Today is one of those days where my mind is chaotic and I have to focus on finding solutions rather than dwelling on problems. Sometimes it’s tough to see, feel or understand the fine line between thinking or analyzing a problem and dwelling on it. I suppose it becomes a dwelling type of situation when you can’t stop thinking about it and over time it becomes an addiction of sorts, or more simply, a habit of behavior or being that brings negative results. To your left is a section of my dream board and this is currently my focus; specifically, the solution/problem bit.
I don’t have solutions when I fall into some problematic situations like today and yet I refuse to dwell. On tough days the only way out are my 6 steps to awareness and recovery.
My daily survival kit – when the Hashimoto’s seems to take over (or, was it the morning get out of bed or we’ll be late anxiety attack?) – is honest and personal. I’m not the only one who suffers from downward spirals due to medical challenges or the weights of family and so I hope sharing my steps for gaining control helps others. And don’t knock the Nazi thing til you try it.
So this is how I deal and it works:
1. Become aware of emotional spiral. (try not to use words like “ fuck, I did it again” and save those words for the bedroom)
2. Feel and let go of the moment once awareness is made. It’s similar to feeling and letting go of a good yet painful stretch in yoga. You have to go through it to feel it to move past it. This combo between awareness and letting the emotion flow through stops the self-abusive words from flying in the head. Just breathe – as in yoga.
3. Remember that the Nazis kept the strong eyed and strong-willed alive in their lineups and thus, as evidence, this was how my step-grandmother survived the concentration camp, Auschwitz, she said. If she could survive hell we can all survive a spiraled moment.
Thinking of the Nazis usually does it but if not, I continue with…
4. Take a deep breath to consider who to call for help and whether or not it’s necessary. When I think of a friend the slip isn’t too bad and I revert back to #1 or call that friend. If this doesn’t work or when I think of my psychologist, I know the battle has hit the tipping point and will require a 100% devotion to new thoughts or actions immediately.
5. As though that realization plays the Nazi in my face, I gather up the courage to change what’s necessary at that moment to interrupt the slippery slope of what feels like insanity but is really a reaction to reality. Okay. Reality, insanity, same thing. I won’t argue.
6. Write, paint, get dressed and go outside with my camera, take a shower, jump up and down, think about The Art Cure ladies… anything necessary to keep the “Nazi” away.
If all of the above fails, I call my psychologist… but this morning I didn’t have to. I pulled out of an emotionally exhausting morning by taking the steps above. This very writing refocused my mind and allowed a different perspective which dropped the anxiety and offered the driver’s seat and keys back to me.
Then, just as I finished this state of calming down, I received a telephone call from a long time friend which brightened up my day some more by throwing in an extra reminder there’s another reason to be grateful for the good that’s in my life when I look.
The steps above helped give me control over my day and the choice for one with positive footing takes focused intent, otherwise the problems take over. If this happens, go back to # 1 and follow the steps again. They work with practice.
On to a creative project I go…
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