My son has a natural tendency towards negative self talk when he is stressed. Things are ‘never’ going to happen or he is ‘always the worst’. Working with him on these reactions, I became very conscious that all of us have positive and negative voices in our head trying to drown out the other. But we also have a power. The ability to identify and amplify. We have a microphone that we can chose to give to any of those voices to help them overtake the debate. In crisis, the negative voices are already louder than normal. This makes it even harder to hear some pivotal information that our minds and bodies may be trying to send us.
There are a few very pivotal moments throughout this year that I feel were life changing. Some were a necessity of the circumstances, some were conceived using calm sound judgement, and others were mini miracles of luck and the ability to follow my body’s natural instincts. This was the latter. The first morning that I experienced the internal alarm clock of dread it was 3:30 in the morning. No matter how hard I tried I could not get my brain to slow down. Just when I thought I could get some breathing under control, I felt all control release like a semi truck without brakes trying to navigate a curved steep decline. I was at the mercy of my emotions and thoughts. Neither one of them was my friend at this time. The hours passed until I was mercifully allowed to get out of bed and start my zombie like day. The next night after collapsing again from the mental odyssey, I awoke again. The levee that had temporarily held my emotions at bay while I slept disintegrated in an instant and flooded all of the synapses in my brain with every version of suffering feelings that exist. I knew I was going to relive the same living nightmare from the morning before, but then my brain found one shining light of an idea. It was a whisper at first. However in that moment I feel like my intuition found one break in the negative energy. Understanding that this may be its last chance to communicate with me it uncharacteristically shouted: “Get up” “Just get up”. Just as quickly the voice was gone. But the idea implanted itself in the cycle of my brain. How did this happen? What is wrong with me? How could I be so stupid? “Get Up” the voice said. Fuck everyone involved with this! God this hurts? What will happen to us? “Get up” it repeated. What did I do wrong? You are such a weak fool! “Get up” it finally demanded. My mind could catch this and it engaged my sense of reasoning. I knew what laying there was going to feel like and I could never go through that again. “If you are awake, just be awake” I told myself. It was 3AM. I went downstairs. It was quiet, peaceful. The madness and hurt was all around me but, for the first time in days, (perhaps it was years) I was listening to my body. Now I was awake, but so what? It was warm that May. I saw some running shoes that had never gotten the use they were intended for staring at me. That original voice popped back for another direct message, “Move. Just move.” So I grabbed my dog who was shocked but thrilled at this early morning appearance and went for a run. The sky was still dark, but I started running. I felt certain muscles in my legs begin to heat up. My arms began to sway and my shoulders loosen. I was actually running faster than normal. My heart rate began to match the pace of my brain cycles. Now please note that I am aware I was not in anyway solving my negative brain energy. All I was doing was making my body race as much as my mind. I was literally allowing the fight or flight energy to run its course. As I jogged through the park near me, all the feelings were still present. However now I started seeing similarities in my body functions and traditional emotional responses. Perhaps it was just my level of fitness( or lack thereof) but my running breath felt similar to crying. It felt good to have salty liquid around my face and eyes. Many times I wanted to stop, and in those moments I did slow down to a near walking pace, but I did not stop. Then something magical happened as my body and muscles began to tire, I felt my negative mental cycle begin to slow as well. Mind and body were becoming more in sync. I looked out along a grassy field and the sun was rising over the NYC skyline. I saw something that I felt was beautiful and I allowed myself to stare and experience it. When I returned to my house my body had tired , but my negative thoughts had already found their second wind. They were stronger and were soon right back to their overwhelming pace. I still had no answers, but for the first time in this whole experience I finally had something. I had one way to slow down this demon. Even if for a short time. It had a weakness and that gave me a chance.