Twenty-twenty’ing is hard!
Hi all! It’s me! Your neighborhood, friendly,
It’s been a while!! How’ve ya been? Silly question… I know. You’ve been twenty-twenty’ing like the rest of us (yes, I’m verbing 2020… it’s my new in-session survival word).
Working from home stress… working in public stress… out of work stress… back to school stress… school from home stress… home alone stress… can’t get alone time stress… All… The… Stress…
While we are twenty-twenty’ing, let’s just go ahead and serve it with some a la cart doses of world events, main stream media, and social media concerns… and the cherry on top: random guilt & shame for “not being enough…”
In the last 7 months, the population of our nation has been living through prolonged trauma. Because of that, life has felt a lot heavier for many. Some may be looking around saying “I had this! I was good at this in March, April, May… but now I am struggling!! HARD! And I can’t seem to do what everyone else is doing!! WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!” Others are looking around saying “How on EARTH did you function even in the beginning?? I’ve been swimming upstream since March 13 and I’m exhausted…” Meanwhile, there are the lucky ones who have been able to say “I mean, this isn’t ideal but so far I’m adjusting pretty well… life goes on!”
Do you relate to any of those thoughts? I want you to internalize this: everyone is experiencing this trauma (these traumas) and no two people respond the same to it. Please do not compare your experience with others’ experiences. If this is hitting you extra hard: it’s not a shortcoming, a character defect, or a weakness… If you’re floating along just fine: it’s not denial, lack of empathy, or a super human spidey-strength… Our responses are just those: responses.
The organ of the brain is such an incredible and complex system. Unique as a fingerprint. The intricacies are both primitive and novel. And sometimes the primitive brain (some refer to this as the “dragon brain”) takes over because it is cued to respond to a perceived threat… and the primitive brain does not always align with the logical brain that we have all grown to love and trust… That’s a watered down version of a trauma response.
If our brain cannot connect a new perceived threat with a threat it has survived before (for reference on how to handle the situation), it defaults into SURVIVAL MODE… and that is EXHAUSTING!! In short, your sympathetic nervous system has been working overtime without hazard pay and without meal breaks for several months in a row… and if you’re in the “exhausted” phase of it all, your body is attempting to recover from the boost of “wake up!!” hormones this survival system has been sending to your brain (those were the same ones that made you hypervigilant and maybe made it hard to sleep and concentrate).
If you’re getting to this point and thinking “but I haven’t been scared of anything… so obviously my brain isn’t taking this as a trauma… but I’m still struggling and still exhausted.” I need to remind you: trauma is the perceived or actual loss of power and control. State shutting down: trauma. School closing: trauma. Social unrest: trauma. Loss of income: trauma. Pandemic: trauma.
Well, there are a lot of things and I’m sure you’ve heard about them ad nauseam… So I am going to start with the main ones.
So in short… remember my mishap in the beginning?? Referring to myself as Spiderman?? Well clearly, I am not he… and he is not me… and I am no superhero at all. None of us are. So why hold ourselves to those same standards?
We are human. We are grieving. We are loved. We are worth it & enough.