Action: Smell essential oil blend in the aromatherapy inhaler when I felt triggered, overwhelmed, or distracted at work.
Intention: Use the essential oil blend to bring me back to the present moment when I feel triggered or stressed out.
Reflection: Some people call it a “power pause”. Others call it “mindfulness”. I personally call it a sensory grounding strategy that provides emotional support + cold/flu/allergy prevention by engaging my senses – smell and vision.
This week I’ve experienced symptoms that have not occurred in 3-5 years, maybe longer.
It felt scary on many levels because I couldn’t remember what strategies and techniques I used to cope with these symptoms in the past. Plus my current tools did not help or offer much relief.
Or…the coping strategies and techniques I did remember are not ones I wanted to use in the present.
This mean many phone calls to the BARCC hotline – one of my bridge strategies – and conversations with volunteers who talk me through my mental blocks to remember/discover/find other strategies and techniques hidden in the maze that is my mind.
One recurring theme came up in each of the many (7?) conversations this past week: being self-aware helps me get perspective and understand when I need to reach out for help.
aka empowers me to recognize I have a problem or am struggling and ask for outside help to get through the moment
Self Awareness – like compassion, empathy, perspective, resilience, and other topics I’ve written about in the past – whether directed at the self or others is difficult to learn and apply to one’s own life.
After 15 years in counseling and therapy…that is 15 years into my recovery and healing journey…I still struggle to learn the lessons and apply them in all aspects of my life. I probably will struggle with this strategy or concept for the rest of my life because I am human and not perfect.
And like those other topics I mentioned above, Self Awareness is an herb that adds spice to the recipe of my life. Sometimes sweet, sometimes bitter, yet always beneficial when looking back on my life experiences.
But, like I said at the beginning, this is not easy to learn and apply to life…especially for people with a trauma history.
*If you decide to try incorporating Self-Awareness into your life, please be careful and make sure you have safety plans, coping strategies in your tool box, safety nets and a support network in place for when the triggers and symptoms visit*
because the triggers and symptoms will visit
Today is Mother’s Day. This past week and into next week, my family is celebrating about 5 birthdays…maybe more or less?
For the first time in many years, I sent out Mother’s Day and birthday cards.
Why? When I might not get acknowledgement for sending them?
Intuition supported my feeling of wanting to acknowledge family special days to create positive memories that replace negative ones
I send cards and gifts to people because I like giving gifts to people I care about – nothing is expected in return
It’s part of this year’s gratitude practice to open myself up to giving, receiving, and letting go all that the universe has to offer (positive, neutral, and negative) with an open heart, mind, and spirit
To all fate mom’s who visit here: I WISH YOU HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY FILLED WIH JOY AND LAUGHTER
Slowing down has been an ongoing theme this year. Here are some concrete reasons for my choices.
I/we want to spend time exploring our memories and experimenting with different hobbies, activities, experiences to find joy again.
joy = pleasure = happy = content = relaxed
Feeling joy in our mind is different from experiencing the sensation of joy in our body and spirit too. All parts of me want to experience joy in mind/body/spirit together and AT THE SAME TIME without falling into triggers or panic attacks.
We’d like to experience this joy alone (amongst ourselves) and with other people too.
That means slowing down our current lifestyle to make space for big, scary changes.
The blog stays at 1x a week.
Goodbye to Facebook for the final time. Pinterest & LinkedIn stay for professional and practical reasons
More paper books, less ebooks
Knitting, cooking, sewing fun
More activities & experiences = more built-in exercise and play time
Sleep, meditate, relax, and go to related meetups
Limit internet & computer use for existing tasks and work/job searching
I tried living in the darkness and shadows with minimal technology and a lot of “old-fashioned” methods of getting things done. The best part about that lifestyle was learning how to “do” things without depending on machines.
I tried living in the “modern” world with its technology and emphasis on moving fast all the time. The best part of this lifestyle was learning how to utilize technology to help me achieve my goals without depending on others to take care of me.
Nowit’s time for me to find the sweet spot of lifestyle that makes me happy and continues to support my internal healing/recovery journey.
More big changes are happening whether I want them to or not.
I can make choices now to put support systems in place and flow with the changes. Or I can fight them until my face turns blue and I give in anyways. Which seems better to you?
So maybe this isn’t for you. And maybe it is. Either way, I hope you find ways to bring more joy into your life.
First article explains some history and defines the “Self” versus “Parts” and is written by Dr. Richard Swartz, Ph. D. For those of you who prefer other media, this page also has a video that summarizes the article.
I am doing research to support important work going on in the AlterXpressions system – internal as parts are “growing up” and changing roles; external because they are ready to communicate with the outside world and our counselor in particular
I honestly believe that most people, even without DID and alter personalities, are made up of parts or characteristics.
Sometimes those parts are in harmony; other times they are in conflict. Conflict makes coping with and healthy expressions of feelings difficult for anyone, but especially trauma survivors who’ve learned to shut down instead of feel.
The techniques and strategies here give options for working with and holding conflicting feelings at the same time without feeling helpless.
IFS can be used as a tool to bridge conversations with people who are wary of mental illness or have a hard time understanding/accepting/making sense of how symptoms appear to outsiders, but really do want to learn and help and be part of your/my/our lives.
IFS is what I used to explain all of this to my boss and supervisors back when everything almost blew up in my face. Before the legal name change, but after I separated from my family.