Thank you for NH for helping me with this post. We had a lot of fun.
At night, our frontal brain, our thinking brain, is not so occupied with work and daily activities. So it becomes a bit of a problem because you now have time to think and thinking is anxiety. Also at night is the time where a lot of us feel unsafe. Either from past traumas – I think of the screaming fights my parents used to have – but one generally feels unsafe at night. Anxiety is higher and therefore the Limbic system is on alert and all our symptoms are worse.
Waking with anxiety is common. Waking and thinking about things even commoner. Finding problems where there aren’t any. It would be easier to deal with these problems if they actually were important enough. But why am I thinking about getting Mayonnaise at two in the morning? Even though I can tell the difference between a big and a small problem, my brain won’t co-operate. I just can’t seem to shut it off. Going in circles in my head. The same story over and over again. Why can’t I just drop it like a hot potato. Or put it in the bubble and watch if float away. AAAAAHhhHhhh
Are these worries? Hell yes! I tell the little Judy in me “Oh Judy. You’re thinking too much. hmmm. That’s curious. You’re anxious”. This can be your body’s way to try to control your environment. Buying Mayonnaise is so do-able. Solving the actual triggers to your anxiety is so much harder. Even facing that thinking about the Mayonnaise if your body’s way to distract you from the real danger which is causing anxiety.
The more you try to control every part of your life, like having enough Mayonnaise. Damn Mayonnaise. Don’t even like Mayonnaise – for the hubby. Where was I? Oh yes – control. More we want to control our environment and the people around us and the things they do – the more anxiety we have. The more energy we use. The more tired we are. The more pain we have. Because all of this is lighting up your Limbic system and causing pain, and fatigue, vomiting or diarrhoea or disease – take your pick.
Sometimes it helps and sometimes it doesn’t. What really helps is doing the work necessary to relieve the anxiety before we’re locked in this prison of spiraling useless conversations in our head.
Prevention is very important but incredibly hard to do. it’s very hard to find a routine and the route can become ridiculously boring. Even the Daily Program. LOL But – It is worth trying to do the breathing – no – not trying – there is no trying – only doing – doing the proper breathing Step 2.
Often our bodies and minds are fluctuating so it may feel like the program isn’t working anymore. That makes it harder to stick to a routine. But your Limbic system craves routine – one of the reasons why, when you go on holiday, you can come back sick, even though you enjoyed yourself.
No easy cures, unfortunately. Just hard work. Harder to do if trauma has you frozen – avoiding doing things, withdrawing. It is important. Holidays are coming up and they are particularly stressful.