Posted by: Leah | February 7, 2013

How are you feeling, Leah?

Since Facebook has changed its interface once again, I find it funny that one of the questions they ask in heir status interface is: How are you feeling, Leah?

Little do they know that this is the question I can answer any time of a day with a scary precision in describing my feelings.

Here is the story: growing up as a teenager, I lived in a rough ghetto-like neighbourhood with fights, gangs, alcohol, drugs, sex and rock’n’roll. Well, maybe not rock’n’roll. As I hit puberty, as pretty much anyone in my school, I started to show a pretty aggressive behaviour, not because I was violent and aggressive by nature, but mostly because I had no idea how to express my feelings. As I was from a good family and a good student, the last thing in the world my teachers wanted is me expressing this kind of behaviour and going down that road so many of my classmates went – fights, fights, police and other crazy stuff.

I was referred for counselling. My counselor was a university student Veronika, who was pretty damn serious about her assignment. When I first saw her, I was explained that I was to keep a diary, where I was to write an entry a day about my feelings and emotions. I was to identify situations that made me angry and figure what exactly triggered me. I was to remove myself from those situations and do something that made me happy. I was to describe my feelings with details, not just I was happy, or I was sad.

Easier to say than do. Especially for a 13 y.o. Do I need to say that I hated Veronika, that stupid diary and counselling?

The first couple of months our weekly sessions were like that:

Veronika: read out your diary Leah, please.

Leah: That day sucked, I was angry.

Veronika: Not good enough. Let’s go back to that day and think what exactly made you angry. Now write it down here.

Leah: I hate this stuff!!!!!!!!!

But, by month 3, I got into it and was getting better and better at it. By the end of that academic year, I was able to control my behaviour and was terrifying my parents with phrases like that: Mom, when you said I am not allowed to go out, I started to feel very frustrated and disappointed. I was looking forward to that. Let’s discuss what we can do.

Now, it was my parents’ turn to hate that stuff!

I should say that that experience was a blessing. Not only I did not go down that aggression and violence road, but up until this very moment  I am able to identify my feelings and what triggers me. I do it subconsciously.  Up until this very moment, I remove myself from situations and distance myself from people that make me unhappy, miserable or sad.  This is very important because I have PTSD, which is  under control now, and you will never know I have it unless I say, but still, I know my triggers so well.

It is a very good exercise, to identify your feelings. Maybe you should try. And please do not ask me how I am feeling unless you want to hear it all!

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Responses

  1. Really good experience. I wish I had a counselor at that age too. I fought too. But nobody really cared.

    • Yes, when I think about it now, and how much it has been helping me over these years, I feel enormous gratitude. Veronika was a very wise counselor 🙂 so sorry I gave her quite a hard time at the beginning.


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