Update: Working through Terror, Panic and Anxiety

Now that I have been consciously working with grounding myself in the morning, enjoying a lovely combination of nettles, oat straw, rhodiola and lemon balm and doing my best to remind myself that I am no longer a kid (that’s a lot) things have eased up a bit. Well, kinda 🙂

I would not say that I am miraculously healed or something. But I would say that I have a few tools and coping mechanisms that help calm me when I am triggered. The entertaining thing is that I am triggered by quite a lot. However, if I can remember to stay here and now, while holding space for whatever feeling is surging, being triggered becomes useful. I can actually bear witness to why I hurt. In the past few days I’ve developed a great deal more compassion for myself and others. In one way or another, we are all working through something.

Here are a few other observations:

1.  Grounding is so much easier when I start with my third eye. We all  have a dominant (or a few dominant) chakras. The third eye is mine. She gets things done. If I start grounding by working with her, things usually go easier.

2. My adrenals are on strike. Somehow, I don’t really blame them. Even before my father died, I was constantly engulfed in some sort of heavy intense emotion. If I wasn’t overwhelmed by emotion, I was enraged at life for some reason or another. All that pushing; all that stress takes a toll on the body. For the past year or so, my low back has been off. Although some of the yoga  I did helped, nothing eased it like drinking the tea mentioned above. It did the job fairly quickly too!

3. My weight is an indicator of my mental health.  Since having my son, I’ve been my checking my weight regularly. At first is was because I felt anxious to lose baby weight. But as the weight slowly came off, I began to notice when I put on a pound or three. Sometimes it was because of my period, other times is was because I was making crazy food choices. I generally enjoy a healthy diet; at least when I am feeling sane. I only eat crazy when I am in pain. If I am pain, why and what can I do to fix it?

That’s about all for now. The more I commit to being in my body, the more I learn about what I can do to make my body a pleasureful place to be.

Take Precious Care,

Jeannette

 

Werk through the pain

Staying fully grounded and present in my body has been a challenge this week. Holiday preparations have been triggering in unexpected ways. Although this could be part of the grieving process, it does not quite feel like missing my father.

The wonderful thing about being triggered is that I can now consciously see what I am like when I am in the midst of an emotional flashback. It’s become clearer and much more tangible. The challenging thing about it has been waiting for the flashback to clearly end. I feel like I  constantly cycle between kiddie and teenage years. So, on top of acting like a pissed off 13 year old who is about to burn the house down,  (13 year old me had good reason– I promise) I am an occasionally surly 4 year old. 🙁 My poor husband.

In the midst of all this, I’ve also started identifying a few coping mechanisms. One of my favorite ways to cope is to pop out my body. The only times I have felt fully present and engaged in my body this week have been when I was rough housing with my son, practicing yoga and listening to mid-late 90’s NYC based hip hop. Otherwise, I have been out to lunch with no desire to go back to my body. 🙁 Unless, I can catch myself and remind me that I am no longer a kid; which seems to help bring me back.

Here are a few more observations from this week:

  1. Being fully engaged and present in your body can be overwhelming, especially if you are working through any challenging emotions, trauma, or just anything that ain’t fun. Even if you aren’t working through anything, life is a wild thing to witness. Sometimes we all wish we could shut out eyes. Some of us do. I’m learning to no longer judge myself or others; just to focus on doing the best I can in the moment.
  2. Since Rhodiola has popped up in my lexicon, saying that I need to work with her, I am questioning whether numbing nervines are really helpful to me, right now. Rhodiola doesn’t feel like she wants me blissed out. She feels like she’s going help me work.  How much pain or inner turmoil is useful in healing and how much is too much to  handle. Now, I am sure the answer to that question is different for everyone.  I am just noticing that a little bit of pain helps me feel my way through to what needs to be worked on. If I feel no pain, I do no work. When I am overwhelmed with pain, I check out to lunch. I find that I need a balance between pain and pleasure for me to work.
  3. That there is so much more going on that emotional flashbacks and feedback loops. I have an arsenal of coping mechanisms and protective behaviors that are no longer  helpful. With an emotional process  there are usually  mental, spiritual and physical processes to sort out as well. But since I am emotionally driven, sorting out the emotions will help me bring the other pieces in order. Everything in time 🙂

That is all for this week 🙂 Take precious care and enjoy the holidays!

Jeannette

PS– what?! Rhodiola? Yes, Rhodiola with some Nettles, Oatstraw and Lemon Balm… as a tea taken daily 🙂 Keeps me alert, present and sucka free!

Yoga and Herbs to the rescue: Terror and Panic

So as I continue to ease off the crazy amount of tinctures I was taking a couple of things began to emerge namely terror, anxiety and panic.

Anxiety and I are old buddies. He’s always humming in the background; ensuring that my i’s are dotted, t’s are crossed and that all the doors are locked. Although, he’s a bit much sometimes, I always found him to be comforting and manageable when I allow him to do his thing.

However, terror and panic are new to me. At least, I thought so. After being a bit more honest with myself, I realized that the only time I wasn’t actively cycling through terror and panic was when I lived in France. So, I’ve been actively freaking the fuck out on the regular now for years.

Now my version of terror and panic aren’t about pulling my hair out and throwing things. I am sure it looks different for everyone, but my version resembles righteous anger coupled with self – destruction. I build something for myself then start to lash out at those surrounding me as if I am responding to what initiated (and still fuels)  my panic and terror many moons ago. Finding myself  quite embarrassed, I then self-destruct, taking everything down around me. Next I hide out and not speak to anyone for about 3 – 6 months. Rinse and repeat through out my 20’s and most  of my 30’s. I can’t continue to do this with a kid.

Rather than get into the origin of my anxiety, terror and panic, I will tell you what I have been doing about it; especially since I can actually feel  and see it in action these days.

  1. I changed my yoga practice. Since my terror and panic are on an upswing (yay!) I’ve realized that I need a more vigorous practice. Now vigorous is in the eye of the beholder, but I’ve kicked things up a notch. I have also been working with extending my exhalation when I practice pranayama–which has been awesome for those nights when I am up at 3am and  pissed about it.
  2. I’ve been focusing on being more present in my body. It’s kind of bizarre for me to only recently notice that I have been low key freaking the fuck out for years now. If I can’t connect with myself or my feelings it means I am not fully in my body. So I start the morning off with a practice to help bring me into my body.
  3. I’ve been working with my personal boundaries. Meaning, since I am re-learning to be in my body, I am coming to understand how my body acts as a boundary between me and everything else. In short I am beginning to experience where I end and where you begin.
  4. I’ve also been asking plant spirits for help. Although I am still enjoying some herbal teas and tinctures, I’ve been calling up the divine essences of certain plants for help. For example, did you know that Yarrow is excellent at helping you create and maintain boundaries and that stinging nettles will actually defend you? I ask for their help (and a few others) every morning.

I’ve also been playing with Karla McLaren’s The Language of Emotions and Healing Trauma by Peter Levine, Phd.

As things evolve with my yoga and herbal practice I’ll keep you posted.

In the meanwhile, take precious care.