We survived covid-19.
Or did we?
Did your life and work situation change during the crisis phase of covid? Are you opening back up and leaving your house more, starting to socialize with friends and loved ones?
Are you having panic attacks, or a quieter sense of overwhelm as you begin to circulate in the outer world again?
It’s not business as usual. In the process of trying to resume your life, don’t be surprised if the shock of putting on the brakes so suddenly, starts to bubble up now, as you try to put your foot back on the gas.
What is happening when you feel overwhelmed, overstimulated, anxious, ungrounded, or shaky...just from leaving your house?
Let me give a basic description of how overwhelm plays out in your body. See if any of this sounds familiar.
Your nervous system is beautifully designed to sense threat, and hard-wired to go through a sequence of self-protective measures to avoid or escape threat.
First your orienting response picks up novelty in your environment. Was it that car you caught out of the corner of your eye? The smell of smoke? The way the electrons in the air change when a storm is stirring?
Next comes bracing. You begin to tense, very subtly, or in a bigger way. Your “hackles go up” as you begin to mobilize to deal with the threat you oriented to.
If the danger comes closer, your level of nervous system activation elevates even more, and you move into a self-protection response.
Your body automatically makes movements to fight or flee. Your arms go up to protect your face from the windshield or push an attacker out of your boundary. Your legs tense and get ready to run. Your heart rate goes up and your face flushes. Your eyes orient and look for the safe escape route.
If you activate fight or flight, and they are ineffective, your level of activation goes off the charts.
Your capacity is overwhelmed and you go into freeze to preserve yourself.
The energy of the unsuccessful fight or flight gets locked down in your body underneath the immobility of the freeze. If it is not successfully discharged, it gets stuck as bound energy in your body and auric field. This undischarged energy becomes symptomatic causing “nervousness”: disturbed sleep, body tension and pain, a neck locked in an interrupted orienting response looking right, left, up or down, anxiety, or digestive upset to name a few.
Trauma is what we name this overwhelm. The stimulus has gone beyond your capacity to dissipate it from your system. The elements that get stuck in your body are sensation, memories (images), behaviour (body movements that are locked), affect (emotions), and meaning (conclusions about yourself, safety, the world, your capacity.)
When we work together to ease the overwhelm back out of your system, each of those elements may bubble back up on their way back out.
So what is going on right now as you try to get back into the flow of life? Why should going to the grocery store, or your local farmer’s market put you into overwhelm and make you want to high-tail it home, when you have been holed up there for over 10 weeks already?
I think we are feeling is an aspect of trauma called Boundary Rupture. It’s a bit like your protective skin has been torn off, and you feel exposed and extra-sensitive.
There you were, going about your life within your normal boundaries and parameters.
Very suddenly, a world-wide, life threatening danger was declared.
You can’t orient to a virus...because you can’t see it, smell it or hear it coming...and anyone could be carrying it even without symptoms. All you can do is orient to any person coming too close to you as the potential threat.
So if you stay inside, your alarm bell goes off less often. As soon as you walk into a public space like a grocery store, that alarm bell goes off every time someone comes into your boundary. And your perceived safe boundary is now bigger than it ever was before: 2 meters around you in all directions.
For some of you, the fear is more about getting sick. You know you are vulnerable. For others, it’s about getting disciplined if you do something wrong, like screw up the new social rules.
Many of you, who are very sensitive, and already have thinner aura boundaries, are also orienting to the atmosphere of collective fear and tension. You sense it energetically, and brace against it.
In this situation, your activation is likely not getting as high as a fully expressed fight or flight. So you have been hanging out in a low-level state of activation and bracing for...oh...about 10 weeks now.
If you have had other threats piled on top of the threat of illness, such as financial fear, fear of losing a loved one, among other stresses, it’s probably been pretty hard to relax and bring that low level activation down. The world feels unsafe and you can’t convince your nervous system it ain’t so.
One of the big things that soothes us is close contact with other human beings. No can do.
Now you are told it’s ok to start circulating in the outer world again, but the shock induced by the initial full-on screeching-to-a-halt, and the rupture of your previously safe boundary, is still present and un-processed. You feel like you are walking around with very thin skin. Every little disturbance or contact can leave you feeling shaky.
I can help you with this. One of the cool things I can do as a healer is track where the boundary is in your energy field, and what kind of shape it’s in. We can connect with the overwhelm in your body/nervous system/energy field and tend to it. I can also do work to strengthen your boundary energetically.
The bullet of covid 19 caused damage on the way in, and it also causing damage at the exit-wound as we come out of isolation. If you are feeling shaky, drained, or locked down inside, let’s take a look and get you grounded and cleaned up.
The world is an unstable place right now. It needs all the grounded people it can get. Your personal life task of healing your own trauma, contributes to your world task of becoming an anchor in the chaos.
I’d love to hear in the comments below if you are experiencing this turbulence as you re-enter the world, and how it is showing up for you.
I'm trained in trauma resolution work. I can do this work with you online from anywhere you are in the world. We can move the overwhelm, shutdown, and over-activation in your hard working nervous system out, so you can sleep better, take care of your own immune system, and stay focused. Click here for help.