Sometimes it’s hard to face my own inner trauma. Some days life throws me a mirror and in a blink of an eye, I see both my strengths and my weaknesses. I try to be kind to myself, to stop the monkey mind from over-analyzing all the “should’s”… but some days that is a harder task than others.
Finding Balance With Life & Work
I left for vacation on Monday and like many times before, I worked myself to the bone leading up to leaving. I seem to underestimate when I need a vacation and book it on logic rather than feeling. I logically waited until after some major events and by the friday I was on the verge of a meltdown. Self-employed is a constant moving target of balance. When I don’t work I do NOT get paid but I can’t turn up for myself, my clients, or my family if I do not rest. Lesson remembered… I say remembered as this is not a new lesson just a reminder of timing and to strive to break up my holidays far more effectively in the future. I had this notion that more time away and altogether is better… as the years go by this just may not be the case for me. Too long away is hard to catch up and sustain an income. Too far between breaks is not good for me. Meh, one day I will figure it out.
While we were away I had a mirror moment…I shut down. I sometimes forget how deep my own trauma runs in my veins until I am suddenly propelled there. There are times that being propelled into trauma seem like a total negative but in this instance, my trauma saved a life. You see I am heavily empathic and this means I feel everything. I walk into a room and my legs ache when someone with sore legs walks downstairs, my back seizes when someone has sciatica, and my heart races when someone is nervous or emotional. With all of this going on in my own body, I had to learn how to cope, or rather not learn, but survive. When I was very young, I learned how to shut down. I go beyond fight or flight and into freeze. My child self is paralyzed there but my adult self uses that paralysis to go beyond the physiological empathic response and to move into action.
When The Emergency Happened…
I didn’t understand this side of myself well until today. My stepdad slipped in some grass and landed on a wasp nest. Somehow with the grace of angels, he scrambled back up despite to knee replacements and made it up the bank. Shedding layers he made his way to the road and back to me despite losing glasses. Ashen and out of breath he looked at me and my highly empathic son and asked for help. The trauma kicked in here, I shut down. I shut down for my son, for the shock of my stepdad. Calmly and cooly, I began administering first aid. I used an integrative approach of first aid questioning assessing airways first and moving into action with essential oils lavender for stings and chamomile for pain and calming. In the middle of nowhere, I was hoping to manage symptoms either long enough for an ambulance or the 35 minutes towards a hospital. I got lucky the homeopathic and essential oils kicked in within 15 minutes and the Benadryl got us through the night. I got my stepdad through the most crucial 24 hours and now my journey is to heal me and climb back up the ladder of freeze to feel.
This game of trauma, up and down the ladder of pain and shut down, it’s a slippery slope. I try on nights like this to just honor where I am and just be grateful that I can slide where I need to in a crisis. As time goes by, awareness means I will climb back up with more ease. For now, I am simply present.