Discussion in 'Spirituality/Worship' started by aintasgoodasIoncewas, Feb 18, 2009.

  1. Please, please, PLEASE, all... God help us,...

    I'm just worried sick, and now, so is my husband. His job has been slow, as I know a lot of people's jobs are/have been, etc... and god bless, watch over, & keep those of you, and or spouses, loved ones, who may have already* lost jobs, in this failing economy (which is why I have not asked for prayers, in quite some time, and especially as far as hubby's job went, I know, and have SEEN, how many people were/are losing, or HAVE lost their job(s), and thus, I felt guilty for even thinking about asking for prayer on here, that his job stay secure... but, now,

    Now, things are very different, and I beg of you. ALL of you, of any and all religions, beliefs, spiritualities.

    Please, please, pray for hubby & I, (I'm in tears now, oh my...)

    I called to tell him the brief, small (but ever so appreciated*!!) "good news", thanks to someone elses post on the fibro board, after checking to make sure the info was correct.. I called hubby at work to tell him, that sometime before May, we would be getting a one time $250 check, from my SSDI, as part of this 'stimulus' package...

    In turn, though, hubby told me, that, just as his shift began at work(3:30pm - he leaves here around 2:30pm each day), all four owners called all the supervisers into a meeting.

    (u NEVER, NEVER see all 4 owners... let alone, calling a meeting), and swore everyone in the meeting to secrecy, over whatever was discussed.

    Everyone at hubby's work are thinking the worst. After all, owners don't call meetings, and absolutely SWEAR (aka- *threaten* basically) all involved, to 100% secrecy, if it were over an *increase* in hours, or pay, etc...

    This is certainly not good... not at all... We have struggled the entire time I have been sick...

    4 months after we married, I was no longer able to work-permenantly..
    but, I was off work 6 wks, prior to/ *during* our wedding, with a severe spasm issue in the 'trapezius' area (left side), & was attending the company dr's office order of Physical Therapy (this was at an engine company)

    Anyhow, so, we married at 22 yrs old, April 2000, and August 25th 2000, I worked my last 12 hr shift at the hospital.

    I had just began working there 4-5 weeks earlier, and it was my DREAM JOB- free medical care-as long as it was done at *that* hospital, free college (nursing school)-again- with the stipulation, of course, that you work *there* for them after your schooling-

    not only *that* but, back when the "GI Bill" actually still *worked*/existed (I'm "hearing" that the GI Bill doesn't even exist really- more of a 'mythical creature' now...),but, in 99-2000 Nursing school would have also been covered 100% by the military (but, hubby & I would have been 'stationed' at Ft Sam Houston, Tx, I believe- so, wouldn't have gone that route.

    My job at the hospital, though it was 12 hr shifts, I LOVED the work schedule:

    3 days one week, 4 days the next (automatic 8 hrs overtime, on those 4 day weeks,) every other weekend off- anyone who's ever worked in a *nursing home* knows- weekends off....rarely even exist- ESPECIALLY for the CNA's (certified nurses assistants)..

    my Director of Nursing at the hospital, was even kind enough to NOT COUNT my *drill* weekend, with the national guards, as one of my weekends off, so *I* actually worked *one* weekend at the hospital, and she made sure to keep my drill schedule, to be able to make sure I had 'every other weekend off" (I swear working at the hospital, after 3.5+ yrs of nursing homes, was like a totally different horse!

    Anyhow, hubby and I, I guess, point being, have fought our way, literally, tooth and nail, throughout our entire* marriage.

    Three weeks after we bought our house (25 months after marrying- again- a blessing from God- truly- I never thought we would be able to afford a home, and GOD provided us a nice enough neighborhood-AT THE TIME, a home priced *below* appraisal, with "No PMI", etc..)

    But, 3 wks after moving here, his work hours went from 40, then 32 hrs, to 27 hrs, and then he had called me the next* night, telling me they may only get *18* hrs that week...

    How sick we were, I had not won my disability, we JUST bought our home, (moving out of a 32 yr old 12x60' mobile home!), and, lo' and behold' our GOD, as he always has, in his way, came through for us, in the biggest way,,,

    My attorney literally called the NEXT day, after my husband had thought he may only get 18hrs work that week (they got 27, I believe, and then 32 the next- still not 40, but we TOOK IT! LOL)

    But, that NEXT day, (a wednesday, after he'd thought they may only get 18hrs)while hubby (BRAD)was coincidentally at that very moment, at our bank- and my attorney asks me "have you noticed any extra money in your account?" to which I'd replied "umm... no....." (I wanted to yell "quit making fun of me!" *seemed* like a cruel joke ;-)

    (this is getting very long, I will continue in another post...

    I want to-or- rather-***** I feel *compelled* to, first share the many times and ways* our GOD has ALWAYS seen us through,***** as I am now pleading for prayers from all over, for us right now...

    Part II

    [This Message was Edited on 02/18/2009]
  2. So, I had answered my attorney- "No, not to my knowledge"... and he said, "well, u might check again... I've received a check today, for $2700,"... and AT THAT MOMENT- my precious husband, (and guardian angel!!!!!!) walked in the door, literally looking at the small yellow bank slip- still in disbelief... and I told my atty to 'hold on a second'... my husband (still in shock, nearly, lol, and still *truly* convinced, even though he had already asked them, that the *bank* had made a large error, in our favor, lol)

    Hubby tells me, that there has been $9300 deposited into our acct, and told me, he'd walked up and told the teller, he believed she had made a mistake (lol- bless his heart... so many people these days would NEVER have done that- thinking- hey- it's in there now- 'too bad, so sad, for them") the teller reassured him (chuckling) that it was no mistake, and told him where it was from..quietly of course, to respect our privacy.

    So, I told my atty, that, well... yes, we have rec'd money, he said "congratulations kiddo, you've done it! You should feel like you have just won the lottery, I don't know HOW, but, we've won" (he warned me, MANY times, that people just "DO NOT WIN, against the "indianapolis board'... GOD again(??) due to the overload- MY case, was sent to CHICAGO...

    My aunt used this *same* atty, filed 3 mos BEFORE me, and it still took her more than a year LONGER than me,(a total of something like 3 yrs, 3 months, for her, I believe?) and THREE tries, she had to have the ALJ hearing.. before winning, when, she had more physical documentation- at that TIME, than I did as far as medical records/diagnosis'... I felt bad for her- since SHE was single, and lived alone- however- she had worked for the state for over 25 yrs, and had excellent, *excellent* coverage through them, (but, had to pay back once she won- she *said*) Also, I DO love her, she's my dad's only sister- but, she was also smoking 2 cartons of Marlboro lights A WEEK, and DRINKING 1/2-1GALLON of whiskey a week on her own- THAT kinda angered me- though, I too, smoked, & 'cutting down to generic brand' did save money, and i certainly did not smoke TWO CARTONS a week! And, I did not have blood pressures over 220/110 & up, (and then eventually a SEVERE brain bleed- thank god it happened IN a hospital.)

    (I DID have exstensive medical problems within my military records- which my mother believes 100% is what pushed my case through so quickly- sort of* a 'cover up' or, figuring better to pay SSDI, then VA benifits, providing me MUCH needed, and *deserved* free, exstensive, comprehensive (perhaps) diagnostic testing, treatment, & medications..

    (more to that whole thing too, but, long story short- I NEVER even BELONGED IN, in the first place- my recruiter flat out LIED, and covered PERTINENT medical information that would have resulted in an immediate denial for entry into the military- it DID disqualify me for the ARMY, in 1996- in 1999, this* SMARMY recruiter- almost practially *foaming at the mouth!* to meet his 'quota', for what must have been an unbelievable bonus (one worth his soul, apparently)

    Anyhow, there u go, one really big example of just one of the countless times, God has come through for my husband & I, in the almost 9 yrs that we have been married... We have been through SO SO SOOO much, from, very unexpected deaths, in both our families, his best friend's family- struck with tradgedy 3-4 times in about as many years, or less..and losing my little precious angel Pug, Abby, who had been my CONSTANT companion since 6 months into my illness, fairly suddenly & unexpectedly, 11-15-07...shook me & hubby to our core. I thought that I would NEVER want to breathe another breath again, truly, for months. We just could not take anymore, with the loss of numerous family members, & for me, 2 friends, also.. and my mom's only surviving, and 'baby' brother, losing his right leg, below the knee, to an extremely* rare form of cancer (it has an 80% chance of coming back somewhere else, but- he is fighting on, with a prosthetic leg- again God helped us, below the knee amputees, can 'get on' better, than 'above' the knee, since, they still cannot 'manufacture' 'knee joints' so-to-speak. Praise God for his many blessings, as I am struggling so hard right now, and feel SO lost, and terrified. I have been SO blind, and feel ungrateful.

    Bills, bills, bills, vehicles, appliance after appliance, after appliance* 'dying' on us, when we had no money to buy new, (refrigerator died on us on a friday- it was a very nice side-by-side fridge, less than 4 yrs old when we moved here!) and, again- god made a way for us...

    Someone hubby worked with, happened to HAVE a fridge, he sold us for $50!! It worked for another 3-4 yrs, we just replaced it 2 months ago, with a truly *new* one, via a Lowe's credit card, (and we paid an x-tra $100 for a 4 yr extended warranty this time!!!)

    We have had constant water heater problems, ever since the one we had when we moved here, literally ROTTED through (it lasted THIRTY TWO YEARS!- the guys at the *hardware store were amazed- they'd seen them last past 20, but, 32 yrs is a LOT)

    but, we've since had to have TWO "new" ones, and still have problems with the pilot blowing out- the hardware guys said it's all these new (in their words) STUPID government regulations,(gas water heater) the way it is made, the filter cannot even be *reached* and is not made to be pulled out to clean, but, hubby HAS found, that blowing that filter out, with an air hose ever so often, gets it working again...

    it SEEMS like our furnace 'snuffs it out' also, so-to-speak-
    and yet, it only happens each winter- air conditioner doesn't cause it problems.

    ---Once- when the pilot light went out, my sister & I didn't know it, we both smoke- and *I* suddenly smelled* GAS- we STILL don't know WHY just that ONE TIME, *gas* leaked... shouldn't have happened, for sure.

    That is the SECOND time, I've survived gas leak- the first time-- the house had been filling for NO LESS than 6+ hrs, and the dogs & I were SLEEPING,I was the only one home. I woke up, and PRAISE GOD- for whatever reason- did NOT light a cigarette- (normally the first thing i would have done)

    then I could immediately *taste* gas in my mouth- it took over 45 minutes, with doors, windows open, & ceiling fans on, to clear the house- I thank god that even my precious little dogs did not perish.

    We've had the same prob with dryer- it died, bought a 'new one', my stepdad left. Hubby hooked the *brand new* one up- there was some kind of nut or bolt- some loose part within the machine, rattling around- stepdad had to come back, in the dark, take the sliding door off track again- take THAT one back- get ANOTHER "new one"...

    Again though... god has *always* gotten us through, SOMEHOW, until our finances, etc, get better... even if we *scrape* by, which is almost *always*... we *have* gotten by.

    But, this time... we're horrified. Our car will be *two years* old (6yr loan, instead of 5, so we could afford the payments).

    we HAD to buy it- literally forced to buy one immediately, one weekend, after both, our car, AND our truck, had each been in the shop THREE times a piece, within 6 months.Another thing we knew we'd have to do 'eventually', everything just seems to happen SOONER, rather than LATER..

    I was too sick to even go buy a CAR with my precious husband, :-( (I feel like such a failure at just THRIVING)

    my sweet parents went instead, to help him understand everything- We kept in touch through cell phones, though.

    the day after we bought it- there was about an 8 inch scratch on the back door, driver's side.

    Last 4th of July- hubby found 'orange paper' & ashes, on the trunk (car was 1yr, 4 mos old to us at this time), and we find a LARGE 'dent' in the trunk- which is now rusting along the back edge of it- some JERK in our neighborhood, hit it with a bottlerocket!

    Last summer-early fall... the same neighbor (I know, cuz, his teenage son lets those daggone fireworks off year round, randomly, middle of the night...)

    The FATHER- knocks on the door- he had backed out of a driveway (NOT EVEN *HIS* driveway--the house next DOOR TO US, which is VACANT), backs his huge diesel truck out- and hits our car- severely scuffing the headlight cover.

    I can say with 90% + confidence, that he only came to the door, because the county deputy who lives acrossed the street, was outside, (even though they are buddies...)

    But, to fix all that, hubby would have to take off work, and drive about an HR, to the dealership, to have it fixed- as the car is not in my name. Nor is the house.

    [This Message was Edited on 02/18/2009]
  3. This winter- as we hit severe* temperatures, snow, ice, etc- while it was about -15 or so... I was in the bathroom- and- I get hit in the head- with water droplets. I freak out, my sister & I start looking up in the attic with flashlights (me from the floor- she climbed the ladder)... and we literally see water all over the rafters.. she tells me the boxes (X-mas stuff, etc) are all wet-... we can see *some* rafters, have *twisted*, and are literally only connected by a NAIL...

    My stepdad came over that night- and did give *SOME* good news, we need a new roof (knew that, dreaded it, but, knew it), but, that it was *condensation* rather than a huge, massive leaking roof..

    Again- I was thankful- hubby had just finished working the first bit of overtime his job had had all year long, and thanks to his precious grandmother, who is fortunate and blessed to be able to give the entire family a nice little x-mas 'bonus'...

    we had been able to finally tuck away about 7k in savings for once. The most we've had since my backpay had gone in.

    Of that $9300 back pay,$6200 went towards prelex (lens 'replacement') surgery, and then lasik surgery on my eyes...at hubby's insistance, and, my mother incouraged it also, but, we learned, that even with *that* type of surgery, my body just does not HEAL correctly. and some additional things, (that were covered, thank goodness, in their 1yr free follow-up care)

    Still, though, even WITH some problems, after the surgery- and even now- I wear a 'reader's' glasses, but, the *right* lens, is a small prescription lens, for reading. (It started out as nothing, but QUICKLY (about 2 wks or so, after both eyes healed) it went to wearing 'reader's', but, 1.25's, then up, up, YAG laser surgery for "after cataracts" so to speak... and THESE.. I THINK, are 2. or 2.25, & rx lens on the right... (hmmm)

    BUT- The last pair of glasses I had bought (my eyes never tolerated contacts well, but, as a teen, I paid the price anyways, lol) but, *glasses* had cost me OVER FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS... and mom had a point, that over 20-30+ yrs, what I could spend on those- might as well have the surgery.. we just didn't anticipate the issues..

    And so, even though hubby was extremely distressed over the roof...and- for ONCE- **I** was the one, calming him, telling him, "that's why God provided us with the chance to tuck money away with your overtime, g'ma's X-mas money, my parents $$ (from their work bonuses)"

    (I had 'joked'-sort of joked, anyways- to my mother, that having that money felt like that was "god's way of telling US- YOU GUYS BETTER BUILD AN ARC"

    she shrugged that off, telling me "oh,,, stop that now"-- until the roof issue came up... LOL... then, I could actually see my mother's spirit breaking again for us :-( she actually only *halfway* joked with my sister outside (looking at the roof) telling my *sister* that we should just hand the keys back to the bank, tell them we can't afford the payments anymore...

    We have had problems with unbelievable flooding in the crawlspace, my mom & stepdad again, helped hubby dig drainpipes to go all the way out to the street, underground, so that the water would not run right back under the house, they got the two front drains last summer, and also poured us a new (severely raised up) sidewalk "as an anniversary gift" (they would not let us pay for the sidewalk, nor whatever a little bit of ??PVC?? piping cost, even when we said we could cover it.)..

    It has literally just been one (2,3, + things) after another (2,3,4 things)... our faith, hope, trust, will, devotion, etc... have been tested NON-STOP, these entire 9 years.

    Were it not for my husband's *strong* religious background/upbringing... any other man in the WORLD would have RAN, not walked, out the door, the first year I was sick..I worry tremendously about this man. Especially with his having gained 40lbs through our marriage, having apnea/snoring, despite exstensive surgery. He refused to get fitted for C-PAP, since insurance doesn't cover it, despite my pleas..

    But, these last several things happening, have really started doing him in as well, and THAT, is what kills me most...

    It really starts feeling like things are "happening to us"... (all along, since my illness started taking hold of my MIND- which, I think I hate more than the body part. (about 2yrs into the illness, when it was painfully clear not only would I not get better, but, that I continued getting WORSE),I have been angry, confused, sad with god, saying to him, "whatever is to be for me, FINE, but, WHAT did HE ever do to deserve all this,"

    Feeling that, ok, "IF" *I* was being punished, I will accept that, I strayed from god, many times. I was/am a very conflicted, lost person, I was raised Jehovah's witness the first 8 yrs of my life,

    then a LOT of horrible things happened in my life, very rapidly, from age 10-14 (and continued on from there... but, I became LOST, around age 10...)

    after age 14, *some* things were kind of self-caused...whether it was youth, insecurity, complete naivety, I still put myself in some of the bad situations..)

    I was forced to be Mormon- when my dad married his (technically THIRD wife), but, really his 2nd..., and my best friend, my grandmother, etc were catholic... other friends baptist, lutheran, etc. I'd go to church with friends, after saturday night sleepovers, or go to wednesday night bible studies, etc..

    My *RELIGION* has confused me, and, I struggle with my *faith*... I hold on to hope..sometimes by one single finger..

    But, I have ALWAYS been *spiritual*... and feel that *god* knows what is in my heart, he *knows* my confusion, & angst, over "what/who is right", but that I just want to be a GOOD PERSON in *general*, which, is what the bible is really about.. an instruction manual of being the *best, truest, & purest 'you'* that you can/should be..that is just kind of how my sister & I have thought about it...

    Hubby & his entire large family are, and have been many generations- "lutheran"... (though- his mother* was Nazarene, before marrying)

    I don't know how I feel about *that religion* either- but, I feel that "some religion, is better than NO religion- basically- and, again- that god knows* my *intentions*, and understands my heavy, confused heart... that means well.

    But, when I see my precious, ANGEL, my ROCK, throughout these 9 yrs, when I see HIS faith waivering/faltering... It kills me.

    I feel like my illness, and who I have become, is killing who HE is, HIS faith,HIS security, HIS truths, and that he has picked up MY Jaded, sarcastic outlook,..(sarcasm & humor, though, have *also* kept me ALIVE since a young age...

    Now, this with his job- we are both -- scared beyond any words i could possibly type on here.

    Please please pleaseeeee pray that his job will not end! This is a 'small' place he works at,(less than 100 employees), it's non-union,

    but, as far as "machine shops" go.. I guess.. according to him, they are decent sized..about the same, if not *bigger* than others around here...

    The worst thing, is, their *biggest* business, has for the past month, well, *until TODAY*- HAD been their biggest worry-

    and now THAT businesses' union, has finally settled on a 5% pay cut, in order for them to stay open, & not have to close, leaving 500 ppl without jobs

    - but they still owe HUBBY's JOB, $800,000 for jobs they have already done for them.. and part of that job, was sent elsewhere too, due to their debt, and also to get it done 'cheaper', but, mostly because they had failed to pay hubby's work *any* money, for weeks..

    And now, to think that the *worst* may be happening ANYWAYS, at hubby's work...

    We will not make it. There just isn't any way we could. Three months, conservatively...with what we have..

    I had already cut meds out, & lowered dosages where I could, months ago... we've been 'quitting' smoking... my last pack sits right here on the desk..

    But, GOD, please help us. "Lord, Hear Our Prayer".

    I know NEITHER of us 'deserve' this (I have a HARD time remembering that I'm not being "punished" for my past)even though I am VERY quick, to tell *others* who are hurting, that "god did not put us here to suffer", and that our God is not "vengeful"...

    but, truly, this man, has done NOTHING, but stand by my side, for over 9 years. Doing ALL the housework, yardwork, AND working 40-74hrs a week, all these yrs. If anyone could even take a PEEK into the things my poor husband has had to witness, partake in, what he has had to *clean up* at times in my illness.

    Please God take care of us again, and quickly. I worry about hubby's health.And, emotional state as well. He holds 95% of his emotions/thoughts inside.

    EVERYONE can only take 'so much'..

    Please, help us now God. Protect hubby, as well as all who work there. And help everyone struggling right now. Please just see us through, again, GOD HELP US ALL!

    Thank you..

    [This Message was Edited on 02/18/2009]
  4. Debra49659

    Debra49659 New Member

    Please watch over and bless Laura's husband and his job, and all the people that work there. Please watch over and bless Laura and her family in its entirety.

    The stress and worry is taking its toll on Laura and her husband...they need you to wrap them in your lovin support...watch over them and protect them against hardship, they are having such a hard time.

    Please dear Lord I ask that you hear my prayers...thank you!

  5. A lot of times, due to my cognitive/neuro issues, I ramble so much, I talk to myself, feeling lonely, and 'unheard'... It means a lot to me for someone- anyone, to take the time to read *any* of my post(s)... and I always return a prayer to any response, as well as the people who don't respond too.

    Thank you, though, for letting me feel important enough to be 'heard' by *someone*. It means A LOT to me.

  6. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    I'm so sorry that you and your beloved are going through such a difficult and frightening time. It does feel as though the very sky is falling down on us sometimes, doesn't it.

    It seems that you and your husband love each other very much. He is lucky to be loved the way you love him. Everyone has some crap to deal with but not everyone is loved the way he is. That is your gift to him.

    I will hold good thoughts for you and yours.

    Peace to you,

  7. Debra49659

    Debra49659 New Member

    Anytime....I am keeping you and yours in my prayers.

  8. springwater

    springwater Well-Known Member

    I read your post through and through....and like Rafiki am struck by the great love you have for your husband and he for you. :) What a gift. Precious precious gift.

    About rambling...i am always relieved and happy to see someone vent through these boards; because the thought of someone living with pain bundled up inside them and not letting it out, scares the heck out of me, and makes me feel sad for them. That they will not share their pain but suffer alone.

    Im praying for you and your dear husband and that your economic conditions will improve and your fears removed...know that you are not alone...but that a whole nation is also struggling with similar issues as yourself...also, about your faith wavering..it happens to many, even the most devout in times of crisis,and is an indication of how we are mere humans with human failings...I pray you stand firm in your faith and trust in God and that He will make all things good for you.

    Hugs & God Bless
  9. lol-- yes, we never do seem to be aware (even when we *think* we have a good idea) of just HOW MUCH *IS* "swirling around' inside us, or, constantly 'swimming' in our brains..

    I know- that even when I am watching t.v., showering, driving/riding in a car, walking, even while I am *talking*... I am aware, that my mind is *always* going, with a million different things...

    But, still amazed to see how much just 'pours' out of me (us) when posting-

    Unfortunately though, most of us, cannot afford to go to, or in my case, i could not afford to continue, seeing a therapist, to help try to untangle my mind, & change the way I think. It's something I work hard on, on my own, but, therapy twice a month, helped, in the way of being offered new ways, that may help.

    Anyhow, thank you ALL again for your kind words, and prayers.

  10. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    I thought I'd see if I could find some simple instructions for mindfulness meditation for you since you cannot now afford to see a therapist. Mindfulness, while it comes from the Buddhist tradition, is a non sectarian, non religious way of training oneself to not go running after one's thoughts mindlessly, to observe and let them go, and to slow the rush of thoughts. (That was a horrible explanation!) Springwater and I have both posted about Mindfulness meditation on... uhm... the CFS/FM board or was it the Chit Chat board, maybe. Well, clearly mindfulness does not give one a great memory :eek:)

    Anyway, not only did I find an interesting article about studies they have done about how effective Mindfulness is in changing the brain, I found, in the same article, proof that "rambling" on (is that what you called it?) about one's experiences is healing! How 'bout them apples. You did exactly the right thing!

    As another rambler, I was happy to see it :eek:) Maybe you and I could teach Rambling Therapy!

    It gets a bit confusing but you'll get the gist.

    So, Ramble away my friend... and maybe consider learning Mindfulness meditation, too!


    Published: Sunday, 24-Jun-2007
    Print - Neurological reason for doing mindfulness meditation

    Talking with a therapist or friend, writing in a journal, help us to feel better! A new brain imaging study by UCLA psychologists reveals why verbalizing our feelings makes our sadness, anger and pain less intense.

    Another study, with the same participants and three of the same members of the research team, combines modern neuroscience with ancient Buddhist teachings to provide the first neural evidence for why mindfulness the ability to live in the present moment, without distraction seems to produce a variety of health benefits.

    When people see a photograph of an angry or fearful face, they have increased activity in a region of the brain called the amygdala, which serves as an alarm to activate a cascade of biological systems to protect the body in times of danger. Scientists see a robust amygdala response even when they show such emotional photographs subliminally, so fast a person can't even see them.

    But does seeing an angry face and simply calling it an angry face change our brain response" The answer is yes, according to Matthew D. Lieberman, UCLA associate professor of psychology and a founder of social cognitive neuroscience.

    "When you attach the word angry," you see a decreased response in the amygdala," said Lieberman, lead author of the study, which appears in the current issue of the journal Psychological Science.

    The study showed that while the amygdala was less active when an individual labeled the feeling, another region of the brain was more active: the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex. This region is located behind the forehead and eyes and has been associated with thinking in words about emotional experiences. It has also been implicated in inhibiting behavior and processing emotions, but exactly what it contributes has not been known.

    "What we're suggesting is when you start thinking in words about your emotions labeling emotions that might be part of what the right ventrolateral region is responsible for," Lieberman said.

    If a friend or loved one is sad or angry, getting the person to talk or write may have benefits beyond whatever actual insights are gained. These effects are likely to be modest, however, Lieberman said.

    "We typically think of language processing in the left side of the brain; however, this effect was occurring only in this one region, on the right side of the brain," he said. "It's rare to see only one region of the brain responsive to a high-level process like labeling emotions."

    Many people are not likely to realize why putting their feelings into words is helpful.

    "If you ask people who are really sad why they are writing in a journal, they are not likely to say it's because they think this is a way to make themselves feel better," Lieberman said. "People don't do this to intentionally overcome their negative feelings; it just seems to have that effect. Popular psychology says when you're feeling down, just pick yourself up, but the world doesn't work that way. If you know you're trying to pick yourself up, it usually doesn't work self-deception is difficult. Because labeling your feelings doesn't require you to want to feel better, it doesn't have this problem."

    Thirty people, 18 women and 12 men between ages of 18 and 36, participated in Lieberman's study at UCLA's Ahmanson-Lovelace Brain Mapping Center. They viewed images of individuals making different emotional expressions. Below the picture of the face they either saw two words, such as angry and fearful," and chose which emotion described the face, or they saw two names, such as Harry and 'sally," and chose the gender-appropriate name that matched the face.

    Lieberman and his co-authors UCLA assistant professor of psychology Naomi Eisenberger, former UCLA psychology undergraduate Molly Crockett, former UCLA psychology research assistant Sabrina Tom, UCLA psychology graduate student Jennifer Pfeifer and Baldwin Way, a postdoctoral fellow in Lieberman's laboratory used functional magnetic resonance imaging to study subjects brain activity.

    "When you attach the word angry," you see a decreased response in the amygdala," Lieberman said. "When you attach the name Harry," you don't see the reduction in the amygdala response.

    "When you put feelings into words, you're activating this prefrontal region and seeing a reduced response in the amygdala," he said. "In the same way you hit the brake when you're driving when you see a yellow light, when you put feelings into words, you seem to be hitting the brakes on your emotional responses."

    As a result, an individual may feel less angry or less sad.

    This is ancient wisdom," Lieberman said. "Putting our feelings into words helps us heal better. If a friend is sad and we can get them to talk about it, that probably will make them feel better."

    The right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex undergoes much of its development during a child's preteen and teenage years. It is possible that interaction with friends and family during these years could shape the strength of this brain region's response, but this is not yet established, Lieberman said.

    One benefit of therapy may be to strengthen this brain region. Does therapy lead to physiological changes in the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex" Lieberman, UCLA psychology professor Michelle Craske and their colleagues are studying this question.

    Combining Buddhist Teachings and Modern Neuroscience

    After the participants left the brain scanner, 27 of them filled out questionnaires about mindfulness." Mindfulness meditation, which is very popular in Southeast Asia and elsewhere, originates from early Buddhist teachings dating back some 2,500 years, said David Creswell, a research scientist with the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA.

    Mindfulness is a technique in which one pays attention to his or her present emotions, thoughts and body sensations, such as breathing, without passing judgment or reacting. An individual simply releases his thoughts and lets it go."

    One way to practice mindfulness meditation and pay attention to present-moment experiences is to label your emotions by saying, for example, "I'm feeling angry right now or "I'm feeling a lot of stress right now or "This is joy or whatever the emotion is," said Creswell, lead author of the study, which will be featured in an upcoming issue of Psychosomatic Medicine, a leading international medical journal for health psychology research.

    "Thinking, "This is anger is what we do in this study, where people look at an angry face and say, "This is anger," Lieberman noted.

    Creswell said Lieberman has now shown in a series of studies that simply labeling emotions turns down the amygdala alarm center response in the brain that triggers negative feelings.

    Creswell, who conducted the mindfulness research as an advanced graduate student of psychology at UCLA, said mindfulness meditation is a potent and powerful therapy that has been helping people for thousands of years."

    Previous studies have shown that mindfulness meditation is effective in reducing a variety of chronic pain conditions, skin disease, stress-related health conditions and a variety of other ailments, he said. Creswell and his UCLA colleagues Lieberman, Eisenberger and Way found that during the labeling of emotions, the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex was activated, which seems to turn down activity in the amygdala. They then compared participants responses on the mindfulness questionnaire with the results of the labeling study.

    "We found the more mindful you are, the more activation you have in the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex and the less activation you have in the amygdala," Creswell said. "We also saw activation in widespread centers of the prefrontal cortex for people who are high in mindfulness. This suggests people who are more mindful bring all sorts of prefrontal resources to turn down the amygdala. These findings may help explain the beneficial health effects of mindfulness meditation, and suggest, for the first time, an underlying reason why mindfulness meditation programs improve mood and health.

    "The right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex can turn down the emotional response you get when you feel angry," he said. "This moves us forward in beginning to understand the benefits of mindfulness meditation. For the first time, we're now applying scientific principles to try to understand how mindfulness works.

    "This is such an exciting study because it brings together the Buddha's teachings more than 2,500 years ago, he talked about the benefits of labeling your experience with modern neuroscience," Creswell said. "Now, for the first time since those teachings, we have shown there is actually a neurological reason for doing mindfulness meditation. Our findings are consistent with what mindfulness meditation teachers have taught for thousands of years."