“Sometimes you feel things so much, so intensely, it becomes a new type of numbness, the oblivion of overstimulation.” – Leah Raeder
As someone who is trained in Reiki, I am very well aware of the theory of energy and how our bodies can absorb the energy around us. We also give off energy to other beings as well. I was slapped in the face with this fact this morning while I was watching a Super Soul Sunday episode with Malcolm Gladwell about his new book Talking to Strangers. I tried to hold my cat, and she wanted no part of it. I realized that I was a bundle of nerves and she wanted to get away from that energy.
I have been hyper aware of things lately. I always feel on edge. On the precipice of some sort of breakdown. This level of anxiety is unfortunately one I live with often. Maybe it is worse because I have MS, or maybe not. Either way, I live in this heightened state often. I don’t actually know if this has anything to do with living with a chronic illness or not. The only thing that could definitely contribute to it, is that because we live with chronic illness, most of us are home more often than the general population. As a result of that, I have more time to consume different forms of media. I find the realm of media in general, whether it be Facebook, news, or even TV or movies, to be negative in nature. My body tends to absorb that energy indiscriminately. If I watch something that I view as positive, such as a documentary I watched last night called The Biggest Little Farm, or more negative like news reports about impeachment and the coronavirus, my body seems to absorb it all. The documentary left me feeling hopeful and inspired. It made me think about my life and how I want to live a meaningful life where I impact the earth little and people positively. Then this morning, reading the news, left me feeling scared and depressed.
The days of me being able to watch things without being affected long term by them are over for me. What I have decided I need to start actively doing, is to provide my own self-imposed filter for the screen world that surrounds me. I need to start to reflect on what kind of state I am in before I start my day. Before I open my phone. Before I turn on the TV. Before I start talking to people on the phone. I need to ask myself questions like, “What do I need today?”, “Is my filter strong enough today to read the news?”, “Is it strong enough to have a conversation with this person?” When I first started thinking about this, it made me feel weak. It made me feel like I was signing out of life and wondering how I could be a worthy member of society if I wasn’t plugged in.
Looking at it more objectively though, I am not truly signed in right now. I feel like the world is a scary place and full of fear. It realistically is not. There is a lot of good in the world. Those stories just rarely see the headline of a broadcast. There is a man who goes to the same dog park as me who plows the park on his own time so me and others who use the park can get around even when it snows. There is kindness in the world. Of plenty.
What adds another level of confusion for me is that having an illness like multiple sclerosis makes me very intune to every feeling within my body. Often when something feels “different” or “off”, it is. That requires me to act before things get really bad. I think that kicks me into a flight mode when emotional things start to bother me. Trump will remain in office. That makes my heart rate go up, makes my vision a bit wonky. That is due to anxiety because that decision makes the world feel unsafe to me. What will he do next now that he has been given this pass? Will all women lose rights that we have fought so hard for? Coronavirus? Is this going to start an epidemic? I am immunocompromised. What does that mean for me? The world feels scary so my anxiety kicks in and all of the body sensations that come with it.
Reading over this entry, it looks very dismal and hopeless. I hope I can explain why I do not feel it is. Sometimes we need to take a break and be selfish. We need to check in with ourselves and give ourselves what we need. I tend to do this often and much sooner than I did years ago when I needed medication to pull me back from where I ended up. More frequent check ins like the one I did this morning, have made me realize what I need to do and to develop a plan. The plan for me is simple:
- Assess where I am in the morning
- Figure out what I need for the day
- Figure out what I cannot handle today
- Filter out things that won’t work
- Tomorrow, repeat steps 1-4
Sometimes it is perfectly alright to be selfish. Today, my vibration filled body cannot handle difficult conversations. I cannot handle the news today. I can handle upbeat music, painting with soft colours and time outdoors with my husband and dog.
The picture at the start of this entry is my scribbles that usually lead to me putting my thoughts together for this article. I will later turn it into a peaceful piece once I have processed what I need to.
Figure out what you need today and go get it unabashedly.