You need to make a choice first and foremost. Do you want to change? Or do you want to stay the same?
Uncertainty breeds anxiety and anxiety creates fear that isn’t helpful.
Make a choice.
Do you want to really live?
Do you want to breed anxiety and CREATE fear in yourself until you eventually die?
The choice is obvious to me, I want to live!
I had the advantage of having already been in a deep dive of my mental health; a forensic examination of myself when the pandemic was first announced.
I had already decided that I was going to live!!! Especially IF (it was an if when I began) I was going to be made to live most of my life from my bed… I was going to live!
I was going to figure out how to live whatever I have left happy- because I knew that I needed nothing more than was available to me in my four walls! More than anything else I want to be an amazing mama!
I was angry and pissed off at the world for taking my life as I knew it from me at first..,, but by the time the pandemic started I was already in it and learning… and in many ways the pandemic has afforded me the opportunity to see the broad scale of human emotions and how everyone’s capabilities are affected in crisis in others on a larger scale.
It made me feel less alone. My awareness of my own processing has literally what helped me adapt as I went.
I adopted the concept of asking myself if actions I was about to take were serving me.
For a while, while I was first learning my way through living alongside my CPTSD, I was using a forced thinking pattern to “watch” my thoughts.
What I would do is: at a decision point I would consciously stop and ask myself… “is this hurting or helping?”
That was the language I used with myself. “Is this hurting or helping?” Just that question. Is this hurting or helping?
Then I would decide what service the action was taking, if any.
Then, from there I would decide what action I was taking; with all of the information.
If I made an informed decision to do something I acknowledged was harmful- I acknowledged that it was a coping behaviour and allowed some of it at first while I was first navigating. It’s amazing how much simply being aware of coping behaviours makes them so much less desirable!
I began to find more ways to help than to hurt- and I had the benefit of feeling the difference of what a lack of self sabotage can feel like.
I actually got to witness in the world around me, in real time the shift in the people around me from their own personal “balanced” demeanour; to one filled with fear however fear presented for them as the pandemic wave of fear overtook many anxiety sufferers, and created new anxieties for those who haven’t experienced it before.
It was informative to experience people around me experiencing and coping with post trauma/ active trauma stress cycles.
I experienced in myself the benefits of the self help/ health work I had already started.
During change or uncertainty there will be instability during calibration of the new circumstances always.
Change feels unsafe. Any kind of change. The brain is wired to resist change and find comfort because change is “scary”. The human brain can make anything scary!
Agoraphobia is a real thing that affects humans! It is the fear of being unsafe outside of the home- and resisting leaving home for any reason. To the majority of the population, this seems silly and irrational, but to a person with this condition- outside is life threatening. They believe it so much that dressing to go out can give them physical illness symptoms from the anxiety alone. Agoraphobia is an extreme example of an anxiety- but anxiety does create physical symptoms.
Physical symptoms created by anxiety/ depression cause real chemical reactions with real hormones being released into your system. Your physical body can not always tell what is anxiety and what is real – a stress hormone cascade is a stress hormone cascade. Same adrenal impact! Same emotional responses.
The mind is a powerful tool that impacts how the body responds. Awareness is the first secret to learning the craft of the tool. Mindfulness is the craft.
Mindfulness practices reduce anxiety and depression- which lightens the load of any illness and can heal central nervous system related symptoms.
I brought awareness first. Spent some time asking myself if things were hurting or helping me. Introduced more mindfulness techniques as I went, but in the beginning I really focused on my helping or hurting concept.
What I noticed as I was climbing out from rock bottom, is that the more awareness I found for myself…. the more I realized that people in general are not aware of themselves.
The pandemic has been a time of growth and reflection for me personally… but so was the year leading up to it and every year of my life preceding these ones. I am a growth focused individual. Progress and growth drive me, always has. (I’ve sloughed off the need for perfection so progress comes faster than ever)!
I have learned that people who have never chosen any form of self help are not even aware of their thoughts. They don’t recognize the patterns that they live in that are not helping or serving them in any way!
The choice is yours to make. Change or stay the same. The simple act of allowing awareness of your thoughts, and asking if your actions are hurting or helping you will bring you awareness of your thoughts.
I needed to change to stay out of my bed. You can choose to change and not do the whole rock bottom thing.
Awareness is where you begin, and hurting or helping was how I expedited understanding what I was doing and how it impacted my life.
What I noticed so much about myself by doing this, I simply welcomed awareness.