What's your Limit?

WomenStressWritten by Liesel Teversham, 24 March 2013

When last did you reach that absolute limit where everything suddenly became too much, and felt like an enormous insurmountable mountain? Where your insides were as tight as an elastic band right before the “snap”, and every nerve fibre ready to explode, already screaming “no more!!”?

I’ve come across the misconception in the healing/alternative world a few times that when you work through your own “stuff” and have mastered a particular modality (like EFT, say), that you will lead a peaceful life forevermore, and nothing will ever go wrong for you again. And even if it did, that it would not disturb you. Right?

Emphatically, no! That’s not how it works. Even those who have “mastered” their skill (EFT, Emotion Codes, Radical Forgiveness, The Sedona Method, The Work, Demartini Method, Theta Healing, Kinesiology, PSYCH-K, psychology and any other way of clearing emotion) are still human beings and still encounter very stressful situations. Even with a lot of work under the belt, it can still sometimes be too much and lead to a good old –fashioned explosion. Like a pressure cooker that couldn’t let off steam early and …. colourful results splattered all over the ceiling.

A case in point – a very honest account of my recent experience:

Around 4 months ago, we started noticing that our 12 –year old Jack Russel drank a lot more water than he used to. He started having accidents in the house, which had never happened before. A few (expensive) trips to the vet later, it was determined that he has pituitary-type Cushing’s Disease and needed to be treated with a potentially dangerous drug called Lysodren. My insides quivered when I read what this drug (basically a DDT-derivative) could do. The vet instructed us carefully on how to handle it, what to do, what not to do and what symptoms to look out for. A week after he started the therapy, unfortunately my worst fears were realised – he now had to be treated for the opposite condition because the Lysodren had done too much damage to his adrenal glands. This can happen, as I found out through our helpful friend Mr Google.

During the 2 week period of the original and recent damage-control treatments, Jack still drank buckets of water. It meant regular night-time trips outside and severely disturbed sleep for me. I’m a light sleeper – every sip he took woke me up. “If only I could put him in a nappy”, I kept thinking… 6-10 wake-ups per night is now the norm.

During the same period, my husband ruptured his right Achilles tendon. Surgery followed the next day and thankfully the operation went extremely well. He’s hardly had any pain. I needed to drive him around for the first two weeks – his leg is in plaster for 6 weeks. After 2 weeks, my engineer brainy husband made a plan, and built himself a heel underneath the plaster so he could be independent again. Big relief for both of us! He still couldn’t help to let doggie out at night because he was too slow getting on his crutches and would be too late for the emergency-dog-exit.

Next, during the same time, my Dad had a mild stroke and landed in hospital. My Mom had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease late last year and she’s never handled stress well. This time she seemed to manage very well, though, and my Dad was discharged from hospital 3 days later with a speech impediment only. The next morning, however, he was back in hospital with a fibrillating heart. He spent the next 5 days in hospital while my Mom developed bronchitis – obviously stress-related. All this I had to hear from far away (they’re in Margate) without being able to assist. I couldn’t leave Andrew at home with no help – he couldn’t drive, couldn’t carry anything, and neither could I leave a sick dog in the care of a person on crutches.

Next, during the same time, my brother’s 6-month baby landed in hospital with pneumonia, and his Staffordshire terrier needed surgery to both elbows. My brother and his wife were both ill at the same time.

Then, would you believe it, also at the same time, my sister’s husband developed an enormous under-skin bleeding problem on one arm. It spread from a tiny purple dot on one day to his elbow in just over 24 hours. He avoided a hospital stay by the skin of his teeth. My sister’s son and daughter developed bronchitis, and her granddaughter got German Measles. All at the same time.

During the same period (“Please stop!!” I can hear you say), I received news that 3 of the websites I maintain, had been compromised and needed an urgent upgrade. It’s a complicated procedure and would take hours. The communication with the website host went rapidly south after a misunderstanding… one thing led to another and this is when the twig finally snapped. I could no longer think and wrote them the rudest email I could muster, hesitated briefly, sent it in the end… and felt terrible for 3 days.

In between, I completed the intensive work of reading and editing the first proof of my book, saw a few clients, and kept the household going. Barely.

So what’s the problem here?

Some people are not affected by others’ issues. Trouble is, I’ve been a “rescuer” most of my life and want to make it better for everyone. I find it incredibly hard to relax and feel okay if one precious person in my life is not okay. And here I was faced with every single one in my family going through some serious health issue. The rescuer inside me was frantic – which way to turn? Who to help first? I can’t relax, with so much “suffering” around me. I was suffering enormously through all of this because my thoughts and beliefs told me “It’s not okay for me to feel good when someone else doesn’t.” How beautifully orchestrated that I had to stay right where I was - at home - because of Andrew’s surgery and Jack’s illness.

Is there a moral of the story?

I don’t quite know if there’s only one. Here are a few practical pointers if you’re going through some hard stuff:

  • Make sure you get enough sleep and rest. It’s imperative for calm thinking and handling stress with equilibrium. Everything feels worse when one doesn’t sleep well!
  • Drink enough water (I’d been neglecting this terribly because I was “so busy” with everyone else’s challenges)
  • Get some exercise! I neglected this as well because I was tired every morning due to the interrupted sleep. If I’d had more aerobic exercise, my body and mind would have been able to handle the stress far better
  • Drink extra vitamins, especially the B-Group, which is needed to handle stress well
  • Take yourself away from the stressful situations here and there, even if it is for a 30-minute cup of coffee with a friend. I found when I was at home, my mind would just not leave the situations along, and it was cycling over and over around the same useless stress-creating thoughts
  • Find something to laugh at! We watched a really silly Walt Disney movie (Penguins) and really, it brought a lot of relief to just feel like “normal people” again with something to laugh about
  • Get help to work through the big emotions. I was constantly doing my own work and found some of it really hard to tackle. When it comes to our own family and people really close to our heart, it is much more challenging to see clearly, get out of our own way, and do our own work.
  • Everyone needs support sometimes, including us. It’s no good if we are so busy supporting all those around us, that we neglect ourselves and pay the price. Then we can no longer serve those we’ve been supporting anyway.
  • Are there a few things you can take off your plate for now? Something you may have been finding a burden for a while? Now could be the time for you to say “No more, not this. I choose now to give this to someone else, or let it slide for now. I can always pick it up again later!”
  • If you're still not convinced that it's really important to take care of your self and minimise the stress - here's a really useful article on the effects of stress

A few spiritual pointers:

Byron Katie says there are only 3 kinds of business in the world: My business, your business and God’s business. If I’m wondering why on earth all these things happened all at once, I’m in God’s business. If I’m telling others what to do, doing too much for, or running their lives for them, I’m in their business. My business is the only place I’m really supposed to be in:  Taking care of myself, well enough in order to respond if someone else asks me for help. It’s not my business that my dog, my Dad or any of my other family gets well. It’s their business, and God’s business. My business is how much I worry or obsess about it, and what I do with that.

Byron Katie also has a wonderful question she often asks: “How do you know all this was supposed to happen?” And her famous answer is “Because it did”. Things are the way they’re supposed to be, whether we like it or not. And if we argue with that reality, we lose – every time.

Working with The Sedona Method, we would welcome everything exactly as it is. We would welcome the need or desire to fix it, control it, make it different than it is…. (our need to control life is apparently everywhere!). We could welcome the attachment or aversion to this “story” – and we would welcome how very personal this all feels, and that it feels like it’s “mine” and has anything to do with me. The Sedona Method offers many more ways of letting things be the way it is, without getting “personally” involved in the drama.

With EFT, we could tap for every little thing that stresses us out about it. We could take the details, tap for how it lets us feel, what it means, what we’re afraid might happen, what it’s meant in the past, where in our past we’ve encountered something similar, our beliefs about it and so forth.

The bottom line is – whatever we choose to do about stressful situations, they will arise. We can do practical things about them (like ask for help, make a point of laughing, get exercise) and we can do emotional clearing for our feelings. Both are necessary and both empower us. Even if we’ve been doing years of EFT, Sedona Method, Demartini Method, The Work – stress is a part of life and sometimes it can overwhelm us. Don’t go it alone – ask for help, you’re worth it.

Richard Bach says “Here is the test to find whether your mission on Earth is finished: if you're alive, it isn't.” So let's patiently keep clearing whatever it is that comes up in the moment, knowing that "this too shall pass". And keep loving ourselves in the process. It's all okay.

Quotes

"There are three kinds of violence: one, through our deeds; two, through our words; and three, through our thoughts. The root of all violence is in the world of thoughts, and that is why training the mind is so important." -- Eknath Easwaran

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