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I don’t want to sound mean.  I just want to be honest.  Is there something else bothering you?*

Last night I was faced with that loaded question.  “Was something else bothering me?”  Because, she explained, how upset I was didn’t add up.  “Nothing happened,” she said.

At first the question didn’t even register through my sniffles and tears.  Of course something had happened.  Something terrible.  Or why else would I be so upset?  Right? I had been feeling left out of a conversation, and everything just seemed to sudden spiral out of control from there.  Suddenly friends were angry with me and I was crying and… of course something had happened.

But because I know my friend doesn’t just say things like this casually, I dug a little deeper.

Was something else bothering me?

A list started to write itself in my head.  A list that looked like it could be a mental health professional’s list of major life stresses.  Okay.  So I had a few things going on in my life right now what with the recent hospitalizations and rehabilitations, family stresses, missing friends, and so on.  So I supposed that a few things were in fact bothering me.

I felt dumb.

Suddenly everything came into focus and my reaction seemed so out of proportion.

And that’s when it happened.

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CRACK.

See for the last few weeks I’d been describing the stress I was under like a giant and delicate egg just under the surface of my emotional pain, waiting to crack open and drip it’s gooey and painful ooze everywhere.

It happened.  Right then in that moment of perfect clarity, I could feel all the pain I’d been hiding from myself so completely and all at once.

I didn’t know I could cry that hard.  That intensely.  And that it could be that freeing.

I prayed that I would have the strength to get through it.  To find meaning in my struggles and tears.

Then, just as suddenly as it came, it was over.

Feeling better, I’m so grateful to my friend for asking that loaded question.  It must not have been easy to have to be honest with me when I was a basket case and try to figure out what was really going on.

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Have you ever been really upset about something only to realize that it was something else entirely that was really bothering you?  Here’s some suggestion you can try to help you figure out those upsets when they occur:

  1. Think about if your reaction is in proportion to the upsetting incident.
  2. Think about what other stresses you have in your life.
  3. Ask yourself it there is something else bothering you.
  4. Seek trusted friend/mentor or a professional counselor who can talk the problem out with you.
  5. Pray or meditate to get divine perspective on the situation.

Sometimes you have to crack the situation wide open to see what’s really inside, but I know that on the inside of that egg is greater serenity, happiness, and peace of mind.

*Paraphrased