It dawned on me the other day whilst out riding my bike, that I am missing something with all my writings. I am missing getting this message to many more people that may be in need that I do know. And importantly, missing the clarity to allow others to see the possibilities of recovery.
Yes I've been here encouraging and supporting others and giving alternative therapy examples, but as I fully know, when you are not in a good place, physically or mentally and struggling, information needs to be clear and concise for it to be noticed. For others to see that taking action is in fact possible and achievable can change the outcome. If you agree then read on!
Having a mind set change and looking at an issue from a different perspective or angle can and will have a huge influence on how we progress.
I talked about awareness in my previous blog post. I am not sure many people actually saw it, haha.
I am a very small voice in a huge sea of noise. But that doesn't matter because it's out there for when anyone is ready to find it and read it. I have done my bit to highlight things. I have had some amazing feedback from people I didn't even know were following or reading. Wow, I am truly humbled and honoured to have helped, bless you all. We have to be ready to acknowledge we actually need help and then to accept it, to reach out to grab and outstretched hand, as maybe we can be too stubborn to accept it or just not used to getting any help. Hey been there too lol.
I cannot emphasise this enough. When the penny drops and realisation hits, then it is more than likely, we take a dive and emotions may surface. Anger, rage, tears, the need to scream or completely shut down. Trust me I've had them all. Answering our own questions and coming up with our own conclusions is definitely not the same as voicing them to someone else.
Being heard is a huge burden lifted. Being aware of your own reaction and response is awareness. The old saying being, 'take a breath and count to 10' before saying or doing something, is exactly the right thing to do.
There are so many ways of explaining how are dealing with issues, as we are all completely different, and let's make it clear, PTSD is a label for others to help understand what's going on. We as a species, like to rationalise and process things as it's what our brain tries to do with everything, to find a logical reason or answer to everything right?
For example: A tyre is inflated and working correctly or it has a puncture and it's leaking, or in fact, it's completely flat. Even this we label, inflated, leaking or deflated. We have either witnessed it or seen it, so we can picture it in our minds and it's logical. Now we can go about mending it, resolve the problem.
It's in 'dis-order' or in 'order'.
If in dis-order we can then logically think of ways to restore it to order.
PTSD is so complicated and the multiple of severities cannot be dismissed. We all react differently and respond differently depending on our coping capacity or saturation levels at that given time.
Whatever it is, it is affecting us in a way we don't want or wouldn't usually behave.
Keeping this simple and concise, breathing is a simple exercise and exactly what can help bring us to recognise awareness.
In a fire situation, after arduous work and in intense heat, you are aware of your rapid breath, gasping at the cooler air from your cylinder. For others who exercise, you may even be aware of your heart beating from your chest and even pulsing circulation, felt in your inner ear. Or the bodies reaction to a trigger may cause similar feelings and raise emotions. Noticing when it occurs and where it is felt in the body.
Becoming aware of our responses, means we can bring awareness to our breathing and thoughts and ultimately our reactions. Another phrase is to 'bite your tongue.' How many times have I done this, trust me I have wanted to take action against some people, especially when being confronted and it's not even my fault. Having to stifle my voice and stuff things down became the normal behavioural response for me. But it was emotions and anxieties being stored, manifesting and eating away at me without me being aware. The auto immune response of exceama showed itself later after retiring. Back to biting your tongue, being honest wasn't what some people wanted to hear. But then again I have been in situations where I have been asked by a casualty that is stuck in a car and in need of extraction, being asked, 'is it going to hurt if moved?' I have to answer honestly right? Or situations with senior management when they've been tasked with telling us we are doing more, with less!! Logic is lost when profit is sought after it seems. Holding my tongue could only be for so long sometimes. However I remind myself, it's not their fault. You see some people are just doing as they are told to do, to pass on the message or others so overwhelmed that we ended up being the vent they needed. Unaware of how their actions and words are going to taken and received, they just have to vent off, not even giving any thoughts to the consequences of their words. Hence I try to always encourage and inspire. One simple bad comment, may just be the tipping point for another.
The word 'Tired' in Fireman's Tired Eyes comes across as a negative word for a person struggling with depression. The image it conjures up can have an effect on them for hours, days or even weeks. Once on the downwards spiral, it can be difficult to stop. But it came about for me because I had literally seen enough. I had reached saturation point I guess. It seemed appropriate at the time for writing my books. I am fortunate that I chat to a friend who has had depression for many years. He like me is honest. This is how we learn and make progress.
So now I am aware it makes sense to change it right? Hence I am using 'FTE' much more.
I want to lift others and show them that there is hope. I have worked hard on myself since leaving the service, dropping to levels I never knew existed, but by using many exercises and techniques, until now I had just enjoyed them, doing them because it felt natural, but now after much studying, I know the science behind them and why it has helped me. Gentle exercise helps release the vagal nerve and brings us back to a normal functioning of our nervous system.
With continual practice we can help build a resilience to controlling how we respond.
Breathing is just one of them. Something we take for granted. But maybe noticing more as we breathe. Where it goes into your body, inflating the torso and not just the chest, is it deep or shallow? Is it into the belly or the lower back? Is it forced or relaxed? Now you are possibly trying it. You now have awareness and you are also in control.
How deep you inhale and exhale is up to you.
Inhale 1...2...3...4 / exhale 1...2...3....4 or whatever feels comfortable for you.
If you try this for 1 minute, you have given yourself permission to just be. To be in the moment. No longer distracted with everything that is going on.
Your attention has gone inwards. You are just being and becoming aware of your body.
Not whacky after all. Noticing where in your body you may have aches, where you are holding onto tension and how good it feels to stop. If only for a short time. Aware of your breath and the stillness within yourself.
A change of scenery and stopping can and will make a huge difference to how we deal with our day. So if feeling down, give yourself permission to stop and rest, maybe listen to upbeat music and breath. Pausing and checking in ourselves is incredibly important.
Try it for a while and journal the responses and any changes.
Steps to recovery and order starts with acknowledging what is in disorder.
Awareness and action.
It's within us all.
Remember how resilient and strong you are!
Don't believe me?
Well look back at how far you have come already.
You should be.
And Breathe....it's free!