Emotional overload

We have black and white and shades of grey don't we! 

We have fear and love and everything in between them are like the shades of grey - the darker ones being derivatives of fear, the lighter ones giving the more positive emotions related to love.

Last Sunday evening I think I went through more of those shades than I have ever experienced inside 2 hours - and boy, it left me feeling like I had done 9 rounds in a mental ring with Mike Tyson!

When Mum died I promised her that I would take care of Dad, despite some strong inclinations to let him 'lay in the bed he'd made!' It's been an 'interesting' 6 months working out how I can meet that commitment whilst still being true to myself but I'm getting there - or thought I was!

Sunday night I went to visit him in hospital where he had been for the last 12 days.  Within minutes, infront of me, I had a frail old man, in tears, clearly scared of what his future holds.  It was pitiful. And despite all my aims to have a strong resolve, my heart went out to him and I got onto the bed and held his hand - taking me straight back to the moment Mum took her last breath whilst I held her hand!

We spoke about his fears and he calmed down.  But then he started telling me about how my brother called him regularly and it would be nice if I made an effort to call him more too!  Quantum leap from pity to anger in a oner!  Perhaps it may be something to do with the fact that he has no children, whilst I am juggling 2 children, managing the needs of the other disabled brother and also doing all of his personal and financial admin too - oh, and I have a business to run!  And, by the way,  has Ian come down to visit you in the last 6 months at all??....but good on him for making a phone call.  Yep, that anger seed is well and truly embedded!

There were then the tricky questions to answer;  "Why do all the people who came to your Mum's funeral not now come and visit me?" (because they came for her and only tolerated you for her sake).  The temptation to tell him the truth was overshadowed by the knowledge that the pain this would cause - so I swallowed the truth and desparately tried to come up with a plausible response that would pacify him without it being a blatent lie.  Then the trump card..."They are talking to me about going into a care home but I will only do that if I can come to one close to you so that I can see you and the children more." Just when you think you are all 'spent,' in flies another demand!

Would it be kinder to tell him that the kids don't want to see him and actually the only way I am coping is to have the excuse that it is a 2 hour round drive to visit?  Would that answer the questions floating around in his head and allow him to move on?  Or would it destroy him?

My answer .......

Avoidance.  Yep, I bottled it!  The inner turmoil of being honest vs wondering, could I actually manage it if it would make the end part of his life happier.....(to which I also don't have an answer) was like a snow storm - cold, frightening and blinding!

So why am I sharing this with you....? 

I share it because I suspect many people have been through similar situations where you feel utterly depleted and there does not seem to be much of a light at the end of the tunnel.  When I woke Monday morning, that tunnel was still dark.  

I don't like the dark, so time to find a light.  I talk to clients a lot about energy.  I had been pretty much sucked dry despite a good nights sleep so it was time for the first aid kit to be taken out to get me back on my feet.  There are 3 things in my first aid kit.  Tool 1 is breathing.  Yep, I know we all do it but this is a conscious breathing, a way that combines mind and body that restores a harmony and starts to get you back on an even keel.  It can sound a bit like Darth Vader has arrived but lieing in bed on my own, that seemed like an OK price to pay!

Tool 2 is posture.  When you are down, your body assumes a 'down' stance; shoulders slump, head drops etc and from here, it is very hard to access those lighter 'shades of grey' feelings.  So I made a conscious effort as I put my feet on the floor to stand tall, pull the shoulders back and hold my head high.

Tool 3 is my favourite - music.  I have a playlist on my phone of about 10 songs that NEVER fail to lift me.  They evoke happy memories, or just make my body want to dance.  So I may have got a few strange looks on the dog walk that morning as I boogied my way through the fields, singing (out of key) at the top of my voice but by the time I had got home, I was out of the tunnel and whilst the sun has not come out yet, Mike Tyson is out of the ring!

So this is the reason I share my story.  Even in the bleakest of times, there are things that you can do to MAKE YOURSELF feel better.  When you are in control of your body (breathing and posture) you feel less vulnerable.  And from a place of control, you make better decisions.

If you want to know more about this first aid kit or other techniques I use to move from those dark shades of grey to the lighter ones, you can find many of them here:    http://amzn.to/1qO4TNL

I'd love to hear if you have ever felt like I did Sunday night.  What did you do to get yourself out of that dark place?  Would  it help to have your own first aid kit?

I'd love to hear you thoughts so please share them with me in the comments box below, I will really appreciate reading them  x

Published by Caroline Cavanagh Clinical Hypnotherapist and author of Anxiety Alchemy. on |


RE: Emotional overload

Caroline - this rings true on so many levels... I was not conscious of having a ‘toolbox’ but I guess I do a bit. Now you mention it though , I am going to work on identifying what works and utilising those tools in the future. Thank you xxx
Commented by: Samantha Townsend on Saturday 27th October 2018 12:41:39 AM

RE: Emotional overload

Still waiting to get the music downloaded! But thanks for reminding me about my posture and breathing- above all that I'm not alone when I feel so full of'doom and gloom'. Now off for a walk in the rain to try and lift my spirits! I love the picture of the tree and all it's glory. Better day maybe tomorrow? Hope so xx
Commented by: Liz Earley on Saturday 6th October 2018 01:12:01 PM

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