Day 21 – Reflection Entry
Updated: 21 hours ago
Day 21 - 365 Day Journal
I am very pleased that the symptom seems to have eased somewhat. Another full day without the symptom – yayyy! 😀
I think that both the Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy I am currently undertaking plus my own mindfulness and meditation practice is having an impact on this. The IFS sessions are helping me find and be able to process deep emotions from both the time of the original trauma and in the situation that occurred recently.
We are so accustomed to suppressing our emotions that they can get pushed down so deep inside that we then don’t realise they are there.
In respect of the original trauma, this makes sense. I was a child and didn’t have the space or language to be able to explore those emotions and feelings and hence they were buried deep within.
In the most recent situation that occurred, I was shocked to have someone so close break my trust in a way that resonated so much with my trauma (which they knew very much about), that I immediately went into ‘Freeze’ mode.
Most of us are aware of the Flight or Fight response to stress, but there is also the Freeze response. This is where we effectively play dead in a situation in order to survive it rather than flee or fight it.
In both the original trauma and the most recent situation it is this Freeze response which caused the PTSD symptom to occur. By suppressing our emotions down so deep that we are not consciously aware of them, we rely on our emotional mind and body to work these things through for us. However, the emotional mind and body do not have language in order to be able to express what is going on. Instead, we experience things like physical sensations, lack of sleep, flashbacks or nightmares to let us know that some deep emotion is there ready to be processed.
Addictive behaviours are also a symptom of this suppression of emotions. We get caught in the addictive behaviour as a coping strategy to ward off the unpleasant feeling (anxiety, loneliness, boredom, depression...) that nudges us to let us know something is within that needs our attention. However, we don’t fully understand the unpleasant feeling and we are not widely encouraged to delve deep to figure it out. Instead, we are sold product after product to consume to self-medicate… sugar, alcohol, clothes, social media. The industry of consumerism relies on us not feeling great in order to sell us things we seldom actually need.
The behaviour we choose (sugar, alcohol, clothes, social media) triggers a hit of dopamine through our pleasure-reward system in the brain in order to relieve the unpleasant feeling in the here and now. Since this feels good initially, we continue ignoring what lies beneath it.
We repeat the addictive behaviour each time we get this uncomfortable feeling (anxiety, loneliness, boredom, depression...). This then becomes ingrained within as our coping strategy. The brain has it stored like a computer programme. This is why will-power is not the tool to overcome any addictive behaviour that we have. The brain is stronger than that. When behaviours are ingrained in this computer programme coping strategy, the programme will overpower will-power more often than not.
Emotional therapies like IFS are great at delving deep inside to find what lies beneath so that we can finally acknowledge it and process it. Meditation and mindfulness practice help in this as they teach us the skills to become more self-aware and to learn how to be in the moment with ourselves. When we experience challenging emotions or feelings this is super important. Rather than ignore them and supress them, we need to learn to acknowledge them, sit with them and really feel them and this then helps us process them.
I am super grateful for engaging in emotional therapy (IFS) and with my own mindfulness and meditation practice as I know it is all helping me to process the PTSD response, my original trauma and the recent event that re-activated my PTSD response.
Things that were awesome today:
😀I cannot express how awesome the 10km Time Trial on the rower was today! I was on cloud 9 for most of the day after this! I will be writing a blog dedicated to this as it was more than just a PB for a couple of reasons.
☀The warm Spring sunshine
🐣A lovely Easter Sunday lunch from a local pub
❤Time with my mum enjoying Easter lunch
Things that I am grateful for:
I am grateful for the opportunity to live life to the full and experience so many things it has to offer us.
Caffeine, Alcohol & Alcohol Free Beverages
Strength & Mobility
Veggies & Fruit
Meditation & Mindfulness
Morning – Silent meditation
Before bed – Guided meditation
I ask all readers to be respectful. This is an honest and heart-felt account of the struggle I have incurred.
I thank you in advance for your respect and kindness and I encourage you to sign up to my mailing list so I can notify you about new blog updates.
If you are struggling with any of the issues raised in my blogs please get in touch. Your conversations with me will remain confidential. Please note that I am not a therapist but I can support you to find a way to address any issues you may be experiencing.
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