The art of meditation. It’s such a powerful thing. I have not done much of it, only self guided and that was very infrequent.
The opportunity came up for my wife and I to go on a little self care date night of deep guided meditation.
I was like, “Um ok, lets give it a crack.” I didn’t know what I was in for or what to expect. I pretty much spent the whole day trying to keep myself in check so I would not lose my bundle that night.
I could feel the anxiety stirring up my emotions like the wind does to the ocean. It was extremely difficult. Heart racing, sweaty palms and butterflies fluttering.
FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN!!!!!
I walked in to find the most peaceful space. Dimmed lights, abundance of cushions , flickering candle and deep soulful incense. It was nothing like I had experienced.
The class went for approximately an hour, spread into two meditations, breath work and a deep meditation. I found it quite easy to meditate and the deep mediation was so peaceful. Where some people experienced a lot of colors, I experienced a lot of feelings. Warmth, coldness and a nice version of pins and needles. Not intense like the everyday sensation of pins and needles but a different kind. I guess the only way I can explain it is a nice pleasant and non painful version. It was quite surreal.
After coming back to my senses from within the deep meditation it was a feeling of accomplishment. I had not felt so relaxed like I did in such a long time.
This is one of them occasions where I was able send my anxiety down a different path and I was able to choose and progress with the decision that I wanted. It overwhelmed me in the beginning but I got the better of it in the end.
This is something I will definitely be attending again in the very near future.
Fight or flight? The fight or flight response, also known as the acute stress response, refers to a psychological reaction that occurs in response to a perceived harmful attack, event or threat to survival.
I was once asked by my psych to tell her what I would do in a scenario that she had given me.
The scenario was, “What would you do if someone seemed to be following you as you walked down a street?”
My response was, “Well, it would all depend on the surroundings, who I was with, what characteristics did the person have etc.” I started to elaborate on the decisions I would make with the scenarios that were given.
“Was I alone or was I with my family? Was it just my son and I? What did the person look like and could I fight them off? Did the person seem to be picking up the pace or were they just walking the same direction as me but needed to get to there destination faster? Could I see any kind of weapon on this person?”
So many scenarios in such a short amount of time but this is how my mind precesses my surroundings. It can be pretty full on!!!!
I tend to go through this motion countless times a day when doing what society would class as normal activities, eg. catching a bus, making a phone call or going for a walk. A sequence of videos are played numerous times in my head of different outcomes to the scenarios. This is to make sure there are contingency plans in place just in case it all goes pear shaped.
Sometimes it’s like a full on step by step process and other times it’s just an overall plan. If any steps of the process are skipped or put out of order it can cause severe anxiety. I often find it hard to get back into sync because to me this can be a huge deal.
My anxiety has led me down the path of never having my licence. I want to get it but the thought of it freaks me out. I once had my learners but I let it expire as I felt the only reason I got it was to keep people quiet so they wouldn’t comment on it but unfortunately it doesn’t stop them at all. Society still feels the need to tell you that you can’t do this and you can’t do that because you don’t have one. Sure it may take longer to get somewhere but the destination can still be reached.
During my 18 year relationship with my beautiful wife it has been one thing that has been a topic of heated discussions. There comes a time when you block it out about not having the independence to do anything because you can’t drive. You start to think that you are useless. I will be honest, I had never really told ~A~ the full extent of my anxiety until not long ago therefore she never really knew the reason why I was not interested in gaining a licence.
By being open about my issues, I feel it has helped her understand how my anxiety issues affect things like, driving a car, going to a new park or shopping centre, making a phone call that I don’t want to make but I know I have to or even meeting new people.
This week has been a difficult one for me mentally. Not only because it has been raining for about five days straight but it’s also the first time since being a stay at home dad that I have let my son down because of not being able to drive and therefore not being able to attend Harmony or Swimming or even just to get out of the house. I know he is a 22 month old toddler who doesn’t realise that his dad doesn’t have a licence to drive but it doesn’t make you feel any better. It is a feeling of failure and not being able to do a common activity because the mind has a different path it would like to follow.
Before having children you had the ability to make decisions to go somewhere or do something in a heart beat. Whereas now it’s thinking ahead and planning for an outing.
One of the many things as a parent that I have had to come to terms with is that toddlers have no idea of time and it doesn’t help that I don’t either.
This particular morning was our first swimming lesson of the term and ~Z~ had decided to have a sleep in. We needed to be on the road by about 7:50am to be there on time, changed and in the pool at 8:30am. Remembering that the walk to swimming is about 20-25 minutes.
I pondered and pottered around while he was still asleep anxiously checking on him every 2 seconds.
It came to 7:30am and I woke him thinking, “Yep, 20 minutes will be heaps of time.” Maybe for a full functioning adult but not a 21 month old toddler and a half functioning adult. It was time to play with our puzzles and eat our yoghurt as slow as we possibly could.
I guess I was lucky that I had already been all packed up waiting to go so I just had to get him organized but this boy was certainly on ~Z~ time this morning.
It got to 7:40am and the anxiety had fully kicked in. I was freaking out. What should I do? Cancel swimming or go and be late? I try so hard to keep these feelings under control around him as I don’t want him to pick up on them but wow I was struggling. The clock was ticking. Really fast!!!!!
I got him dressed and strapped in to the pram. A huge feeling of relief came over me. We made it. We were out the door with a few minutes to spare. The walk was awesome. The swimming lesson was even better.
I decided I would take ~Z~ to a park before getting some food from the shops. We decided on a park that I had never been to with him by myself before. We had been to this park as a family many times but this was a new adventure for us.
I felt good about this little outing until it came time to leave. I was trying to think of so many reasons why we shouldn’t go. It’s too hot, it looks pretty cloudy, he looks tired, blah blah blah. My palms started to sweat, the mouth got extremely dry, the heart started to race. It was horrible but I knew I needed to do it for ~Z~ as I knew he would love it and also the fact that I needed to get food on our way home.
So off we went, sun blaring down on us, cool breeze in our face and sweat dripping from our brow. ~Z~ could tell me there were trucks, busses, cars, dogs and planes being loud around him but he takes it all in and enjoys every minute.
The playground was awesome, it had a swing, a climbing wall and also a slide. He seemed to really enjoy himself.
As we were walking home I was deep in thought about how great I felt. Another adventure ticked of the list. Once I got home I text my beautiful wife some pics from our outing. Tears ran down my face as I had mixed emotions, sadness because of the anxiety I went through before hand that nearly made me not go and happiness because I could push through it and experience the fun with my wonderful son.
Our first swimming lesson was much like our first harmony class but without the anxiety of the bus trip. Swimming is about twenty five minutes walk from home and since I don’t have a license (that is whole other story for another day) we decided to walk rather than take the bus. It just didn’t fit in with the time of the class.
As per the harmony class I needed reasons as to why we could not go. “Ooohhh, it seems really cloudy and it might rain.” Mr Anxiety was back again for another round of “To go or not to go?”. This game was starting to become a bit of a drag.
Like before, I fought with the demon and came out on top. Off we went to our first swimming lesson. This time my head was looping one thing over and over. “DO NOT LET HIM DROWN!!!!!” It was kind of a funny mantra but one that made me anxious. This also brought on the “judgement of society” feeling along with it. But we pressed on, through the back streets and alley ways we walked.
~Z~ loved getting out and about. It was good for me as well to get out of the house. I feel we are sometimes like a locked up bird that just wants to be free and sometimes I feel I could happily be a full time hermit in the safety of my home. I guess it depends on the mood of the day.
Swimming, it was nerve racking and overwhelming but such a joy to see a little boy learning such a significant life lesson and loving every moment of it. Like previous experiences, all anxiety was gone as soon as we were in the pool.
My scattered little head loves building up something huge that was never really there to start with.
When the lesson was over we strolled on home. I felt like I had just climbed Everest. Two massive milestones for me in two consecutive days.