Snapping Out of Denial and Into Reality

“Snap” is such a powerful word. And yet it’s a word we use when we talk about that feeling when we come out of denial. It’s also a perfect word in many ways the change between denial and reality is that fast.

I know the expression when I see it. Eyes are glazed over, the mouth might be open, etc. The other person might nod, while struggling to take in the information around them.

When we experience this type of a snap, it’s actually completely normal. It’s scary and uncomfortable, but it’s also normal.

Here is where we sometimes make things worse. We try to make that intense reaction calm down. That’s understandable because it’s uncomfortable. At the same time, it’s also important to let the reaction happen too.

Again, what you’re experiencing is normal. You’re using a human grief response (denial) to cope with an extremely stressful situation. These situations can include various circumstances. They can include discovering a betrayal, dealing with a health issue, facing a major life setback, etc. Any situation where the reality is extremely painful can make you go into denial.

It’s sort of a shock response. If you physically hurt yourself, you might not even notice the pain for a little bit as your body is trying to help you deal with it. Emotional pain can have a similar phenomenon.

When reality sets in though, it can be extremely intense. I encourage people to find support at this time. You want this person to be someone who won’t judge you for what you’re experiencing. They won’t force you to feel better. They’ll just be there with you.

I also push people to get really focused into the present. It sounds overly simple, but when you realize that you’re not currently in a situation that is much different than it was a little while ago, it can help you settle in a bit more. It doesn’t mean that it makes it easy. However, being more closely connected and oriented to the present can help you naturally feel more resilient in a challenging time.

Here’s the other thing to remember. Feelings ebb and flow. No feeling can last forever. So if you’re experiencing something intense and you give it time, it will pass. It’s fine to get support during that time though.

If you’re struggling to find support through the “snap” like feeling that I’m describing here in this post or with other emotions in your life, feel free to reach out to us. We have a lot of approaches that can help you build up your resilience to high stress situations, including EMDR, Somatic Experiencing, and good old fashioned empathy and validation.

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