMHC, I am a Christian. “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. ~Romans 10:9. This post is not intended to make any claim that any person should believe as I believe.