So, here's the thing.
Last week, the ER nurse gave me such great advice - that bit about my body having a physiological response to every single thought, subconscious or conscious. He said I can break the patterns and change my physiology. He said that when my thoughts start repeating like a broken record, it's time to scratch the record and begin again.
Good advice. Excellent, actually.
When I took all of this to my therapist, as we talked through the strategies he recommended and the ones I have in place to combat anxiety that seeks to overwhelm and hold captive, Jana confirmed what I was hoping: I'm already doing all of those things. I've been learning and practicing these techniques for two years now.
That's why it sounded familiar.
So, why does this still happen? Why does anxiety simply put on a different mask and attack me from a new angle? Why can't I conquer it? Can I avoid this? Am I doing something wrong?
Here's what I'm learning: Sometimes the body simply needs to respond in the way it needs to respond.
A person needs to laugh, as laughter releases endorphins with a compelling list of positive attributes. A person needs to cry in order to take the lid off the kettle, let out some steam, release the pressure. If you train yourself not to cry - or worse, not to laugh - you're not doing yourself any favors.
Sure, we all need to learn how to manage the manifestation of these emotions so we don't laugh in a court room or cry at grand openings of supermarkets. (Although I have to say, I can get a little worked up over a new SuperTarget.)
But sometimes, you just need to laugh until you cry, cry until you laugh. The body needs to respond the way the body needs to respond.
When emotional trauma is severe, then the body's response can require medical attention or emergency care. That whole issue of my esophagus spasming like a piece of bacon frying in my chest? It was just an amplified crying jag. Instead of tears, my chest caught on fire.
Well, how about that. You learn something new everyday. And sometimes you learn something over and over again for two years, and it still knocks you down.
But all you can do is keep learning.
JJ Heller's song, "Have Mercy on Me," about living with her panic attacks is a beautiful complement to this, Tricia. She has been there and you can hear it in her music, much the same way we can hear it in your writing.
And all you can do is all you can do. You're on the right track. Hang on a little longer. Hang onto the promises.
Trish, someone once explained to me why there are so many emotions connected to grief. When God created Adam and Eve, he told them to multiply and fill the earth. Only their disobedience would bring death. Since it wasn't in his original purpose for mankind to die, he didn't create us with the emotions to grieve. That is why it is so difficult to cope when we lose a loved one. It made so much sense to me and I just thought I would share.
A friend of mine told me something very similar. Everyone always says, "Death is a part of life." When in reality, death is part of the curse, not part of life as God intended. It took a ton of pressure off my shoulders when I realized that dealing with death is SUPPOSED to be hard, gut-wrenching, and always changing...not just something that gets better because "he's now with Jesus!" Sorry for all the sarcasm! 😉
Preach it, sister--Ain't that the truth--
That's why I don't get so excited about "New Year's Day"--and why I'm do grateful formercies and grace each new day!
Tricia, I took some time this morning and read this post. So glad I did. My heart is heavy for the load you still bear, but praise to God that you are using what you're learning to help all of us. Let's get coffee sometime...would love that. -Lisa Hastings
...and keep teaching... 😉