We know emotions. They’re healthy, normal. A pet is sick or dies, and we are sad. If it is sunny outside, this could be a good day. We become excited. We plan for an adventure. There’s a hike, a few hours at the zoo with our family, or maybe the pool. A little sunburn isn’t bad. Even a tantrum from the three-year-old doesn’t spoil a day. Emotions are flavors added to the stewpot.
I’ve had weeks of crying jags for no apparent reason, and I’m bewildered as to what started them. I can’t recall an emotion. Am I sad? Angry? Sometimes I’ll stare at the wall or want to hide under the covers because life seems too much. It’s the tsunami crashing over my plans to move forward into a good life. I write lists and can’t seem to accomplish the tasks.
The difference in simple terms between an emotion and a flashback is the logic. I can be disappointed in an immediate event or happy about it. If I’m having a flashback, it’s illogical. I may be disappointed about the experience but also accuse others that they did this on purpose. I’ll feel like going into a dark hole for a longer time or rage about someone letting me down. And perhaps they did. The flashback has magnified the pain.
Emotional flashbacks are sudden and often prolonged regressions (‘amygdala hijackings’) to the frightening circumstances of childhood. They are typically experienced as intense and confusing episodes of fear and/or despair – or as sorrowful and/or enraged reactions to this fear and despair. Flashback ManagementPete Walker
How can you tell if someone has a flashback?
“Flashbacks sometimes feel as though they come out of nowhere, but there are often early physical or emotional warning signs. These signs could include a change in mood, feeling pressure in your chest, or suddenly sweating. Becoming aware of the early signs of flashbacks may help you manage or prevent them.”RAINN.ORG
There is a time in our childhood before we could name an emotion when we create patterns of feeling. It’s possible our parents were busy and tired. My dad worked two and sometimes three jobs. Mom helped when we had a business—three kids and not a lot of money. As the third child, it was a challenge to be noticed. I needed more than they could give. I cried with ear infections, and mom was exhausted. She needed a break. And there wasn’t one in sight anywhere for her. Now, it’s still difficult for me to ask for help.
One tool Richard Grannon teaches in his YouTube videos is for emotions. Many of us are not aware of our feelings. I wrote about this in a previous post, The Jungle of My Emotions. We befriend our emotions, even the ugly ones, and they soon become familiar. Name them as to recognize them. Are you afraid? Or are you feeling betrayed? This method has been helpful for me.
A decent way to do this is to set a timer for three times a day. Mine is 9:00 AM, 2:00 PM, and 8:00 PM. When the timer chimes, check-in with yourself. Are you bored, lost, sad, or feeling angry? Being aware of yourself is a start. There is plenty of help if you need it.
I don’t know your life or your family, only you know them. You swim in those emotions deep. It takes a near miracle, as the fish pulled from the water, to realize life can be different. I do have hope for me, and I have hope for you. If you can relate to any of this, follow some of the links. There is help. It can get better.
Rick Hanson Ph.D.-The Foundations of Well Being
Richard Grannon-The Spartan Life Coach
Pete Walker-Flashback Management
Find it at Amazon
Do you need some inspiration? How about an easy read?
Being Strong is a collection of my writings from when I began soul searching. I was so miserable. I didn’t know the girl in the mirror anymore.
My life had changed. All of it, including my friends, my beliefs, and even my manner of doing things, had transformed. I was learning what made me strong.
We are learning to fly by intention instead of brute strength.
It’s a new day. We are learning new ways of seeing the world. And we remember long-forgotten ways. If germs make us sick, what about our emotions and the emotions of others around us. I agree that actions count, but activities without a connection are dry and blow away.
Available at Amazon
We know instinctively that some things are precious. Your health, relationships, family, sanity, and mobility must be prized so that you can have a happy life. Your true self is also worth protecting.
Authentic – representing one’s true nature or beliefs; true to oneself or to the person identifiedhttps://www.dictionary.com/browse/authentic
I follow trends. Fashion is a hobby of mine and in my blood. As far back as I can remember, my very reason for getting out of bed was to pick my outfit for the day. The magazines influenced me on the colors I liked and the amount of brightness. It’s subtle. Soon after indulging in the magazines, I’d forget who I was. Do I like lace? Why am I suddenly craving, needing their product? I’ve been swept into a river of marketing.
Do I remember who I am?
There were terrorists on the news. Now, it’s politics. I watch stories of sickness, epidemics, murders, crime, and war. Can I hide at home? I can’t stay this way. I don’t want to be swept into the kinetic frenzy of herd mentality. How do I handle my life?
I remember me.
I have made it through many rough times and difficult trials. Victorious. I know am strong enough to make it through the dark night. There’s light. But in the dark moments I still feel hopeless. I had to find focus on a good thought and remind myself of it over and over again. Sometimes it helped to have a physical token as in the movie Inception. Recently, I started listening to positive podcasts and guided meditations. Brain Software With Mike Mandel: Dealing With Disaster is a good episode. I also like Tracks to relax: I Am Deserving Sleep. I’m trying to laugh and do silly things. I know it’s one day at a time. It will get better.
Sometimes after bad things happen, after the storm, it takes time to find footing. I’m still finding mine. My surgery left me weak. Our nation, this world, we as a whole will need to find our strength again. It will get better. Remember who you are. You are strong. You are funny.
Sleep. It’s the thing I am obsessed with lately. I want more than my share. I’m jealous of your easy rest. Why does something I need seem so elusive?
Sleep. It’s the thing I am obsessed with lately. I want more than my share. I’m jealous of your easy rest. Why does something I need seem so elusive?
I visited France a few years back and was surprised that Europeans are unmistakably more relaxed than Americans. If only I lived in France. My morning would start at 9:00 o’clock instead of 7:00 AM. I would have a long break mid-day when the town I lived in slowed to a crawl. Currently, this is the hours from noonday on when there is little respite.
I could change professions and have a lighter load, maybe. But in the states, the belief is in hard work. We have faith in the busy working day. Cram in more if there is empty space. Our vacations need activities to prove their merit. Worth, badges, honor, and glory are comfy pillows. We fluff them and tidy the trophies as we smooth our souls. So what if we gave up our vacation days. We clawed our way to the top of the ladder. Pats on the back for our commitment was our rest.
Once, I mentioned to my ex-husband that I wanted to spend a summer relaxing on the porch and watch the world go by. I love the breeze. Loitering. Doing nothing in particular. Quiet.
I do believe the thought fried his mind. He is a real go-getter. And when we were married, things were never still. He tried. As did I. Eventually, we had to part ways. No wrongdoing other than our pace didn’t match. As I’ve aged, it seems to be even more important that I pause. There’s time for breezes on the front porch.
Going back to work after my surgery recently was agonizing. It has taken sheer willpower. I hear the voices of people saying, “take as much time as you need,” or “if you hate your job, do something different,” or “get back in there.” Here I am at my desk. There’s a little more light each day. Hope. Friends. Love. Family. I’m not crying as often. That’s positive.
“Don’t rush your healing, don’t pretend to be okay when you’re not and don’t apologize for being broken.”Lizelle Gutierrez
This has been a real struggle for me. I say these things, so others feel understood. Life isn’t all rainbows and sunshine. No. I’ve had dark clouds and caves. I crave light. And I need to set my own speed. In the States, in modern times, I am continually working against the expectations of others.
I am learning to take short naps instead of working through lunch. I use my time off days. I’m going to extend my doctor’s appointment and take the day off. It’s approved. Couch time with the cats. And of course, I have prioritized my health. It is far more important than my vanity. If you took a glance at my nails right now, you would know. Sleep is more important than doing my cuticles.
Inside of you and inside of me is where the treasure is held. Nurture it. Guard it. Heal.
In my years of recovery from abuse, I’ve learned that a victim’s coping methods are smart. List making and stocking up on supplies are virtues we admire in others, but we can use them to hide also. It’s like procrastinating until it’s too late. I’m the same way, there are many healthy habits we can develop.
Creating small memories throughout your day is a great way to build a beautiful life. Totems can be made to honor your life. It’s an easy way to remind yourself of your values. You can have unique traditions or days of your own. My two girlfriends and I created our winter holiday in which we exchange socks. The holiday is our day. And it is sacred.
Only you are in charge of your life. Yes, others cause things to happen around you, but you are the ultimate chooser. Be well in your life today.
“Simply asking yourself the question, ‘How am I doing right now?’ is a gentle reminder to take care of yourself,” Hill Kooienga said. – HuffPost
Thanks for your patience while I am recovering from my surgery. Healing is slow but sure.
There’s a part of me still trying to prove she’s okay. The good employee. The daughter who loves her parents. But dammit I keep failing even those. Good is a lie. And honestly, my boss doesn’t want me to be kind. She wants a result.
There’s an ugly side of being too eager. In the middle of being the best is a gooey center of false perfection. For a goddamn moment, you think you’ve reached nirvana until reality slaps you in the face. All of the meatless meals and chanting won’t keep your lungs free from exhaust fumes. We work as we are able, living in as much grace as we are given.
One of my favorite YouTube creators recently shared that he is doing the 75hard challenge. I’d not heard of it before, so I went on the website to learn. It is WORK. If you want to feel you’re accomplishing something, here’s a plan for you.
Do 5 things a day for 75 days. No excuses, no stopping, no missing anything. If you miss something, or cheat, you go back to day 1!
- Strict Diet – No Cheating, not even one bite, and No Alcohol!
- Two Workouts per Day – At least one outside and both at least 45 minutes each
- Drink One Gallon of Water per Day – Nothing but clear, plain water counts
- Read Ten Pages per Day – Non-Fiction self help or business book
- Take a Progress Picture Every Day
We wear badges and gather tokens without realizing it. I accumulated my own display and allowed them to become my story. Look at me, they say. Like certificates on a wall, I displayed my trauma, my failure, and my illness as if they were the only parts which had a right to speak. But there are other pieces, the loving and healthy portions, which had every right to be heard.
Society is complicated, and so are the problems we’ve inherited. And yes, I said inherited. I doubt any of you created the homeless situation or understand the dynamics of solving it. For more info read The History of Homelessness in the United States. If the solutions were clear, they would have been done. Instead, the homeless are hidden from sight, bused from one city into another, herded like zombies in The Walking Dead. No one has a fix.
I question whether trauma takes an emotional toll on society’s collective soul if there is such a thing. I’m speculating. What would that look like? Anxiety and unrest? Anger issues?
Let me know what you think in the comments below. What are your opinions on society? Have you tried the 75Hard? I would love to hear your stories.
Just the Taste
Earlier, I was eating an apple and enjoying it. I was just eating the apple, nothing else, and it was delicious. The Crunch. The Juice. It was a delicious apple. So much of my eating has become a duty. Just enjoying good food is difficult because we are all so uptight about eating healthy and not overeating. I’m right there in the mix of it also. Sitting down to eat a whole gallon of ice cream isn’t enjoying it. That’s a compulsion.
Documenting my food intake is entirely not my style. Of course like everything I do, I volley between a strict watch to eating whatever I want. Until I get in sync with my body though, I feel I need to be aware of what I’m doing. My main problem is when I start to watch, I also begin to grade. I judge.
Surely there’s a better way of staying healthy. A relaxed way. Somehow to respect ourselves and respect our food. With honor.
A friend of mine recently had a baby. It’s one of those smell the roses occasions when family and friends gather. And there together we hold a precious new life. That baby, who moments ago just forced it’s way out of its mother’s body with such ferocity to cause most women to scream was sound asleep. Some women curse and have such a personality change during childbirth their partners don’t even recognize them. Bringing the now docile tiny creature into its new environment was a fierce activity. Both mother and child become war partners together.
From the moment we are born, we have jumped into the mix that we call life. If you believe in reincarnation, then your birth was part of the big circle, and possibly a choice you made. If not, this is your one shot life! Either way, we all have a birth.
Life is full of trouble, step in that shit! -not the BuddhaTweet
With birth comes the family. If yours is like mine, it’s quite imperfect. And sometimes actually violent. They might show up drunk to your wedding or set you up with potential dates so you won’t be lonely. My mom pretends not to understand what I’m saying. I honestly thought she didn’t remember stuff or was deaf for the longest time, and now I’m guessing she was playing her form of gaslighting. Why It’s So Hard to See This Form of Childhood Abuse
As adults, we have a few bruises to our psyche. Life is the ultimate obstacle course that taught us how to drive, and we know of nothing different. We develop quirks to help us cope. Keep your mouth shut and don’t tell the family secrets. Always clean your plate. Be polite. Don’t talk back. Hypersensitivities usually develop when children are traumatized at a young age. You might say some are trained to be fully aware of their surroundings.
Listen to your life. Listen to what happens to you, because it is through what happens to you that God speaks. It’s in language that’s not always easy to decipher, but it’s there, powerfully, memorably, unforgettably– Frederick Buechner
The strategies that made us are not the best thing to keep us healthy. We need to put away our childhood coping methods. The new software is required. We must learn new ways of caring for ourselves.
Your best protection isn’t cowering indoors. That’s a recipe for insanity. I know you’re familiar with stories of people who have tried such things — the crazed few. Knowing your truth is your salvation. What makes you smile and brings you joy? Find a way to grow your will power. Do something for yourself every day. Yes, it’s right for you to be selfish sometimes. Keeping boundaries and healing starts with your core. Begin by building your values, and your limits will follow.
People talk of spoons. You only have so many spoons a day. To some, this makes no sense. Why spoons? What about being poor with no credit cards. No cash. And your tire is busted. You don’t have $10.00 bucks and some lint in your pocket. There’s not a credit card to charge it on because you can’t get one.
The story of pain is about restrictions. Woven inside it’s barbs are reminders to go slower. Ease up on the anger. And always remember to rest.
Another way of understanding pain is to know there’s something always in your field of vision. It’s like a floppy hat you bat away but it keeps crashing on your face.
The teen who started the spoon story had Lupus, which is a limiting disorder. On the outside, everything looks normal. It’s the inside where things are not functioning as they should. It’s as if you have water in your car’s gas tank. There’s sputtering and stalling.
Most who suffer pain, try to hide it, even though it’s with them regularly. I know it’s influenced many decisions. How hard do I push in exercise? Not to overexertion. If I allowed myself to become dehydrated and too hot, it could trigger a migraine and muscle spasms. I’ve taken a lot of effort to prevent those, so moderation is better.
There’s a strange way of focusing when you have limited resources. It frees you to decide on priorities. It also lets you say no at times. Unfortunately, there have been times I desperately wanted to attend events, and I couldn’t. Understand it’s not an Ace card up my sleeve. I never play it like that for a reason most apparent. When I need it, I want it to be real.
I try to live optimistic, thinking of my dreams, but I have to keep my limits in view, to know how much I can accomplish each day.
How do you handle your pain or other limits?