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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Positives and Negatives

I know a lot of us were hit hard by the election and went into tailspin. I saw anxiety, sleeplessness and despair in my friends. Like some, my anxiety eating went into overdrive, so much of the weight I worked so hard to lose has returned. I"m not a substance abuser, but members of my family are and that's spiked.

This sounds extreme, but let's face it. This wasn't a normal election or a normal outcome. And ironically, the people I've seen who have emotionally snapped were on the winning side, which tells me they're also afraid, but suppressing that fear and anxiety even more.

Here's a good tip on how to cope: its called Negative Writing. Twice a day, write your innermost feelings and thoughts. Do it in detail and really did deep. My biggest fear at the moment? I'm facing a lot of pain related to a long ago assault, to be honest. And in spite of the hours in therapy, I still harbor a lot of the residue of that event. I'm still angry, and now that my hips and back and foot are giving me more trouble every day, the more angry and afraid I become. And then I hurt even more. I do my best to hide it, to not limp, to walk even when my foot or my hip is screaming and to power through headaches till I'm physically ill.  My whole body hurts so much I was just getting ready to go get screened for Fibro, which my sister has.

I think positive thoughts, I do my guided meditations about fields of daisies and white fluffy clouds, and my positivity becomes sour and another source of anxiety.

The other night, I was driving home and listening to a book review/interview on NPR. The guest was a wildlife expert, who'd been horrifically injured on the job and left with chronic pain. The book they were reviewing and discussing was Back in Control by Dr. David Hanscomb. The core of the method the guess used was a practice of Expressive/Negative writing and mindfulness. I was intrigued, so I went to the website.

After reading about Expressive Writing, I started writing "Letters to Pain." And I let it all come out. I write about the pain and the fear, the guilt and the gloom and doom. I do it before bed, and when I'm finished, I tear the letter into tiny bits and throw it away. The first night I did this, I slept like a rock and when I woke, I felt calmer, refreshed and my pain was receding. But partway through the day, I crashed and fell asleep on the sofa... with the TV on and the dogs and KJ doing their thing. When I woke up, I felt less groggy and nasty than I generally feel after a nap. That night, I started working on sanding the wood floors in my living room. That's a task I'd put off for a couple years. I worked an hour and quit. Not much progress, but damn, a little every evening is getting it done.

Every day is a little better. My anxiety level is backing off. My binge eating is easier to resist. I'm doing tasks I dreaded and my mood is lighter. And yes, the pain...its about 50% down. I'm stunned.

Give it a try, I think you might be surprised. And it costs nothing. Here's another article by Dr. David Hanscomb:

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