Emotional needs, They are the black sheep of the need family. Well then, who are the more prominent and respected members of the “need” family? There are physical needs. You know; food, water, shelter, exercise, etc. There are very few non super spiritualistic monkish guru’s who would deny that these are essential for survival. We also have spiritual needs. Wherever you are in the land of belief you will find others there as well. Even those who adamantly deny any spiritual belief or existence register on the spiritual realm. Granted, they sit on the far end of the existential spectrum but they are there. There is a desire to know, to believe, to understand our nature and existence if not purpose. Spiritual needs are evident in all cultures of man including “lost” tribes of stone age who when presented with Jesus they replied, “Oh, is that His name?” Lastly, there are intellectual needs. The need to learn, to grow mentally, to practice a trade/skill/talent and come ever closer to excelling in said activity. Yes, these needs are far above “emotional” needs.
No one ever says, “Oh, look at that kid. He’s always hungry. He just wants to eat. Keep the food away from him. He’ll learn.” However, how often have you ever heard, “They are just seeking attention. Ignore them.”? Yet, your emotional needs drive so much and interrelate an incredible amount with the other needs.
HOWEVER, as the needs pendulum has swung so far toward the emotional end in my world I may have overlooked another need. I have grown and learned so much over the past 8 years about emotional needs and come to appreciate and highly value their role in our lives. Some people have been amazed at how “well” Rachel and I dealt with the trauma that comes with 4 years of battling pediatric cancer on behalf of our son Trey. Then, to have him complete his battle and have to bury your own child? If we were not prepared with the understanding of emotions and had the blessing to teach others (who then helped and loved us) we would have been in a far different emotional place.
In the year after Trey passed I really began to not feel well…physically. I chalked it up as grieving at first. Then I began to take matters into my own hands. “My diet!” I realized, my diet was the key. I got rid of pop (soda for some of you). No real change there. Got rid of all (for all intensive purposes) artificial sweeteners. Nothing. Caffeine was next…gone. Nothing. I was tackling all of the dietary demons that social media told me was killing me and yet to no avail. Ok, how about we add things rather than remove them? Veggie/fruit smoothie every day. Done…nope, no change. Organic apple cider vinegar (with “the mother”)? Gross, did it, maybe a little digestion boost but overall nothing. While this is all going on my sleep in at best crappy. I snore so much that my beloved bride is fearful that it is full blown apnea and if it doesn’t kill me, she might.
I keep fearing the elephant in the room. “Am I suffering from depression?” I have done a lot of grieving and had some good solid comfort attached to it. Am I wrong about all of this emotional needs information that I’ve been teaching? What now?
Well, I took one last swing at the physical realm and agreed to go to the doctor to get into a sleep study. I had family members go through it and much of their physical ailments went by the way side after using “the mask” to sleep. Even though I don’t really trust doctors completely (or holistic folks, guru’s, yogi’s, etc…anyone really) I went. I hadn’t been to the doctor in 15+ years. I had not gone for the most part because I haven’t been sick enough. The other reason is simply that I was sure they’d find something. Entering this stage of life when every minor ache or pain must be a cardiac disease, cancer, lyme disease, ALS, Zika, or dengue fever let alone coming off of getting bad news after bad news with Trey I was none too keen to throw my hat in the “let’s find a diagnosis” ring. Yet…I went.
I “qualified” for a sleep study so hope was on the horizon. Then, the phone rang. Indeed they had found something. Very long story short…my thyroid had stopped working. I now take one pill a day to do what my thyroid used to do. 2 months later, I’m down 20 lbs., my energy is up, my muscles don’t ache, my sleep apnea is gone (no sleep study or mask needed), my digestion is greatly improved, and the fog that my head was in has been lifted.
I say all of this to make this point. Apparently physical needs are needs too. While I was stuck in fear that I might have fallen into depression the answer was just across town in the doctors office. My “needs” pendulum had swung far too far one way. We have 4 different types of needs…we need them all. They all have to be up to date for us to lead a balanced healthy life.
Which brings me to my concluding point. When going through life in general but especially through a traumatic time, staying on top of all of your needs is paramount to your survival. Just as I was a bit of a fool for ignoring my health, many suffer so much for ignoring (or not knowing how to address) their emotional needs. Whatever you lack, the resulting deficiency will exponentially effect the quality of your life. Address them , pay attention to them, fix them, and you will be much more apt to attack (and survive) the day.
**I appreciate all of you and your concern/prayer for me and my whole family. In regards to my thyroid and overall health I’m good. I know there a ton of solutions/treatments/lifestyles/exercises/correct/incorrect ways to handle things. I have a select group of folks who are helping me from all angles. Thanks!**