by Douglas L. Anderson, PsyD
Life can be frenetic.
A synonym to that word is the word, frenzied. Frenzied has two standard meanings. It can mean that we are wildly excited and enthusiastic about something. For example, I offered some frenzied applause when Byron Buxton hit a homer un in the AllStar Game! Fist bumps and smiles all around.
Frenzied can also mean that we are violently agitated or frantic. For example, Ukrainian citizens become frantic and deeply agitated when suddenly attacked by an unanticipated rocket. Fierce rage and severe distress combine in such moments to generate a frenzied and frenetic response.
Life at times generates raucous joy and laughter. At other times life generates agitated terror and grief.
In many cases life’s most challenging moments contain both definitions, both realities, at the same time. I have attended many funerals where the agony and grief of the loss of a loved one has also included the laughter and glee of grand memories of the one who has died. Sorrow and joy intermix.
Likewise, the frantic agony of an earthquake that destroys buildings and takes lives is at times a bedfellow to the joy of discovering someone alive beneath the rubble two days later.
Psychological health calls on us to hold good and bad together, to recognize and accept the presence of both. Depending on your cultural and family background, you may discover a tendency in yourself to adhere to one end of the continuum or the other, to see only the negative and miss the good, or to see only the good and avoid acknowledging the bad aspects of an experience.
You are better off personally and relationally when you recognize and accept the presence of both good and bad. I often say that blessing and cursing go hand in hand. There are no heroes without villains, and if you are a faith person, there are no redeemers without betrayers.
To put it in more pragmatic terms, there are no tractors so good that they never break down. There are no tires so good that they never go flat. There are no marriages or partnerships so wonderful that they never have issues. There are no people so resilient that they never struggle with down days, or with depression or anxiety at times.
Life can be frenetic in both good and bad ways, and our task is to discover how to hold both good and bad, to come to terms with the presence of both simultaneously in the experiences of our lives.
If holding life’s good and bad experiences together is tripping you up, give us a call. We have competent and caring therapists in all four of our locations - River Counseling Services in Platte, Sioux Falls Psychological Services, and Stronghold Counseling Services in Sioux Falls and in Yankton - who will meet you where you are, offering hope. You may schedule an appointment with the Platte office at 605-337-3444, or meet with one of our Sioux Falls or Yankton based therapists from your own computer or smartphone. To schedule an appointment please call 605-334-2696.