At home ‘rehab’ for anxiety & life trauma

Yup, you heard me right – rehab for anxiety & life trauma – that’s what we’re talking about.

There is no heroin in this story, but there is addiction. There is no horrifically shocking event, but there is anxiety & trauma. There are no visits to The Priory, but there is a cottage in the countryside with a cat.

At the end of 2018 I was seriously struggling, my anxiety levels were crippling and the Christmas period was one of the worst ever. Since the trauma of my marriage ending nearly 4 years ago, swiftly followed by a year in bed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I had been working hard on my healing and recovery. My nervous system was so strung out for so long (even before the end of my relationship), couple that with being an ambitious woman rebuilding my life from zilch/ zero/ nada and throw in a few more seriously challenging life events over the following years – and the result is a very messy, extremely anxious, struggling through each day version of me.

It was hard and it was horrible. I only really realised the extent of the spiral I had swung down over Christmas, so I went to my doctor in early Jan and asked for help – I wanted Diazepam (quick fix chill drug) and he said no (the correct answer, as it is very addictive). He also said come back in a month. Which at the time felt a little like I had been left out in the cold, literally, as it was the first week in January. Until I picked myself up, reminded myself I am an extremely talented and experienced Intuitive Life Coach with a huge box of excellent life skills & tools – so I embarked upon my own personal, self prescribed ‘rehab’ – and I am very pleased to tell you – it worked – a treat!

While my house in London was being renovated I moved into my Mum’s cottage in Oxfordshire = peace, time alone & space (not mention my actual Mum & Saintly Step-Dad) – perfect! I devised a programme to heal my hideous anxiety, build my physical fitness, feel good about myself & my life, develop much better boundaries & stop vaping – a little addiction I had fallen for as a much loved crutch through all the above. Now we are only 4 months on and how I was feeling, and my life choices then, feel like a lifetime ago – it literally feels like I was a different person, because in many ways I was. I was being overwhelmed by my trauma behaviours and a racing, fearful mind – whereas now I have shifted the balance so I choose how I feel, I choose what I do, I am the powerful creator of my life, not the helpless victim.

Here is a list of what my at home ‘rehab’ consisted of in those first few weeks and months:

  1. I stopped drinking alcohol for a period of time and read Sober Curious by Ruby Warrington – I had slipped into drinking regularly to numb my feelings – never a healthy place to be.
  2. I step-by-step reduced the nicotine in my vape until it was at zero, then I ran out of vape liquid one day and stopped completely. (This was over a period of months.)
  3. I created a very simple morning routine – starting small. The worst time for the anxiety was often in the morning, it would envelop me as soon as I woke up; thinking of all the negative & scary possibilities, what could go wrong and worries about the day ahead. I got into the habit of thinking from my Chronic Fatigue mindset – that I couldn’t get through the day, that each task was too big and tiring to surmount – and this was not my reality anymore, but my mind had not moved on from it – it was holding onto the pattern of trauma thought. My morning ritual allowed me to interrupt this habit & thought pattern and instead choose how I started each day. It included:
    • 5 mins meditation
    • 10 mins yoga
    • 3 things I am truly grateful for (no lip service here – gotta really feel it)
  4. I had weekly therapy sessions with a counsellor – this was vital to understand what patterns of behaviour and thought had contributed to my downwards spiral – and the support and space to express my feelings with no judgement.
  5. I created some very clear boundaries around areas of life that had been draining my energy and causing more trauma and pain.
  6. I shared my ‘rehab’ experience by spending time with trusted friends and family members – the inner circle.

Sounds fun right?! It wasn’t that fun, but it also wasn’t that hard either, I had lots of support and took each step slowly, bit by bit. Very quickly I started to feel the benefits of committing to my at home ‘rehab’, I started to push past my comfort zone a little more, each step forward I took gave me a bit more confidence, a bit more energy and bit more lust for life.

I share this with you to be vulnerable and show you that we all struggle, even if we keep it private at the time. Also to show that we all have what we need within us to heal and create the life experience we most want. I happen to have had thousands of hours of experience and knowledge this area – so I could DIY-this-shit-baby – but maybe you need someone to help you set up your healing programme. And you don’t need to be ‘sick’, the Doc can even send you away and you still might need a whole heap of healing, love and care – you can give it to yourself & you can ask for it from others. If I hadn’t fully committed to this programme, and many steps after the list above ended, I would be no further forward than I was in January, and I would probably have been prescribed some medication that I don’t really need.

Now I am doing so well – I am finally getting back to peak fitness – going to the gym 5/6 times a week – eating clean – no vaping – loving my work – loving my family & my peeps – lots of fun & travel. I have taken huge leaps forward in healing from my anxiety and moving on from my trauma patterns – it feels like FREEDOM and it’s awesome.

Sending love xx

 

 

 

 

How to Heal from Emotional Trauma

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Trauma is a big and loaded word. In this post I am writing from my own experience of emotional trauma, and my healing journey, as experienced as an adult.

We often think of trauma in the frame of PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder) which occurs when an individual experiences a terrifying and earth shattering event, such a war zone. However we all experience trauma to a greater or lesser extent in our lives through our relationships, life choices and painful events. It’s also worth mentioning that what is traumatic to some, may not be to others, we have different nervous systems and different ways of perceiving the world and what happens to us.

My most extreme experience of trauma was in my relationship with a long term partner. During the relationship there were toxic and destructive dynamics which led to the end of the relationship, by which time I was utterly depleted. The somewhat messy ending and aftermath was additionally traumatic, resulting in an emotional breakdown and eventually the onset of an autoimmune disorder; physical breakdown. My life ground to an abrupt halt in many ways and I was forced to focus on my healing.

Looking back now I can make sense of what happened and how the breakdown was inevitable, although at the time I was spinning trying to understand and hold myself together. My body getting sick was perfect because I absolutely needed to take a big time-out to heal and learn crucial lessons.

During the height of the breakdown my nervous system was high alert 24/7, I had panic attacks when I left the house, I was anxious all the time, I was medicated…I was a mess. Here are some of the tools I used to facilitate my healing:

Journaling

Now when I say journaling, this was no ordinary journaling, I was desperately trying to make sense of my life and hold onto any shred of hope and positivity I could. I would write down positive experiences I had, nice things people said to me and affirmations. I would also write down what I was learning; how this situation had happened and revelations from work with healers and coaches. I took my journal with me everywhere and the most important part was re-reading what I had written. I used it to remind myself that there was hope, there was goodness and there were people and a universe who loved me.

Healing professionals

A huge part of my healing process was working with healers and teachers, such as reiki practitioners, massage therapists, doctors, psychotherapists, hypnotherapists and intuitive coaches. In my opinion, deep healing requires some external support and guidance. The time and money spent on these experts was invaluable to my health and wellbeing and to learning the soul lessons, which are offered to us in abundance during the darkest of times.

Connecting with and receiving support from the people in my life 

When we are at our most vulnerable, we are also at our most open. I had a number of incredibly touching and healing experiences with family members, neighbours and even total strangers. For example I went to have tea with a neighbour who I didn’t know very well, but I knew she was a kind and spiritual person. She offered to talk me through a type of meditation to receive clear guidance from God, which I readily accepted. It was so vivid and so meaningful, it gave me hope and love and gratitude.

Surrendering to the greater, loving power

I had my fair share of ‘come to Jesus’ or ‘on my knees on the bathroom floor’ moments. Those times in the dark night of the soul when you are utterly at a loss as what to do, how to cope and how to bear this pain. It’s in these times that we realise we cannot do this alone, that living life from our very limited ego self (or mind self) is futile, exhausting and impossible. When we have tried everything and we have nothing left, we throw our hands up to God/ the Universe/ our angels (or whatever you call the divine power of creation) and surrender control, asking for help and healing. This was hands down the most healing and life altering experience of my healing process. To learn that I wasn’t in this alone, that there is a loving force that is guiding me and holding me, even when it feels like all is lost.

It is my most heartfelt hope that some of these suggestions, and sharing a little of my story, will help and encourage you if you are going through pain and trauma. Please do feel free to reach out and tell me your story or ask questions about mine – I want to serve and support you.

Sending so much love x

Image credit: Pottercounceling.com