Saturday, October 18, 2014. I mentioned in a recent post that I was swallowed up whole in a swarm of hives last September 23rd as I read a text message from my daughter that morning about a terrible car accident she drove through unscathed the night before. My hives are still here. Still acting up. Still communicating with me via the largest organ in my body — my skin.
I just had the idea of Google searching “hives chakras stress.” Very interesting. As I clicked a bit, also, through the list of links that appeared as additional search avenues on “hives anxiety” at the bottom of the first search page I had to chuckle. Get control of my anxiety BEFORE a stress appears? Sure. OK. Yeah. I’ll get right on that!
If I don’t want to drown, stay away from water.
I get it.
But, having experienced very little that wasn’t extremely traumatic from the moment of my birth I had more than my fair share of stress-related alterations confining my developing physiology every step of the way as I grew into this world. I essentially live in an anxiety (terror) built home-of-a-body.
I am yet again reminded of an article I read and took notes on back in 2007
The study described clearly shows the alterations in empathy processes that happen with early disturbances in safe and secure attachment for little people. I endured the horrors of abuse consistently for the first 18 years of my life. I am an “insecurely attached” individual. I have a serious “attachment disorder.” Call it Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). Call it an “disorganized-disoriented insecure attachment pattern.” It no longer matters to me one bit what I or anyone else might “call” the patterns my body-brain uses in its interactions with life in this world.
But I do know I will never have an optimally-operating attachment system OR a concurrent optimally-operating empathetic response system.
Take a look through the information I posted at the above link. “Rock-n-Roll” method of being in the world, and I am not talking about music.
I have so much pain, sorrow, suffering (etc.) built into me that I CANNOT escape feeling if I am within “contagion” distance of another human being that I become a living emotional backlash ocean of pained response. Back to me comes all of my own only-slightly-masked pain. I set to resonate with another person’s suffering as if there is no tomorrow. And no yesterday. Body memories related to suffering from trauma so easily becomes ALL THAT I AM.
How do I pull back from the edge of that brink once I find myself reacting-responding-resonating so painfully with somebody else’s suffering? Where are my boundaries that define MY reality as being separate from another’s? We are all connected. Reality IS that one person’s pain is SUPPOSED to be another person’s pain.
Humans, as shareholders within a social species, are SUPPOSED to be connected to one another. We are SUPPOSED to recognize another’s suffering. We are SUPPOSED to care. And we are SUPPOSED to ACT APPROPRIATELY in response to another’s suffering so that we can HELP THEM not to suffer any more.
In today’s world, certainly within American culture, the circle is broken in significant ways.
Who are we kidding?
Humans are not supposed to be changed in development through early attachment traumas so that they end up TOO MUCH ALONE — or TOO MUCH TOGETHER.
When I cannot stop my pain, my anxiety – which is pain and a response to the existence of my own pain and pain-in-the-world – when my “boundaries” are breached and I am swamped as in overwhelmed – I am being, as is not uncommonly said, “a part of the problem and not a part of its solution.”
Emotions and states of being are contagious. Fear. Anger. Happiness. (Yawning?)
I wonder why it has taken me this long to grasp a very simple fact? Anxiety is CONTAGIOUS!
It takes an entire bank of resources, known and accessible, to create protection against being consumed by powerful, environmentally-profound levels of emotional cotangents such as anxiety is.
Well, certainly a very sophisticated body-wash of mobilized hives is not the WORST thing that can happen when “defenses” fail. But my hives are certainly garnering my attention. ZAP! Hot poke at the very peak of my head. Hot itches, too close to my eyes and flashing up my nostrils? Flowing like red shadow patterns all over this body I call home-in-this-world.
My body is talking to me. All “symptoms” talk to us. We are designed optimally for optimal health. Anything that comes to us that is NOT about optimal health is a twist of fate for humans. A twist of consequence.
From what and for what reasons?
One of the first and most important (to me) facts I uncovered a decade ago when I began to study the physiological responses in development due to early trauma was that someone with an early abuse and neglect history will most likely ALWAYS feel DISTRESSED in response to environmental circumstances that would cause “ordinary” people to feel STRESSED. There are complicated reasons why this is so and many, many of these reasons are presented elsewhere on this blog.
Yet while I can kind of grasp the difference between STRESSED and DISTRESSED, I am at a stalemate in trying to think of any amped-up word to describe how what I feel of anixety– as a trauma-altered-development (TAD) person — actually IS compared to what “ordinary” people might simply be able to call anxiety (aka stressed).
Is it “disanxiety?” Could it more accurately be described as DYSanxiety? Early traumatic stress changes our development so that emotional (and physical) DYSREGULATION is built into us. Anxiety that we cannot regulate in “usual” ways is a direct manifestation of that dysregulation – rather than regulation – built very early on into our body including into our rapidly early- forming (birth to age one) right limbic (social-emotional) brain hemisphere.
It all comes down to being able or not able to downsize our discomfort and our experience of discomfort — and/or the discomfort of another person when appropriate (although we cannot literally alter somebody else’s own personal/inner experience of their own comfort/discomfort).
Trauma-built people have a nearly unbelievable, usually extreme disadvantage when it comes to being able to self-soothe.
What happened to us was the antithesis of soothing.
This absolutely DOES NOT mean that we can’t learn (A) when we need to comfort and care about/for our self, and (B) HOW to do this.
I think usually this process must begin with identifying when we are in an extremely uncomfortable state (my hives are doing this for me) and then finding healthy ways to create some kind of distancing for our self from any situation that is distressing us so much that our DYSanxiety is in full play.
We are aiming at a state of peaceful calm.
Most of us who were severely traumatized as infants and children BARELY know what this state feels like. We have to LEARN how we know what it is, because we DO know! We would not have remained alive if we had NO experience with this state.
We need to REMEMBER what this state of peaceful calm is and what it feels like. This kind of knowledge was SUPPOSED to be built into our body as the natural point of rest, of balanced equilibrium for our nervous system-self. Early trauma survivors DO NOT naturally have peaceful calm at the center of our life experience.
Or of our body.
There are times when we need to unplug from other people in ways that let us go off-the-air emotionally. Being overwhelmed is not health-producing and is not helpful to anyone. Survivors of early, devastating early trauma did not get a chance to form safe and secure attachment relationships that would have given us healthy, effective boundaries. We have to LEARN what these boundaries are and how to utilize and sustain them.
My skin is “supposed” to be my natural boundary-defining limit of my physical body. Yet Oriental healing processes powerfully recognize the error and limitations of this way of thinking. We are FAR more than our body! We are a complex of interacting networks and interfaces of which our skin might appear to be one surface that delineates us as an individual.
At this point I wonder if my body is actually doing a form of acupuncture on itself. Yes, my body is trying to get my attention. But more importantly I recognize that is trying to heal me.
I need to calm down and find any way I can to participate in this process. Off-the-air I go.
Here is our first book out in ebook format. Click here to view or purchase –
It lists for $2.99 and can be read by Amazon Prime customers without charge. Reviews for the book on the Amazon.com site are welcome.