How do you get up from rock bottom?
What do you do when you fall on your butt?
What do you do when it feels like everything is falling apart?
What do you do when life keeps sending you obstacles that throw you off course?
Life always seems to send obstacles and challenges to throw us of course. These obstacles can create frustration, stress and anxiety within us. The journey can be annoying and difficult when you allow the stressful emotions to take over. But actually each unique challenge is meant to make us stronger as we learn and grow. I have had plenty of rock bottom moments. So many moments that threw me completely off course because stress got in the way. And in the heat of the moment getting caught in the overwhelm and frustration creates havoc in our lives. I have made plenty of these mistakes by getting caught in overwhelm and losing sight of my goals, dreams and purpose. The amazing thing I have learned is that even after really challenging moments, everything works out in our favor in the long run. In the midst of chaos it appears that our world is caving in around us but after all the dust settles, we evolve and life is better.
Think about a stressful moment in your past. Something that felt overwhelming and frustrating in the moment. Maybe it was a physical injury, a lost job, a break up, a big argument or an illness. In the heat of the moment you likely got caught up in the stressful feelings making you feel helpless and hopeless. The effects of this stressful moment can last hours, days, weeks or months. Trust me I know that some of these obstacles can truly get in our way and make us feel like the world is against us. I have felt that way plenty of times. Now think about that same situation after a few months passed. Things settled and life started to return to normal. Your drive and motivation returned. And life returned to its typical pace. And when you reflect on those events, you might notice that everything worked out. But it wasn’t exactly as you planned it. For example, back in November 2019, I had an upset customer throw my life completely off balance. In the heat of the moment, I was caught in my stressful emotions and felt a deep dread and impending doom. I was caught in negative emotions and let the stress take over my life for weeks. During this stressful situation, I felt helpless, hopeless and alone. And literally in that moment when it all transpired, I was alone. It all happened when my husband was away with my oldest son. I was home alone with my youngest. And I could have been enjoying this fun bonding time with him. But instead I was dealing with the subconscious self-limiting beliefs that made me spiral into a sense of fear and overwhelm. I was so stressed and anxious that I completely felt like my world was caving in on me. And I forgot I had 15 years of amazing customer service on my side. I forgot that everyone has a bad day sometimes. I forgot that sometimes you can’t please everyone even when you do everything in your power to support them. I forgot that I am amazing at my job and that my colleagues all new it. I lost sight of who I am and I lost hope for everything. And that extreme stress caused sudden emotional shifts and crying fits. And this wasn’t the first or the last intensely stressful situation.
In the heat of the moment, I let stress, anxiety and fear get the best of me. The situation left me feeling drained, exhausted and frustrated on all levels. I was physically drained of energy. I lost mental focus and productivity. I was emotionally frustrated and overwhelmed. The funny thing is that I know better. I know the power of using your awareness to free your body and mind of negative emotions. And I teach my clients to use their awareness to take action and get out of these situations. But everyone makes mistakes, even me. Because the subconscious mind is more powerful than we can imagine. And I let myself spiral into the old frustrated version of myself. I lost sight of all the amazing things in my life because I let the stress of that situation get the best of me. And when stress gets the best of you, it can completely take over your life. And it did for quite a while, until I began to slowly take charge of my life again.
That challenging moment kept getting in my way as my self-limiting beliefs and negative thoughts took over my mind. It continued for a few months as I worked through those negative thoughts, feelings and emotions. And as I dealt with the true root of the problem my awareness and clarity began to unveil itself. I have always known the root cause of our emotional shifts come from deep in our past experiences. The emotional turmoil feels like it is the result of the current situation. But that deep sense of overwhelm and frustration stems from something way in our past that is imbedded in our subconscious mind. These overwhelming emotions usually stem from our past childhood and adolescent experiences that were never processed or resolved thoroughly. And I have worked through many but the subconscious mind always needs attention.
I slowly regained my self-confidence, motivation and drive. But the journey back was dreadful and I know it was my choice to allow that to take place. I could have responded differently and ended the torment quickly. Thankfully, my reputation for great customer service, kindness and compassion prevailed. And that dreadful day slowly disappeared from my mind. In that moment of intense anxiety, stress and overwhelm; I was stuck in emotions from the past. I was processing emotions from my childhood as a Special needs child. Most people don’t realize that I had a Learning Disability. They can’t believe that a successful Nurse and Educator could possibly have had learning challenges. But I did and the journey was not easy. I worked hard to get out of special classes and eventually graduate with honors from High school and college. But my unprocessed emotions from my childhood were hidden far away in my subconscious mind. I honestly had no memory or recollection of my experiences as a special needs child. Actually my childhood was all a blur and I know now it is because I was always stuck in the fight or flight response. I spent most of my life stuck in this dreadful state of overwhelm and my health declined progressively till I took charge in my 30s. The stress response was always in motion for me creating havoc on my body physically and emotionally. Just to paint a little picture of what stress can do to your body. I had lost half of my hair by my 20s. I had severe digestive issues that eventually required surgery and multiple prescriptions. I had chronic pain and numbness that began in High school. And my health was at a point of crisis in my mid 30s.
Now let’s jump back to the experiences with self-limiting beliefs as a special needs child. I honestly had no recollection of my experiences as a special needs child until the dust settled after the incident in November. I realized that all those intense emotions had nothing to do with the situation at hand. But rather my physical and emotional response mirrored my childhood when I was bullied for being different. I was teased and picked on because it took me longer to take tests. I was teased because math and reading was harder for me. I was ridiculed because I was different from everyone else. I was isolated because I was the girl that had to leave mainstream class to go to several special classes during the day. I was made fun of because I was bigger and more voluptuous than girls my age. I was under so much stress due to this emotional turmoil and frustration that I had completely blocked most of my childhood memories. As a means of protection my mind literally shut down and hid most of my childhood memories, even the good ones.
A few weeks after issue in November, the dust settled and life came back to normal. My career was intact and my overwhelming emotions had resolved. And as families reached out to me for support to help their special needs children with anxiety a huge realization happened within. And I finally realized bullying was part of my past that I had never recognized or recalled. And I never would have realized that truth about my past if this challenge wasn’t placed in my path. That customer through me off course because it was time for me to evolve and grow from that experience. It was time for me to process the past and let go of those negative feelings that no longer serve me. And I needed to realize that I had the power to decide if I would let people push my buttons. I was finally in charge and I didn’t need to allow others to impact my emotional state or drain my energy anymore. It is ironic because I knew that I needed to set boundaries, I even talk about it in my book, “The Truth about IBS and Anxiety.” But I didn’t realize I needed to set clear boundaries with everyone including strangers. It is funny how sometimes you need a slap in the face to wake up and see the clear picture in front of you. It all worked out in the end and I learned from my mistakes. But it took a while for the truth of this experience to enter my conscious mind. And it all happened this week as a much more obvious obstacle came in my way. And sometimes the challenge is a wakeup call.
This week those pesky negative thoughts were pushing me once again. It all became clear after I literally fell on my butt. This time it wasn’t an event that made me stumble and fall. It wasn’t an argument or confrontation. It was literally an internal fight within my mind that threw me off balance. Let’s just say it started 20 minutes before the moment I lost my balance and fell on my butt. And it occurred because I wasn’t practicing what I teach. I wasn’t transforming the negative voice in my head. I wasn’t using my awareness to set myself free from the stress. Instead I was letting the negative voice take over my emotions and creating a sense of hopelessness once again. Some people might call this negative voice, Chatty Cathy, but I call her Negative Nancy. Or for the gentlemen I call him Negative Norm. Let’s just say Negative Nancy was on overdrive in my mind and those thoughts were getting in my way. And since I wasn’t paying attention, I was about to get a rude awakening. It was time for me to practice what I preach but I wasn’t listening or observing the message. I was falling back into my stress cycle and I needed a wakeup call to see it. Something had to give for me to see clearly.
And boom the signs were all about to become super clear once everything fell apart. I stubbed my big toe. My subconscious mind didn’t budge and I kept allowing Negative Nancy to take over. And as the helplessness grew in my mind, my anxiety began to take over. My emotions of frustration were building and I was getting grumpy for no apparent reason. The day had been beautiful, peaceful and relaxing but I was not feeling relaxed at all. My mind was stuck on negative overdrive for no apparent reason. The message was going to be very different this time. And boom I stubbed my pinkie toe with metal. This bump made me see stars as the sharp pain radiated up my body. It was so hard there was an instant hematoma. It hurt so bad I had to breathe deeply to catch my breath. It took a few minutes to get blood flow back to my head because the pain was overwhelming. I was seeing black spots as the pain slowly resolved itself. A few minutes later I realized my toe was bleeding and went to clean it up. But my negative mind was still at full force and things were about to tumble quickly.
I had no idea that I was going to experience an epiphany as my life flashed before my eyes. I had my right foot on the counter as I tried to clean my pinkie toe. I leaned over to reach for a tissue paper that was just inches away from me. But my body was not stable or balanced. And suddenly I lost my balance and my life flashed before my eyes. I tried to grab the toilet and stop the tumble to the floor. It all happened in super slow motion as I remembered all the other times I had fallen and injured myself over the last 40+ years. I slowly went down twisting in midair till my butt hit the toilet rim. After the sharp intense thump on my butt and hip I stumbled to the ground. I laid on the ground for several minutes taking it all in. I took deep breaths to regain my vision and energy. It took some deep breathing to relieve the intense sharp pain in my lower back and butt. In this brief moment of breathing and reflecting, I realized that each of these injuries could have been avoided. All of those events were under my control but I had chosen to let the negative voice take over. I avoided using my awareness to set me free from the stress and the stress clouded my vision. It is interesting how life literally needs to throw a curveball for you to see clearly.
I took it all in. Step by step from the moment I walked out of the car feeling stressed out. I was worried about something. And the impending doom made those negative thoughts and emotions go haywire in my brain. And when your mind goes haywire everything goes off balance. It literally throws your entire day off balance. I didn’t realize how powerful the subconscious self-limiting beliefs were until I reflected on the events that had occurred since November. My anger and negative emotions took over until I felt it in my body. Yep, that is exactly what happens, when you stub your toe, hit your funny bone, cut your finger, etc. You are thinking of something that the universe, god or whoever you believe in wants you to stop obsessing over. To make a point and create a sense of awareness within you something will happen. And that means an event, accident or confrontation will come into your life to get you to open your eyes and see it. And hopefully you get the message and stop the negativity and self-loathing. Hopefully you stop breath and reflect. And wake up and Smell the coffee. The life events that come into our path are all learning experiences. And life is great at changing the subject when you are smack in the middle of a stressful situation.
We have all felt extra stress during this quarantine. As a nurse, I left so many close friends, family and colleagues at the frontline. It has been devastating to be far away from them when they needed support and love. Yet, my fear and negative thoughts kept getting in my way. I let all those negative thoughts stop me from reaching out to them when they needed me most. And I spent the last few weeks working up my strength and resilience to help those I love most. And it was my awareness after falling on my butt, that made me realize, this moment is exactly where I am supposed to be. I was given a gift to share with the world. And I have been hiding it because of my own insecurities and self-doubt. I have been hiding because I fear what people will think of my uniqueness. But the truth is it doesn’t matter. Because the people I love at the frontline deserve to see the silly side of me. They deserve to have the funny girl that brings a smile, a joke and inspirational words into their days. And if that means I get on Camera with a wig and make a funny joke as I teach a relaxation technique then so be it. So after falling on my butt, I realized that my uniqueness can inspire others to use their awareness to set themselves free from the turmoil within. And I was inspired to create a unique experience for my friends and colleagues at the frontline. So I created a video teaching some simple relaxation techniques wearing one of my wigs. So the moral of this story is get up and get out of your own way. The world is sending me challenges and obstacles for you to evolve into the person you dream. Sitting at the sidelines doesn’t serve anyone. So get up and get moving. Your awareness and action can set you free from the stress that lies within.