Tales from Times of Exhaustion #7 – painful awareness

It’s been a tough weekend.

After coming back home from travelling my ‘system’ slowly transitioned. And as the excitement, adrenaline, focus and determination left my body, I was left with raw overwhelm and overstimulation.

It’s difficult to describe what its like. I imagine it feels like if you’ve taken too much amphetamine. My whole body buzzing but in an awful way. Vibrating but out of sync. Grating. The cells of my body grating against each other. I feel nauseated – everywhere. And constricted. Everything is too much. Food, touch, light, sounds, thoughts. Not like a migraine where everything just hurts. No here, its like every little thing is an added layer of grating, out of sync vibration. It feels all wrong. In some ways it feels like anxiety. Or just too much adrenaline and cortisone rushing around. But it’s not like anxiety – well not like the anxiety I know. It’s got no point of reference. It’s just a physical thing.

My partner helped my out Saturday evening. Squeezing parts of my body firmly to help me ground myself. Then to bed early and I slept for nearly 12 hours. Felt a lot better Sunday morning until we went out to do some shopping. Clearly that was too much stimulation because my body got all funny again.

Today I am trying to make some sensible decisions. The day is not going to pan out like I wanted, that’s already clear. I have to adjust things…

In my therapy sessions we’ve been working hard on noticing and allowing. Noticing and allowing. Noticing and allowing. Bloody painful work that is. All this awareness stuff.

My therapist asking me every time I come and I reflect on things I am experiencing: ‘how would it be if you just allowed this feeling/experience?’ And every time she asks me I feel like panicking.

I feel like it’s too much. All this stuff I am feeling and experiencing. If I allow it, will I drown?

Noticing I can do – staying at a safe distance, observing rationally. I can detach. I can even talk about what I notice.

But allowing it. It’s a whole different ball game and I don’t like it.

But I know it. I know how to do it. I’ve done it. I just need to remember. And trust that I am going to be okay.

I’ve done loads of work on allowing and being with stuff. Five years of bodywork with a physiotherapist and after that prioritising massage therapy to help me stay connected with my body. I write about this allowing stuff. I believe in it.

But at times it just gets really, really tough to do…


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