Yesterday was an interesting day because 95% of my patients came in expressing that they were in a heightened state of anxiety and/or their PTSD was triggered.
To be transparent, I can relate. The three “right” triggers appeared and I felt an activation happen. It would be normally crippling, overwhelming, sometimes terrorizing, agonizing and exhausting. Rather than go into my old program around how this would show up for me, such as loss of sleep, excessive nervous raw and unprocessed energy, or even intense reactions towards others, I used certain tools to manage what was coming up.
1) I redirected the energy by first grounding it through my body.
2) I redirected the energy through an activity to move the energy.
2a) More often than not, the energy has to be moved through an activity, for me, but in rare instances an activity can be simply sitting in stillness with what emotion is coming up. Even coming into a fetal position or curling into a ball on the floor is a way of holding space for whatever is coming up without any distractions.
3) I looked for something in my surrounding to anchor myself to the moment, the reality of now.
4) I didn’t ignore or try to push away the anxiety. Not even denying it.
5) I asked myself two very important questions:
a) what story am I telling myself about the moment, the current situation? Knowing that the story was just a mental projection based on past scenarios that attempted to foresee a future, that wasn’t rooted in the now.
b) (and this is a potent self-reflective question) what would the present moment look like if I didn’t have the history/story/story-telling that existed as part of the “old data” of the past?
6) Simply claiming and creating a space from whatever circumstance may have triggered the PTSD is a way to feel safe and get clear on what it is I am reacting to and noticing how it’s usually just a thought and that that doesn’t have to have the power it once did. Usually that elephant that we think is in the room is really just the shadow and isn’t really as scary as we believe it to be.
7) Not getting into the narrative around the experience but really just allowing the energy that is the anxiety to move through is more helpful than feeding or getting lost in the thoughts that are the narrative perpetuating the stress or disassociating from it (which isn’t helpful.)
I felt the energy having an expression and finding its way to a calm state. It felt grounding, empowering and the end result of what I initially “reacted” to dissolved. The energy had a way to work through and no harm done.
I’m no stranger to PTSD and anxiety but I’m glad I can find ways within myself to reclaim the present, giving voice to what wasn’t expressed in the past, and finding harmony through acceptance of what is, versus what could or should be or even may be.
I love that I can support others to do the same. If you struggle with such experiences of being human, feel free to PM me.