Over the last 4 posts, we’ve had a good look at what happens in your body when you go into overwhelm. You know that feeling, it’s when everything gets on top of you and you just want to burst into tears and hibernate somewhere until it all goes away. Doesn’t matter if its work, kids, school, finances, partner issues, illness, chronic pain or a sabre toothed tiger popping up in the supermarket. Your body reacts exactly the same – it hops into the Fight or Flight Response at warp speed plus.
If you want to know more about the Fight or Flight Response (FFR) follow the links below to my previous articles on this topic
Last issue we touched upon some of the ways we actually keep ourselves in that Fight or Flight Response (FFR) situation and in this issue I want to look at how that constant low-grade FFR affects your health.
Actually it’s easy. Pretty much every thing you have a health issue with can be directed back to your lifestyle with a big emphasis on the amount of stress you deal with.
I know someone who has been in that Stress Response (FFR) pretty much all her life. It has badly affected her health, and I am going to give you the short version of those problems – and the way she climbed out of that cycle. I know this person very well indeed. It’s me. I tell you this not for sympathy, but rather to show you that you can be in the lowest place and still climb out if you are prepared to put in the work.
I was emotionally abused as a child, but it was so insidious I didn’t even realise it was abuse until a few years ago.
I lived in a town on the Cold War strike list. The threat of a nuclear bomb landing on my home town was very real. We lived in the shadow of nuclear power stations; built nuclear submarines. The IRA and Greenpeace activists were a constant worry.
I was a classical ballet dancer – with all the demands and stresses of that profession.
In 1980 I found myself on the floor of a shopping mall in the UK in the middle of racial riots. Noise, shrieks, glass windows crashing to the floor, youths trying to kill each other, missiles being thrown. It took another 20 years before I was diagnosed with PTSD. I had full-scale panic attacks almost every day as I pushed myself to live as close to a normal life as possible.
I’m an Empath and the world news of that era – war, famine, torture were constant on the news – I couldn’t handle it and had a breakdown.
My husband was diagnosed with a terminal brain cancer. I nursed him at home. During this time there was also problems with money, threats to have our house taken off us and so much more.
I collapsed, paralysed for several hours on the bathroom floor. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. I had been an elite athlete; I trained with Olympic athletes and ranked in the top 5% fittest people on Earth. Now I couldn’t walk across the room.
Recently, there’s been really tough financial situations; another breakdown; relationship issues….. the list is ongoing.
I say that I have lived my life in constant fear. To a certain extent this is true, but there were also joys and love and laughter.
One day my doctor told me I needed to stop working and start using a wheelchair. That is when I turned my life around. A wheelchair was not for me.
This seems long winded, but believe me it is the short version!
So what did I do to get myself out of this stressful, anxiety-laden life? That first step is the hardest – I recognised that I needed to stop living in fear and do something about where I’d ended up. I had to work it out myself as I had no help. It’s absolutely not a quick fix. This work takes strength and determination. And it starts with the breathing exercise I gave you in the very first post in this series! But MAN it is worth the effort.
More next time – I’ve run out of space!
Did you miss the previous posts in this series? Here’s the links….