Anxiety / Getting support / mental health / Spoonie Challenges / Working

Getting Stuck After a Trigger

Hey, ho, it’s your Spoonie Authors Network editor! I’ve not posted for a wee while but wanted to share something today.

While I’m basically an upbeat and maybe frighteningly friendly person, I am also a human who manages mental illness. I am blessed to be surrounded by caring friends and family, and I love my Brain Spa therapist. (Yes, I call therapy the Brain Spa.) However, even with these fantastic supports, my mental illness still poses its challenges.

I am super lucky to be a freelance editor. I love my job and the manuscripts I’ve received are wonderfully crafted. My author clients are darlings, every last one of them. And the latest book I’m working on is by the SpAN’s own contributor, Robin Elizabeth. (She’s the one who encouraged me to edit manuscripts in the first place!) So, I was all excited about continuing work on Robin’s novel when I received a phone call. It was a misunderstanding about a medical report. Now, I am currently recovering from anxiety and PTSD because of *gestures at everything about my health*, and this put me in a state of panic. It had only been one little phone call that was easily cleared up, but for some reason, it was a trigger that reminded me of so much more.

I got stuck.

I was shaking.

I couldn’t concentrate.

Lightning image

Image: Lightning against at dark-blue sky. Text reads: Sometimes panic hits me like a thunderbolt.

The first thing I did was to reach out to my husband and my best lady friend to talk it over. Still felt jittery. Then I did something I didn’t expect. I asked my Facebook buds to send me virtual hugs. (I was alone at home and felt isolated.)

Don’t ask me why, but the hugging sentiments that poured in from my close friends and acquaintances gave me just the lift I needed to unclog the paper jam in my brain. This sort of thing is part of “grounding,” which is important to do when experiencing anxiety. People have different things that ground them and for me, this worked at the time.

I got unstuck.

I felt calmer.

I could focus.

Afterwards, I easily directed my attention to my work and even went over the quota of pages I allotted for that day. That made me feel great!

Confession time: Until quite recently, I would berate myself for getting panic attacks. I know. How wrong is that? Thankfully, now I don’t. I treat them the same way as my neuropathy—with respect. I need to take measures when my legs are in pain, so I also must do likewise when my brain is derailed. I go to physiotherapy for my musculoskeletal issues, and I go to psychotherapy (or the Brain Spa) for my mental health. It’s just something I manage.

Being a Spoonie can mean dealing with chronic physical conditions, but it also can mean managing mental spoons. Mental spoon shortages are just as serious, and we must treat our brains with loving care. Because our minds are a huge part of us. Nurturing our mental health is a vital part of self-care!

Let’s remember to actively be there for our buds, because even the smallest of loving gestures can mean so much. Truly.

Cait Gordon

Cait Gordon

Cait (pronounced like ‘cat’) Gordon is originally from Verdun, Québec, and has been living in the suburbs of Ottawa since 1998. Her first novel, Life in the ’Cosm (Renaissance) was published in 2016. Her short story, A Night at the Rabbit Hole appears in the Alice Unbound: Beyond Wonderland anthology (Exile Editions). She’s currently working on The Stealth Lovers, a prequel to the ’Cosm series. For her day job, Cait is a freelance editor for indie authors. Some of the books she’s edited include Confessions of a Mad Mooer: Postnatal Depression Sucks (Robin Elizabeth), Camp Follower: One Army Brat’s Story (Michele Sabad), Skylark (S.M. Carrière), Little Yellow Magnet (Jamieson Wolf), A Desert Song (Amy M. Young), and Moonshadow’s Guardian (Dianna Gunn).

A bit of a social media junkie, Cait can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. She also has an author website and is the creator/editor of the Spoonie Authors Network. If you need editing services, visit her biz, Dynamic Canvas Inc.

4 thoughts on “Getting Stuck After a Trigger

  1. Living with ME/CFS/FM I can relate to the smallest event being a trigger for an anxiety attack. After years of Brain Spa 🙂 throughout most of my adult life, PTSD is no longer as active but still lurks somewhere in the background so, it’s no surprise when I “overreact” as I’m told… Most folks don’t understand how hard we have to work to get back on track, to work it out, to feel like we can take a breath again!

    Your insight is so important: we must care for our mind and be kind to our self when it derails. And yes, even if we are fortunate enough to have a loving husband and a best friend for support, there’s so much powerful healing in the giving and receiving of Love from people who care and who get it. Love and Light.

    Liked by 2 people

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