Some thoughts on overextension, reactivity and healing my wounds

I may have over extended myself yesterday.  When we have had so much emotional pain and sadness, its only natural that we would try to reach out for good things or happiness due to the feeling that we have missed out on so much due to our trauma.  But sometimes I have noticed in this situation I tend to over-reach myself and then I end up doing a little too much or going to far out of my comfort zone in a way that isn’t nurturing.  I realise too late uh oh, I left myself behind and over did things.  I didn’t go gently.  And perhaps I was unconsciously pursuing something due to a fear of not measuring up to an outside standard when really I should have listened more to my poor old body and tuned into the truth in my heart.

My therapist has now been away for 2 and a half weeks and I think that not being able to talk to someone at depth twice a week has really affected me.  I booked into see the chiropractor on Tuesday and that day went well, as I was able to have a slow relaxing day with my dog Jasper.  We went to the park, I met up with a lovely friend there and her dog, I took myself out for lunch and then went to the chiropractor on the way home, after which I had a gentle afternoon at home.  I slept very well that night.

Contrast this with a day, like yesterday.  I did too much and as a consequence I ended up only sleeping until 4.30 am this morning.  There were two or so points in the day when I felt that I was overextending.  The first was in choosing to go with the group for a coffee after the yoga class where I had a lot of emotion come up.  On reflection it may have been better for me to have gone home and shared my feelings in a blog as I was feeling quiet tired after feeling all those feelings.  (I did end up doing this later on though, but I felt very dissociated as part of the group yesterday prior to it coming home, I didn’t really feel going for the coffee was taking care of myself.)

Second over extension was in going for an oncology massage.  I know that the massage in and of itself did me some good.  I had not had oncology massage before and it is very gentle, but didn’t really contain much massage, only massage to the legs, the rest consisted of Bowen Therapy techniques to the stomach and shoulders (my left shoulder has been very twisted around following my breast surgery in March).  I could only get a later appointment in the day.  It was a very very wet day here yesterday.  The therapist works in a centre I had not been to before and is in an obscure location.  I managed to get there but by the time the session ended it was getting late and I still had to go home and make dinner.  It was all just too much to have crammed into yesterday and I am feeling the backlash today.

I am only starting to settle into a good pattern of sleep after many years of highly broken sleep due to issues of complex PTSD and on reflection I felt much, much better on Tuesday evening than last night.

As I said I have now been awake since 4.30 am and am feeling quiet tired and I was also feeling quite overwhelmed.  I rang Lifeline (a telephone counselling support service) and spoke to someone an hour ago as there was so much running around in my head and in these situations it helps me to externalise if I can talk things through.   And part of what I realised was that yesterday I just did a bit too much and the massage stirred up some painful feelings around my surgery.  I am missing Katina a lot.  Issues surrounding Christmas with my family are coming up and I am having to work hard to maintain my boundaries and not self abandon or self sacrifice.  Phew!!!

At the same time as all this is going on I am realising there is a fine line in recovering between stirring up repressed issues and feelings and just letting things be.  There is so much in the past that has occurred for me that has caused pain and I am not entirely sure if stirring it all up is always a great idea.   There is a time when a wound needs to heal.  We can not just continue to pick the scab off it time and time again.  Ideally in time when we give it enough of the right attention and aeration and allow the wound time to heal, the head of the scab naturally comes away from the wound all by itself.

At the moment this is how I am feeling about all my past issues.  I know for sure there is so much from my past that I wish could have been different.  There is so much from the past that I will never fully ‘get over’, much as pressure from the world dictates I should.  Sorry world but some issues don’t ever resolve and some losses will always hurt although in time we do find a greater peace, in my experience.

I am also seeing more and more clearly where staying trapped in past pain (with not enough support to deal with it),pain over what was actually outside my control has limited my ability to heal and move on.  It has motivated to make me feel I had to do something totally inappropriate when really doing nothing and letting things be would have been a much better response, one that would not have led to further trauma.

And I am beginning to see how often, taking action may have involved for me a subtle flight from feeling, especially fear of feeling discomfort, grief or pain.  I have learned that grieving is a process and mourning takes time but also that grief does stir up a huge amount of fear and reactive defences for human beings.  We only need to look at the state of the world at present to see this in action. We will do anything not to feel that pain, so we react.

However when we allow the full process of grief, pain, darkness or sadness and don’t block it, opening to these feelings naturally leads us towards a kind of wholeness and acceptance.  On some level the breadth of our soul is enlarged or takes up more of a residence within us.  When we are heard or hear our truest, deepest emotions there is a kind of liberation that occurs.  We open the door on truth and our hearts.  In allowing feelings of pain or sadness a space in the light of our own or another’s presence, these feelings have an ability to transform and release, they may even reshape us.  We open our sights to deeper awareness and we often find compassion for others too.

I know there are times when emotions of rage and a very deep anger raise their heads again in my own life.  At these times I enter the burning ground in this grieving process again.  And then, in time, these feelings give way to something calmer and gentler, something much like like love, acceptance.  The price of holding onto old pain, resentment and anger is then revealed as too high a price to pay.

This is when the softening comes, the deeper recognition that much as we wish it were different, life must be accepted on its terms, the realisation that it is up to us to find a way to celebrate the best of it while recognising that the worst of it, in bringing us to our knees, forced us upon a journey of healing that taught us essential lessons of the heart.

Maybe then I may be able to drop my restless seeking, recognise the difficulties that come as a result of over extension and find finally a place of rest. Maybe then I will develop the capacity to make the hard decisions, ones that in causing me a necessary pain or discomfort will in time allow my wounds to heal at their own pace, in their own time.

 

 

2 thoughts on “Some thoughts on overextension, reactivity and healing my wounds

  1. I really relate to that fine line between stirring up old wounds and letting feelings come up in order to heal them. One is not helpful, the other necessary, but how to tell the difference?

    I too search for the right balance between over-extending and doing too little. Somewhere in the middle is the sweet spot, but it can be very hard to find.

    Do you find massage brings up trauma feelings, besides reminding you of your surgery? For me that’s a problem – it’s too intense, and I end up shutting down automatically in order to cope. Not what you ideally want from a massage. It does sound like oncology massage would be a great thing in the right doses.

    1. Yes that’s exactly it Ellen. Massage can bring up trauma feelings for me. This one yesterday was gentle but I think even just lying on your back (or my back) re-evokes memories of being in the ambulance twice flat on my back with someone hovering over me. I can differentiate that I am NOT there (in the past) but lately a lot of memories of having to climb on the operating table myself prior to my breast surgery have been coming back and I have felt so angry they made me go through that. No one I have spoken to has heard of this happening before I was not even put out before being in the actual theatre with the lights over me. Anyway. I am so deeply unsure about yesterday’s treatment. It was very gently as I said, but today I am all out of whack. I find those days so frustrating.

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