Bad crap happens all the time – but SHIFTS can happen all the time too.
The neuroscientist said this during the “Bouncing Back” program I attended a few months ago. She covered so much, but I was just 60 something days post the trauma of being thrown in the trash and virtually left for dead by the man I shared my life with, so things were still pretty difficult to absorb. They still are. I did learn that the brain will default to what it already knows how to do, especially old negative patterns- none of which I’d like to continue repeating. Certainly not the response I had during that fight or flight moment when my fiancé coldly said “I’m done,” after I didn’t apologize to him, sent me away and packed up and left our home. This has been time to recondition my brain, rewire my mind, sync up with my body, and get used to checking in with myself over many moments of a day. This is the most efficient way to create new circuits in the brain, and therefore invent new patterns — practice. Practice, until it becomes a new habit.
I had always been a strong-willed, fiercely independent and grounded woman with a solid network of family and friends. Depression and anxiety are foreign to me, rather, I am typically described as “an upbeat optimist.” I was never part of one particular clique during my childhood or adolescence, I simply followed my many passions, and although of course I felt outcast at times, I have been a friendly assimilator – on athletic teams, in play casts, choirs, and among fellow writers- part of many friend circles. When I was admitted to the psych unit a few hours after he indicated that he didn’t, in fact, care if I took my own life that night, the psychiatrist pointedly asked “if you are so strong and have this tremendous support system, why did you go for the pills instead of reach out for help?” At first I was stumped. I felt as if he had burned a hole through my core and was calling bullshit. That, is a question I will continue to answer, and also continue to examine because it’s so important.
How you respond to the issue is the issue. Another bit of research unveiled during the “Bouncing Back” workshop. Deep down, my unconscious level told my brain that it would not be “safe” to continue living with such excruciating pain. It was actually protecting me from any further harm. And, as my therapist says, I can see that protector as a truly loving piece that will do anything to prevent me from feeling horrible. So you know, I have to accept it – as it’s part of me and I’m learning to make friends with my mind, all of it.
Only now, these months later, I have developed a heck of a lot more compassion and empathy for that mind of mine. I’m not a regular mantra person, but I do repeat this quite a bit: Compassion flows in with the inhale, like the flow of the ocean – over and over.