Posted in coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, Emotional Health

Flash But No Picture

Last night I was watching the new Star Trek movie that came out on DVD in the last week.  It was good to return to the familiar space of the Starship Enterprise.  At one point they had to destroy a super nova by having it basically implode into a black hole.  Why is this relevant?  Because we each have those hot spots that trigger a big emotional response.  We all have buttons that get pushed and expectations that are crossed and like an exploding star there is a flash, but no picture.

This is all very fresh for me because I received an e-mail from school about the cancellation of a course I was scheduled to take in February.  The format of the school requires us to attend a one week intense intensive.  The e-mail stated that the course in February will be rescheduled for later in year.  I’m a bit sensitive at this point about scheduling classes because I’m coming to the end of my course work and ready to advance to candidacy, so timing is everything.  I read the e-mail and I felt like I shot across the sky like a shooting star.  It took me a few minutes to adjust.  First I had to get over my disappointment of missing the opportunity to study with these two incredible teachers.  Then I had to get over the anger of feeling like a pawn in the grand scheme of things.  I did what any “normal” person would do; I took the suggestions from the e-mail and bought the books for the new class.

Where is all of this leading?  We’re all going to have those flashes of internal heat that get our blood boiling.  What happens when our fuse goes off?  For those of us with a health challenge it usually ignites some type of physical chain reaction.  Our blood pressure may increase.  We may begin to have heart palpitations.  There are a host of symptoms that are right below the surface waiting for that “flash”, that opening to emerge and create havoc with our bodies.  What’s the solution?

Have the “flash”, but don’t linger.  Allow some type of expression, but don’t keep it as the theme of your life for the coming days.  Understand that beneath the “flash” is probably some other emotion, for me it was disappointment and frustration.  You can ask yourself the following question, “If I weren’t feeling angry, I’d be feeling ______” (you fill in the blank).  Fortunately, I’ve “flashed” enough times to know that there is a secondary emotion waiting in the wings, and that’s the real challenge for my emotional, spiritual and physical health.

Know the “flash” is going to happen.  Allow it to happen because stifling it will create a host of other problems, far worse than what may happen following the “flash”.  Emotional health is a critical component on our journey to wellness.


I've lived my life in service to others. I'm focused on mental health and how it impacts our relationships, culture, and society. Through creative expression and narrative I believe we can impact change.

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