I want to keep talking about mental health issues because there is not a person in our community that is not affected in some way emotionally. What I want us to think about today is that everyone will have a different emotional response to our current crisis. We need to understand that or we will be jumping into judgment and criticism very shortly, and that will make us lose that loving’ feeling that I am so liking right now. How people manage their emotions is on a continuum, with super over-feelers on one end and logical seemingly emotionless people on the other end. Super over-feelers feel emotion very intensely, and our current crisis is probably sending them into sensory overload that is emotionally painful. They are emotionally flooded and to cope with that they may be shutting down a bit, trying to avoid the pain. They may be posting blueberry cobbler recipes on Facebook instead of jumping into relief efforts. It’s not that they are heartless, but right now they don’t know how to manage their intense feelings so they will try to avoid them. On the other end of the continuum we have very logical, seemingly emotionless people. It seems like they are very disconnected from what is happening in our community. They are going about life as usual, going to the gym or working long hours at work, and not helping with relief efforts. These are people who don’t understand their own emotions, and if we don’t understand our own emotions it makes it very hard for us to deal with emotion in others. They may be offering very logical advice that lacks empathy, because logic is what they are good at. I am not knocking that – we need very logical people right now to help us solve some problems. But these people may be scared shitless to have to deal with someone’s intense pain right now because they don’t know how, so they can’t set foot in a flood victims house to help. The rest of us are in the mid-section of that continuum. We are coping the best we can, but truthfully we are off a bit too. I know I have been coping by eating crap and having a second glass of wine when I shouldn’t. As humans we are a quirky mix of the genes we were born with and the environment we grew up in. No one asked us where we wanted to be on that emotional continuum, so please, let’s all try to understand and not judge. It will help us keep that lovin’ feeling that is so abundant right now.

Mary Beth George