Despair, Overwhelm and Loss

That we are living in increasingly uncertain times is an understatement, as is the fact that daily, many people are facing situations in their personal lives they could not have imagined at the start of this year. This post is for all who are facing despair over finances, loss of loved ones or a certain way of life, worsening health, inner turmoil, sheer overwhelm or constant worry about what is happening in the world.

It’s also being written in the general tone of my book “Why Does Stress Make Us Ill?” – see here for more info https://catherinestrang.com/why-does-stress-make-us-ill/ – in that it’s orientated towards the practical with information only when absolutely needed. I had planned a continuation of last weeks theme but due to all the people I know who are struggling to cope at the moment thought this post was needed instead.

There is a guided, supportive meditation at the foot of this page.

First things – KNOW that whatever you are feeling is ok, whatever state your mind is in is ok. By this I mean that whatever is going on within you is simply where you are right now, it is as it is. Given everything that has led you to this point you have the right to be just as you are, feel what you feel and think what you think

There is no right or wrong way to feel, or to think; you are unique. You may wish this moment a thousand miles away but the fact remains that it is here; the fastest, most elegant way through it comes first with acceptance. Acceptance of the fact of it and acceptance of self and your right to be as you are.

So stop whatever you are doing or think you have to be doing and just breathe. Breathe deeply and allow what is here, within your emotions, body and mind, to flow. If this is not possible (i.e. you are with people with whom you’d be embarrassed to let it all out) then make a pact with yourself to set aside time everyday, perhaps even several times a day, to check in with yourself.

There is so much fear about strong emotion, the fear is often that if we crack open the lid an avalanche will overwhelm us, or that we will go mad if we let it all out, or that there is something wrong with us – we have to be strong and so on. The truth is that the feelings are there, they will come out in some way, somehow. The truth is also that we are NEVER given more than we can handle at any one time. We humans complicate this truth with our thinking patterns, by trying to keep a lid on it, by denying and suppressing our feelings and through self condemnation and judgement of what’s in there.

We complicate the relatively simple process of release not just through overthinking, denial and judgement but also very often through talking – once the mind has gotten hold of an issue the truth is lost. The thinking mind virtually never understands the truth, it doesn’t remember accurately and it never, never has the ability to deal fully with an issue or a feeling. The mind cannot release a feeling – they are two different energies. Certain words or ways of questioning can lead to deep insights and release of old patterns, programmes and beliefs but only when we have the presence of mind to understand the questions. Deep emotion temporarily prevents that presence of mind, all we can do in this instance is to sink into the emotional body.

This, on so many levels of our being is experienced as an actual relief.

There is no denying of the fact that when loss and grief are present, when despair and deep fear arises about what our life may hold the pain can be excruciating. But it will pass. Think of it if you like as a toothache that’s gone to the root, the waves of pain come and go and when the pain is present there’s nothing you can do except ride it out. Be kind to yourself and think of it this way, the pain is here, it means nothing about who you are as a person, simply that there is this pain that wants to be released. Breathe through each layer until relative calm returns. Until the next wave.

Think of this task as the only one that matters right now. Through this attitude you will get through this and come out the other side a stronger, more compassionate person.

So when the emotion is there breath into it, holding our breath holds in the feeling to a certain extent. Bring your focus of attention into the body, when the mind starts to comment in an unhelpful way, STOP and come back to the body and name the feeling. If you need to cry then cry, if you need to shout or make a noise or a movement then do so.

If you are genuinely afraid of what may surface then seek professional help or ask a trusted friend to sit with you as you go through this.

The audio below has been recorded as a guide leading you through this process. It can be used as you go to sleep at night to release the day, I have also included reassuring affirmations in the second half that you can repeat or just allow to sink in. The last five minutes is simply music, for you to drift off to or to continue the releasing process.

Dealing With Overwhelm and Distress

Published by Catherine Strang

I have been passionate about health and well-being since my teenage years when a health problem prompted me to use diet to regain my strength. By the end of the 80's I was working as a chef in a Rudolf Steiner based vegetarian cafe in Edinburgh and this led me (through working with some very alternatives types!) to pursue a career as a massage therapist and healer, which I began in 1990. Since then I have trained in many different forms of therapy, including Hypnotherapy, EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming), EmoTrance (a form of deeply mindful emotional processing). I retired completely from bodywork in 2017 and at present only occasionally work as a 1:1 therapist. My focus now is teaching and I have been doing this since 1991 when I taught Aromatherapy and massage courses for the Edinburgh Council Adult Education Programme, by the time I finished these courses in 2000 I had also taught aromatherapy/massage sessions across Edinburgh in Community Centers, Health Projects and a variety of other non profit organisations. By this time however I was beginning to develop Stress Management and later Meditation and personal development courses/sessions and was including corporate settings as well as private teaching events. The list of places I have taught in is extensive and over the past three decades I've no doubt forgotten quite a few! I am dedicated to personal development, health and meditation and bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to each session. I am well aware of the struggles, often hidden from work colleagues, that many go through during the course of their life and endeavor always to be kind, non-intrusive and in a work setting discreet.

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