I never understood the concept of thinking about something every day until it was happening to me. You read articles about parents that lost a child years ago, and they say “I think about it every day”. I never understood how this could be the case, but now I understand how these thoughts appear every day. Whenever, wherever and for whatever reason it likes, my kryptonite dinosaur (otherwise known as Kryptosaurus Rex) will appear in my brain.
When Kryptosaurus Rex turns up, it can be jarring and he can definitely change the whole mood of my day. But mostly I try to realise that he’s just a memory like any other and I can still enjoy my day without that interfering with my thoughts. Sometimes Rexy gets the better of me, and sometimes I get the better of him. It generally depends how solid my mood was before he turned up.
Spending time reflecting on Rexy, and what he brought along, is a positive if you’re in the right headspace to handle thinking about it. There have been times where I remove myself from a situation, decide not to engage in something because I know how it will affect me. I see this as a positive. Knowing your own brain and body is an invaluable tool. Nothing can take away that type of insight and it only gets more perceptive with time. It’s really important to find out how your brain can be manipulated to see things in a positive and reflective light when Rexy turns up. For me yoga, writing in my journal (or blogging), talking to someone who I trust and who understands my issues, exercising, going outside or having a nap really help me handle things. But I’m not immune. I still have anxiety and I have days where even the smallest set-backs overwhelm me. But every day gets easier to realise what my body and my brain need.
One of the things that helped me, was when my counsellor pointed out that we all use vices of some form to help numb the pain. Drinking, drugs, sex, exercise, almost anything can be used to numb the pain, but these are the common ones. I started using alcohol to numb my mind and pretend nothing had ever happened. But when I realised that this is what I was doing I barely drank for the 6 months when my brain was the most muddled. It helped – I was less sad and I was generally healthier, so everything improved in leaps and bounds. Alcohol definitely helps in the moment – Rexy goes to sleep when I drink. But the next day Rexy comes back with a vengeance. When I drink, I exercise less, I don’t sleep as well (I think I do but really I’m just half passed out), I eat foods that are less nourishing and my body takes a few days to recover. When Rexy is already jabbing at my brain’s weaknesses, the last thing I needed was for my body to be in a less than ideal situation.
I’ve come to the point now where Rexy turns up less often and he’s smaller and more manageable. I know how to deal with Rexy better – I’ve trained my brain to recognise his presence, try to realise why he might’ve turned up, respect his voice and yet put him in his place. Rexy is a good reminder to take care of myself – drink less if I have been going out a lot recently, go to more yoga classes, get more sleep, get outside more often and eat more nourishing food. Rexy is there everyday but I’ve learnt from him and he’s learnt not to bother me so much anymore.