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Naming My Mental Stress. Why giving a name to my stress helped me not only recognize it, but I was able to own it!

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Naming My Mental Stress. Why giving a name to my stress helped me not only recognize it, but I was able to own it!

What kind of person names their stress? Why would a person take the time to name their stress or mental anguish? Is naming your stress even a thing? What is the benefit of taking time to name your stress?

Different people deal with life’s issues in different ways. Some people develop vice’s around stress. When they get stressed out, they may turn to substance abuse. They might get mad at friends and family and take their anger and frustration out against them. Others go to the other end of the spectrum. A person might take the stress and use it for good. The person might burn the stress away by performing a strenuous exercise. Or they could take the energy from the stress clean up where they live or work. Stress causes a reaction in ourselves, sometimes good and sometimes bad. And then you have a silly person like me who sometimes does a bit of both. And on top of that, I take and name my stress or mental anxiety of the moment.

There is a show on Showtime titled after the main character. The show is called “Dexter.” And if you’ve never seen it, I’ll try to give a quick explanation of the show and why I’m using it for an example of naming stress here. The show “Dexter” (the show’s first run) is set in Miami. Dexter has an obsession with killing. But to cure his killing craving, he developed a code and only kills what he deems “bad people.” The show was pitched to me as a series where the main character is a serial killer who kills other serial killers.

When Dexter was a child, he was adopted by a police officer named Harry. Harry noticed that Dexter needed to kill things. Dexter would kill animals around the neighborhood. That issue right there would make the average person reconsider the adoption, but this is scripted TV, and we knew he was going to keep the kid. So Dexter’s killing of animals grew to the point where he felt he needed to kill actual people to satisfy his thirst for blood and murder. Dexter’s lust for blood just continued to grow. So Harry, the adopted father, helped a teenage Dexter come up with a plan so that he could satiate his bloodlust. Harry was the person who pointed Dexter’s need to kill at people that they perceived as bad people. So between Harry pointing out Dexter’s need to kill bad people and the code that they developed together, the name for Dexter’s mental illness became what they named his “Dark Passenger.” And for the show’s duration and all of the seasons that I saw, that’s the name he called when he felt the need to kill come up time after time.

Great idea for a show, right? The show lasted eight seasons, with most seasons being better than the previous. Well, that is until the end when they ran out of ideas and had a love story that made no sense at all, and the show just ended. I won’t add how, but the final season and the storyline left a lot to be desired in a series finale. As of 2021, the show came back to Showtime. After around eight years off, the show came back rebranded “Dexter: New Blood.” I watched one and a half episodes and then put it down, so I’m not sure how the show is this time around. The reason and way that I even watched the original show was because my roommate had all of the seasons on DVD. (Remember those?!) My roommate told me that it was a good show, and once I started, it was decent. So I kept with it until the end.

The reason for that story was to point out that the main character on the show had a name for his mental illness. The name “Dark Passenger,” while a bit corny to me, was just an excuse for him to kill people and feel ok with it. I guess it was like he was doing a good deed for the world while performing a bad deed of overall morals. There is more to the argument as far as the justice system. Who’s the judge, jury, and executioner, and why? And so many more questions. But at the end of the day, what do I always say? “It’s only entertainment!”

But from entertainment comes many real-life questions that we pose to ourselves. And that is the reason why I’m naming my stress!

I ask myself now, do I name the stress a phrase, or do I name it a personal name like “Bob”? Do I give it a pet name like “Fido”? And when I refer to it, do I use it in the first-person or third-person? So many questions. The cool thing is, is that it’s mine to name.

See, I’ve claimed the stress. I own it. I know it’s there, and I acknowledge it. I don’t try and pretend all is well when it’s not. I don’t hide from the fact that there are situations in my life when everything is not alright. Now I may not want to discuss the stressors in my life with just any person. So occasionally, when a person asks what’s wrong, I say “nothing.” That’s what I mean at the time. It shouldn’t be taken as an offense to the person asking, but since I own this stress, it’s mine to do with what I want. If I’d like to share it with a person genuinely asking, I’m free to do that. If the question is asked, and while it still may be genuine, but possibly I and my ownership of the stress isn’t quite ready to share it, that’s ok too. And that’s what I want you to know as a person as well. How you feel and whether or not you want to share is entirely up to you. A person should never feel forced to share what’s going on with them as long as they can handle it effectively.

But when do you know you can’t effectively handle the stress? That’s not an easy answer, and actually, it’s an article topic for another time. So to keep this simple and on the topic of naming rights, I’ll say this. When you know, you know. Trust your gut, and attempt to call for help when the build-up is real and things get too heavy for you to hold on your own.

I had a mayday situation in an actual life-threatening incident in my career. Before I called, the thoughts crossed my mind. Is this really a mayday? What if I can get out without help? Will I be laughed at? Will I get talked about and seen in a bad light? All of these thoughts ran through my mind in an instant. And you know what I did? I called the mayday. I figured, what difference would any of that make if I was dead? NONE. I could and would deal with the consequences later. But for that moment, I NEEDED HELP! When I knew, I knew. I got the help that I needed, and everything worked out.

That incident gave me another perspective as well. At the same time, I don’t get too caught up in what’s not my business. I took that to another level. First of all, what isn’t my business is what other people think of me. That’s their business, and all I can do is be the best version of myself that I can be. Second, I can’t control what someone thinks of me, no matter how good I think I am doing at representing myself. So if it’s not my business and I can’t control it. Then why would I be concerned with it? I no longer am.

Back to naming!

I call myself “The burrito of sadness” when I’m sad. When I’m glad, and in a great mood, I call myself “Big Live Sevy.”
This next one covers a lot of emotions but mostly when I’m mad. It’s “Sevy DON’T!” And while writing this, that’s what I say when I’m stressed out too. “Sevy don’t,” just with not as much vigor.

The overall purpose of this article is this. It’s the same message that I talk about in many of my articles. Try not to take yourself or life too seriously. What is here now can be gone in an instant. Try not to worry about what people that don’t matter think about you. A line that my Mother gave me goes like this. “Those that mind don’t matter, and those that matter don’t mind.” And finally, if you feel like me that naming your stress helps you identify it, and own it, then do it. At least try it. What do you have to lose?

My stress, depression, anxiety, and any other negative emotion that I’m feeling will be named “Sevy don’t.” And I think that the next time he rears his ugly head, I will take him out for a run or a brisk walk. That’ll tire him out, and let him know… That I own him! He doesn’t own me.

Severen Henderson is the Owner/Operator of Department3C. You can connect with him on most social media sites @iamsevy or @deaprtment3c. Let’s keep in contact, so please head over to our website www.department3c.com to see what we are up to! For e-mail, inquiries contact us at info@department3c.com.


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