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.