Many times, when we think about wound healing, a wound dressing pops into our minds. We focus on the techniques which will be effective in starting the healing process. We discussed and asked questions, such as keeping the wounds dry? How can we reduce the wound dressing changes? Which wound dressings and topical creams work best together? These questions are imperative to efficient healing; however, let’s dive deeper into this situation of wound healing by focusing on the patient’s emotional health in their home, in relationships with friends, family, and their significant others. Focusing on the possible emotional Instability that wound care patients are experiencing silently. Many article topics are on techniques, strategies, wound dressings, wound topical creams, etc.
On the other hand, there are very few conversations about emotional Instability in real-time with wound care patients. I feel the “Kiss of Death” of their failure to heal wounds lies in their emotional Instability. This article will discuss emotional regulation and dysregulation; why are they important? Qualifying invalidating environment(s) and Invalidating environment(s), and how can wound care patients self-repair from invalidating climate (s).
Emotional Regulation and Emotional Dysregulation, why are they necessary?
We all know that emotions are subjective feelings experienced in different situations. Sometimes, we feel emotions: happiness, accomplishment, excitement, sadness, anger, confusion, and many others (Sperber, 2022). All those emotions are expressed at the moment individuals feel them. Emotional regulation describes a treadmill operating in a harmonious flow; when the need to rev up for an appropriate amount of time, it starts to slow down to back to a balanced pace (APA Dictionary, 2022). However, Emotional dysregulation is described as a malfunctioning treadmill that is not flowing at a harmonious pace. It responds in a longer reactive time, surpassing the moment to speed up and slow down (CPP, 2019), which individuals who are experiencing emotional dysregulation will be more prone to self-harming (CPP, 2019). When wound care patients’ emotions are not appropriately regulated, it puts them in danger of self-harm (CCP, 2019). Let’s explain; when a patient has not mastered or has not practiced how to identify their emotional treadmill pace relating to one emotion in real-time, they are emotionally sabotaging their wound healing potential (Sperber, 2022). Wound care patients ruminating about past events from childhood trauma, past adult relationships that ended badly, or arguments from earlier that morning is putting their wounds at risk to halt (Sperber, 2022). So many patients are not conscious that their emotional health is fragile which, they will easily experience emotional distress. (Sperber, 2022). It does not matter how effective wound dressings may be; if the patients’ emotions are dysregulated, the wound dressings will not be as effective if the patient’s emotions are not regulated. Careless words stab like a sword, but the terms of the wise people bring healing (God’s Word, 2022, Proverbs 12:18).
Qualifying an invalidating environment(s) and qualifying a validating environment(s)
A validating environment acknowledges the person or persons’ feelings and experience from a situation or event. (Pedneault, 2012). Validating environment is not the same as giving praise to the situation’s outcome. For example, I can validate you are feeling sad about losing your baby doll last night at the State Fair. Praising is your response to losing the doll the previous night at the State Fair. (Litner, 2021).
Another example is, I am giving attention to your emotions, and the child feels comfortable displaying emotions about losing the doll. (Carrico, 2021). It also shows that praise encourages vulnerability and assists in creating a better plan for the next doll. (Carrico, 2021). On the other hand, invalidating environments will not acknowledge the display of emotions about losing the doll. (Pedneault, 2012). For example, there will be blaming, creating distrust, creating self-confusion about their validity of experienced emotions, and stripping away their sense of empowerment (Johnson, 2020). Note: Invalidation equals psychological and emotional trauma.
The topic of validation is circulating in healthcare or business in the sense of professionalism with coworkers and business joint-ventures. On the other hand, in-home life of wound care patients with their loved ones: family, friends, and significant others. Often, wound care patients live in homes that are centered in invalidation. There are wound care patients who are afraid to express their emotions relating to their wounds because of potential attacks, matters of belittlement, ignored, persecution, joked. (Johntson, 2020). High emotionality elicits invalidation, and invalidation exacerbates high emotionality and does not provide the emotional socialization needed to develop core emotion regulation capacities. (Chapman, 2019). How can wound care patients begin to feel motivated to start a new treatment when their environment is screaming emotional abuse? Wound care dressings cannot combat emotional turmoil.
Self-Repairing from Your Invalidating Environment(s)
Let’s define self-repair first; it means individuals repair their emotional health from any emotional abuse and psychological abuse. Self-repairing has zero focus on physical health, but it is very impactful to the physical body to heal at its optimal level. So, I ask you a question, how should wound care patients self-repair from their invalidating environment? I have a few suggestions that could start the patient’s journey of self-repairing. First, start practicing self-compassionate. (Neff, 2022). Self-compassionate is giving yourself grace and empathy, not self-blaming and self-shaming about the invalidating environment you are in. (Neff, 2022). Second, it’s time to start practicing self-empowerment, removing the name-calling, false accusations of being lazy, and recreating your self-trust in their emotions. (Neff, 2022). Thirdly, it’s time to start using art therapy to release creativity and beauty back in your self-esteem. When an individual start using colors to express how they want to feel, it becomes a reality (Good Therapy, 2022). Fourth, it’s time to start writing therapy to filter out harmful and toxic energy from your invalidating environment(s). (Tartakovsky, 2012). Fifth, it’s time to start doing your mirror therapy which you can use a compact mirror and wall mirror. I want you to begin self-positive talk in the mirror (Estrada, 2019). At first, it will feel weird, but it works. It is preferable to do it in a closed room for privacy and blocking out invalidators (Estrada, 2019). Lastly, join a virtual or in-person support group, connect with a licensed mental therapist, connect with a life coach who will guide you through your self-repair journey, and talk to your healthcare team and social worker for emotional support and resources (MHA, 2022). Note: I know the common statement is to leave those invalidating environments, but sometimes it is not possible socially, financially, or for other unseen reasons. Just remember you are loved, you are unique, and you are worthy. Let your self-repairing journey begins! Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones (New International Version, 2022, Proverbs 16:24).
Emotional Instability is the driving force to many failures to heal wounds. The mind, body, soul, and spirit of the person flow harmoniously. The environment plays a massive role in the healing success physically. So, when invalidating environments affect wound care patients, healthcare professionals have to understand there will be slow to no progress. Emotional dysregulation is developed in invalidating environments, leading to self-doubting of the validity of their emotions, self-blaming because of the emotional abuse, and diminishing their self–empowerment. Again, there are millions of pieces of literature on high-technology wound dressings to have the capacity to heal wound faster and safer. However, if the patient’s emotional health is unstable, the wound dressing will be decreased to fabric coverage. I hope this article has enlightened the seriousness of emotional dysregulation in the wound care community to continue the conversation of mental health and emotional health in the home life of our patients.
The views and opinions stated in this blog are exclusively those of the author and do not reflect iWound, its affiliates, or partner companies.
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