Years ago, I had heard that there are two levels of human emotions: instinctive emotion which is universally recognized by everyone (anger, sadness, joy, fear, etc) and a more complex level of emotion that is understood to occur due to the level of human cognition. What this meant was that what we feel initially is usually basic or primitive (instinctual)–I view that as a sort of reaction as means to protect ourselves. For example, you see a spider become afraid, your fight-or-flight response is triggered, and run away (flight) from it as means to protect yourself or stomp on it angrily (fight). You may not have had the thought pattern or process just like that but evolution has greatly helped.
I find it odd but have researched it to be the theory , so far. Primary emotions can be felt as secondary too. Secondary emotions usually show the process of thought and tend to be complex. For example: If you feel helpless or useless, you may feel angry or frustrated. Anger and frustration are not the primary emotions. The anger or frustration is a coping or defense mechanism (just like the flight-or-fight response) as a means to protect yourself mentally or emotionally.
The reason for me bring this up is I have realized that I tend to react more than actually process my situation or person (people) meaning I am:
- Yelling my anger or frustration (the fight response)
- Ignoring or denying the problem (flight response)
- Angry when it may not be the correct emotion
- Easily confused
- Misunderstand what is actually happening
It makes for so much chaos and strained relationships. I’m certain it has made my own depression worsen. I have also realized that I am able to fix all of this. While the fixing is not easy, it all starts with me. I have to acknowledge the problem–this can take a while to process even once stated and understood. I have to research how I can cope and improve my ability to handle it. I know I can do this.