- Spiritual Counsellor,
So many blogs I’m reading are about the writer sharing their painful experiences. Where readers comment and share their own experiences, and offer support for the author. It appears that resonance enables each of us to appreciate each other’s suffering!
So when I posted my last blog I decided to do more sharing, which hopefully would help others in similar predicaments. But when I think about sharing some of my painful experiences through my blog, I freeze inside, my breathing gets faster, I feel panic start to rise in my body and mind! So whilst I can share what’s in my heart relatively easily, I find it very difficult to disclose or share the experiences in my life that have hurt me most!
I suppose that’s how it’s always been for me! And I wonder if things will ever be different, for at age 64 some of my tendencies are well and truly ingrained! However, because of my reaction to the sharing prompt, I owe it to myself to take a closer look as to what impedes my ability to communicate my pain to others. So that’s what I’ve been doing over the last few days!
But as I searched through my memories of how I never wanted to ‘make a fuss’ or cause problems for my over-worked mother, other memories and emotions surfaced, creating a whirlpool in my mind of incessant chattering thoughts, that have made me feel crap! Because as the thoughts rise and I question, analyse, cancel them out, or simply acknowledge them, they increase! The chatter gets louder and stronger, and I feel tired and worn out from struggling to stay in control of my mind, and the stimulus to my emotions.
I feel worried that I recognise the pressure in my ears and the tightness and tingling at the top of my head! I know my blood pressure has risen because my heart beats faster, my breathing is more shallow, where the physical symptoms of stress are causing more fearful thoughts, such as ‘Am I going to have a heart attack or stroke?’.
This is a deep fear I’ve had since watching a woman die of heart attack on television when I was five. I’d woken from a nightmare, got up and went into the dimly lit living room where my parents were watching a film on our newly acquired television (before that we only had radio). I ran and sat on my father’s lap (I was a daddy’s girl)and as I nestled my head on his chest, I watched the screen and saw a woman running along a beach, breathing hard, clutching her chest. Her young daughter had just died! Her heart beat loudly... b.bang – b.bang – b.bang! Suddenly the beating got faster, then more erratic. Then, as she dropped down onto the sand, the beating stopped and there was a loud silence!
I can’t remember the name of the film, but can remember the impact of that short scene, on a television screen that looked very real to a five year old child, who’d already felt frightened by her nightmare! Since then I started to monitor my heartbeat. Is it too fast, too slow, is it going to stop! And yes, I have worked on this issue, it has improved a great deal, but the remnants are still there!
I wonder if I’m going insane as I know the irritating voices are mine, the arguments and distress are mine! And it’s my thoughts that are causing my distress. It scares me that I’m visiting old territory of past torment, that I’ve tried so hard to escape from! Torment that is like a volcano preparing to erupt, as the pressure in my mind makes me feel like I’m getting ready to explode, scream or whatever!
However, I’ve learned that even though this storm is in my head, I can still think! I can still take positive action other than getting carried along to the explosion point of uncontrollable action! And this calms me down! As I remind myself of what I know, I breath deeply as I tell myself....’I am C.A.L.M, my mind is C.A.L.M., my body is C.A.L.M.’ I allow myself to feel the calmness drizzle through my muscles. I take a few more calming breaths and feel the tension in my head reduce slightly. This gives me the confidence to do some more calming s
Cards by Chrissie Batten
tatements, before using EFT tapping to sort out the residual issues!
And even though I’ve been feeling bad for a few days, no-one else knows! Why? Because I haven’t told them! Ah ha – pattern apparent! Why didn’t I tell? Well for a start everyone has got their own problems to deal with, so why would they want mine! If I did tell hubby how I was feeling he wouldn’t have a clue about how to help me, or make me feel better (communication isn’t his thing!). And what’s the point of telling anyone how I feel if no-one can do anything about my problems? So, I persist in trying to work them out in my head! I repeat this pattern time after time, and this is why!!
I know how it feels, when intrusive thoughts fill your head until it feels like it’s going to explode. Where the cycle of fear goes round and round in your mind, because no consolation or answers can be found. Where there’s little sleep, because nightmares haunt your mind, even during the night! And where you wonder if you will survive this episode, or if your mind will ever think differently!
And even if you did want to share your dilemma, you don’t know how to start, or what to say, or even how to convey the intensity of what you are thinking and feeling! Who would understand you, who would know how to best help you, who would know how to make you feel better? And are your problems real, are they valid and worthy to cause such distress, or is your pain being caused by you because you’re over-reacting, making a mountain out of a molehill, making a fuss about nothing!
I’ve lived with mental anguish most of my life, and thankfully survived the conflicts my mind has caused. I honestly don’t know if that will ever change. However, I tend to try to live day by day now, and whereas each day was a bad day, for a long, long time, there are many better or even good days now, where life becomes precious once again! Until the next temporary depressive episode that is!
So when we face our darkest moments, even if there is one dominant, destructive voice we hear all the time, that tells us to do bad things, we have to remember that we have many voices in our head! And if we look and listen for it, we may find the voice of intuitive reason, that tells us we are strong, the world is a safe place, we are worthy, and that we will find the happiness we seek once we start to take more positive action.
When we’re caught up in our turmoil, it’s hard to steady ourselves if we just focus on the problems of how we think, feel and our negative experiences. But when we have problems sharing our worrying thoughts, our pain creates a bubble of mental and emotional turbulence, that can negatively affect us on every level of our being. When we feel overwhelmed by ourselves, life stand still! We can get stuck, going deeper and deeper into the pit of despair (as per one of my previous blogs). And if you can’t help yourself to find a way out of the darkness, you owe it to yourself to find someone who can help you do what you can’t! That's why I became a therapist - to help others avoid some of my experiences!
There are very few people I am willing to trust with my deepest, most painful memories, meaning I’ve had to learn how to cope with my distress alone, learn how to tolerate who I am, learn to recognise the warning signs that indicate I am not safe to look after me! Yet because of this way of coping, I have become extremely resourceful!
I used to pray for peace of mind, as though there was some sort of miracle that could immediately take away all the worries pounding my mind!. I know now that my mind is like a computer...if you try running too many programmes at once, it will crash! So I monitor myself, to try to catch myself before I get too low. And remember that even in our darkest moments we can learn from our experience. As when we focus on that new learning, which is what we need to do differently in the future, we cut ourselves off from having to experience the pain of our past!
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