Yesterday was Halloween and I was too busy watching my Superman and Supergirl be cute to write. So, here are your Monday Musings on a Tuesday. A little warning for those of you who are susceptible to intrusive thoughts. You might want to skip this one. Instead, check out this great TED Talk from Brene Brown on the power of vulnerability.
From time to time I get what I call “the worries”
I wake up in the middle of the night for no apparent reason and I worry. It starts out slowly. I roll over, barely awake and a tiny mad idea enters my thoughts like a whisper.
Monday morning, around 1:30am I heard, “What would you do if the house caught on fire?” Sometimes these tiny mad ideas go in one ear and out the other, but this one decided to stick around, and I made the fatal mistake of answering the question. For the next two hours, I tossed turned going over, and over, and over, in my head exactly what I would do if the house caught on fire. I thought about every possible situation and how I would get the kids, the dog and my husband all to safety. Meanwhile, playing like a broken record in the background of my mind is some obnoxious pop song that I heard earlier that day turned up full blast. Then, for the finale, I thought about what I would do if I couldn’t get my family to safety. I did finally fall back to sleep… barely.
The next day I was a zombie
I had that fried electrical wire feeling that I know all too well from my days when I was battling postpartum anxiety. I have more tools now than I did back then, but it’s still just as hard… and in a way, it’s harder. I’m supposed to better, healed, over it… but the truth is, and this is a hard lesson to learn, healing and recovery are not linear paths. We want them to be because we believe in phrases like, “stronger every day” and “be better today than you were yesterday.” These motivational phrases are pure gold because they speak to the value of incrementally inching towards something better, but they aren’t true all of the time. Sometimes today is way worse than yesterday. Sometimes you feel like you are back to square one.
I said to my husband
“I’m just not very good at coping with worry.” He corrected me and said, “Yes you are! You handle these thoughts much better than you used to.” and then he said the best part, “I’m glad you told me.” Two years ago a night like that would have taken me out for days and now I feel better faster. How I react and my relationship to my worries has changed and my confidence has increased.
The groves of trauma and losing people I love run really deep, but I find that over time the edges have become less steep and therefore easier to climb out of. I’m no expert in this, but here are a few tricks I use to help me with my worries.
- Tell someone! Find a non-judgemental friend or family member and tell them what’s going on now. They love you and want to help you.
- Get up, walk around, splash some water on your face, do something to shake up your thoughts so that you can put them back in order.
- Meditate: I do guided meditation with the Headspace App and right now I’m working through the Focus Pack. He has you pick an object that doesn’t have a lot of emotional value to it and practice looking at it through the day with a soft focus. The other night I conjured up the image of the rock I use and it really calmed me.
- Journal: Get those thoughts out of your head and onto paper. Write down the worst of the worst for as long as you can and then write 5 things for wich you are grateful. I got this technique out of Katie Dalebout’s book, Let It Out: A Journey Through Journaling. It really helps to reset my thinking.
I’m starting this new thing where I send out an email with links to what I’m into for that week. I collect the things I’m enjoying like recipes, books, podcasts, and workout moves and curate them all in one beautiful little email that gets delivered to you every Friday. If you like this and want to see more be sure to subscribe! Happy Monday my friends!