Mindfulness Tools When Overwhelmed
Happy New Year. I hope you are all as well as possible!
Our EDS makes it seem like life is NOT structured in our societies for our needs & issues, and everyday living is just harder or not an option-we live differently due to necessity.
I want to share some kernals of wisdom I just got from my latest therapy session, in case it brings you relief too.
I have had a very challenging few months of poor health with little respite(subluxations, POTS, gastric issues, depression & anxiety). It wore my resiliency down, and I’m very quick to cry and wallow at the slightest little failure in a day.
It’s like my bucket is full from dealing with all my hEDS crap (pain, weird body reactions, isolation, loss of employment, lack of social life, less sex) that any extra droplet of hEDS stuff overflows my bucket and the ugly snot crying happens. Crying can be good-great release of tension & grief, but when it’s uncontrolable and many times per week, you feel downright depleted & hopeless. One such droplet was trying KT tape again, then remembering my extra velvety skin means it doesn’t adhere, or it harms my skin, so NOT a tool I can use. Sent me into heaving fits of tears as it was my solution for keeping my knee & ankle stable so I could SLEEP!
While there is PLENTY that completely ruins our lives with this condition, we must put our energy & focus to work FOR us, not let it drag us deeper into depression.
First & foremost, we need to care for ourselves. We need to love, nurture, care, be kind, be gentle and nourish ourselves. Ask what you can do RIGHT NOW, this hour, or today to lift your spirits, restore your energy, lighten your burden, etc. and do it FIRST. Like on an airplane, put your mask on first so you can help others with theirs. Self-care will give us the energy restoration we require to do what MUST be done.
After re-energizing, prioritize your list of MUSTS. What absolutely cannot wait? That is numero uno. Then decide if there is a stripped down version of the task that MUST be done. For example, if dishes need doing, (after self-care), can you handle the ones you will need next, or rinse everything for washing later, or load a few into dishwasher(if you have)? Some things may need to be put on back burner-prioritize & choose to address the most important only. Do ONLY what is possible.
Next, we watch & attune to feelings of being overwhelmed. This is a cue to tell us we are thinking too far into the future. Some thoughts/ examples could be what job can I possible keep & do with my disabilities? How can I do this for years & decades? Will it ever be better? Will I always be in pain? Will it get worse? Statements invilving “never” and “always” are also good flags to notice when getting overburdened. Check in with your thoughts: are you thinking beyond today? It’s too far in future & may bectoo big. Are you thinking beyond this hour? Sonetimes that is too far. I KNOW I can handle the next hour, or an hour at a time, so hourly check works best for me.
If we can recognize this is a waste of energy & harms vs. helps we can choose differently. Taking on all a life with EDS is, is too much for me to fathom. That’s like trying to eat a whole elephant in one sitting. Chunk it out instead. Cancel the thought train to worry and instead ask what do I need today? How can today be the best of the day it is? Right now that is too big for me to digest, so we chunk smaller. What this hour do I NEED? What this hour can I choose mindfully to do for my well-being/life?
I’m struggling with career identity. What CAN I consistently do that generates income? Again, given my current energy status, this is too big right now. I must table this productive thought, and focus on my first priority-restoring energy via self-care. This is the best use of my time this hour/today.
In truth, even able bodied folks can really only tackle today. Do only today, not the future, and do what you NEED for you. Be very nurturing, so loving, kind and gentle with yourself. Energy first, then tasks. Chunk out in smaller bits to manage.
I hope this transmutation from future doom & gloom to mindful focus of energy helps you. It brought me peace to focus on what I CAN do vs. can’t, and to throw out self-pity in exchange for blessing my current hour/day instead.
May you be well, happy, and peaceful.
#HEDS , #overwhelmed , #ican