Monday, April 13, 2020

The Low Hum of Imminent Danger

The low hum of imminent danger pervades our societal atmosphere with the novel coronavirus, Covid-19, invading human bodies, using its RNA to replace ours; and the line "we won't be replaced" sings in my head when I think of this, from the song Hell Or Highwater by The Rescues. 

It's complicated and simple. Shining a light to social inequalities, judgement, scarcity thinking; to how vulnerable the vulnerable among us are. It sucks. 

And yet. 
When this all first started that low hum of imminent danger felt familiar, almost comfortable due to its familiarity. I've lived with this before. Every day of my life growing up since I was about seven years old. 

I thought, oh, I know how to live with this. I will be fine. I remember reading briefly that oh hey, people who experienced trauma are at an advantage. Reading that reinforced. 

But I forgot that over time I could feel my body shatter my experiences into little pieces to survive. I forgot that once my body tracks the now with the then she responds as if the now is the then. But I was comfortable, confident, and complacent because familiarity made me think I was just fine and would continue to be just fine.

The first time I had a post-traumatic stress dream during quarantine it didn't have much weight, and I thought, oh, wow, I must be really healing well then. And then the pervasive thoughts of, "I'm a bad girl, I'm going to hell" and other deeply shaming disempowering things entered my mind. I thought, oh, okay, it triggered these thoughts again. So, as I agreed to do, I told my husband and the telling made it go away.

But then it happened again. And again. And again. But I would brush it aside, and just deal with the moment, just do what I can in the moment, I got responsibilities, I gotta fulfill them, I'll tell my husband as soon as I'm done with xyz, just a little meditation here and there, I'm fine, I'm safe, it's all good, go for a walk, take a nap, breathe;  until suddenly it wasn't all good.

The dreams were more and more frequent, and I was losing more and more control of them, waking up and going right back into the horrible upon my return to sleep instead of being able to choose something different. And they began to be present during naps.  My quality of sleep was wrecked. Thoroughly wrecked.  Crash and burn. I could no longer function. 

The cards two weeks or so ago said to watch my dreams, the warning signs there. Right there. But I didn't see them. I was too busy spiritually bypassing. To busy rubbing at the problem not seeing I was rubbing it raw and making it worse. 

I was not okay. 
I managed to do the morning meditation with people in the morning (something I'm doing every day this month in my meetup group, Tarot Energy Healing). 

I tried my hardest to be fine, because I had a remote Reiki level 2 class to teach that day, but I wasn't fine. I was PTSD triggered, and it would take more than a 20 minute nap, a meditation, grounding etc, to get to the point where I could be fine. 

I had learned previously that when I'm triggered, I need to stop. I learned that the hard way because I took a massage practical after being PTSD triggered and I did not give that woman my best. 

And I knew I had to say no. 
I had to admit that I was not okay. 
I had to not push myself to pretend to be okay.
I had to stop. 
And engage in the self-care that I needed to do. 

So I canceled the class last minute. I took the day off, refusing to look at notifications, email, FB, etc. I wrote in my journal about it, the special journal that I started after shelter-in-place began. I cancelled the Tarot class I had scheduled for the following day as well, keeping only the morning meditation/prayer of empowerment scheduled. I figured if I could hold it together for 30 minutes that morning I could do it again the following morning. 

I felt in my body, bone deep, that I had made the right decision to cancel the classes. But doubt crept in and it was oh so hard not to pull an Odysseus and look back. Oh it was so hard at times to not go into judgment. I talked to my husband about things. I slept. A lot, relying on him to take care of the household.

The following day, I was able to figure out how to handle rescheduling things for my students, (and it turned out to work well for them, my Reiki students in particular). I was able to take time for myself, recharge, reset, and stay out of judgment, reminding myself what my body felt like when I had made the right decision and followed through with it. I would have been useless to my students.

A lesson I see in this is that I can keep my commitments to others and take time to care for myself, that the people wanting to learn from me won't hate me for doing so. 

Another is it's okay to admit that you're not okay. It's okay to not be okay. It's okay to stop, to slow down, and take time out for yourself. Time out is not a punishment in adulthood. Just like naps. Kids hate naps, but as adults we like naps! Kids hate time out but as adults we are like yehhhssssss time out! 

And today, today I am much better. 
Yeah, this all happened on Saturday the 11th of April. Yesterday was good as I solved problems, consulted Tarot, got my plans ready for the day and the week, etc. Slept. A lot of sleeping. 

I set up some oracle cards, crystals, to help, but then added an avocado pit next to my bed to store any horrible dreams, trigger dreams and unhelpful energy. My sleep has been more restorative as a result. And the PTSD dreams have been quiet. Blessedly quiet. 

Note: To learn more about how the body breaks up trauma memories please read the book, The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk. It is amazing! Click for link to book

Also note: I only did light editing. 

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