This has been a main focus area of study for me for the past 6 years.
There is a lot written about this area, and a lot of decent information around the internet, and within books. At it's worse a really great psychologist can help you begin to unravel the instances that bought you to a state where the end results such as anxiety, ptsd or the resulting depression have become a major part of life. There is no right or wrong answer for any one person, all I can say is dive in, be brave, and begin to unravel the pain, unlock the situations, heal and take back your own sovereignty.
I have learnt so much about this area, from my own anxiety as a result of trauma.
Having undergone many sessions with a wonderful Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), and Somatic and Gestalt therapist I have made some truly marvellous breakthroughs.
At each step I'd like to kindly support you to delve deeper into how your brain/body registers the stress and then patterns learned coping mechanisms. It's not simple, in fact it is incredibly life challenging, sometimes for days or months on end, and it can and does ruin friendships and relationships and effect family life especially when it is at it's worse, but after a huge learning journey myself with this I'd like to simplify things so here are some simple points from my journey and learning and I hope something in this has the capacity to help you with your own gentle journey.
You cannot change the past, the stress/stressor happened, and the most caring and authentic thing to do is to kindly seek help for yourself, make that vow to honour yourself and to focus on healing to the best of your ability. Find the right person/modality/s to help with this and then lovingly keep pursuing your own deeper and deeper healing/understanding of it all.
Acknowledge it is a step by step process, and, depending on the level of stress, know that it is not expected to heal in an instant, but with the right love and some quality time with the best therapist/facilitator/healer for you, you can start to unravel and mend.
As an individual we have a right to find our own authenticity, and to make the adjustments to our lives that enable us to live as brightly and as happily as possible. I know the unravelling helps, and the healing is a beautiful way to move forward with our lives no matter what has happened in the past that has stressed or traumatised us.
2. There is a chemical factor involved.
While I was undergoing some physiotherapy for some issues with my knees, I got talking to a massage therapist who mentioned the way massage can help and also that if stressed, the cortisol, which normally regulates metabolism and immune responses can 'get out of wack'.
Fluctuations with this 'stress hormone' can result in a reduction in it's capacity to mend and heal. He also mentioned that getting some exercise would help by kicking in the 'happy' endorphins as well.
Recently I have been reading Doreen Virtue's new book, 'Don't Let Anything Dull Your Sparkle. How to Break Free of Negativity and Drama'
While I picked it up as a further study to how 'drama' and 'reactiveness' work from a sociological, physiological and spiritual perspective, I found the more scientific chemical reactions to be the most potent part of this book. (For me anyway).
It all made sudden sense to me. It's like a fog lifted and I could finally see after all these years of studying how incredibly simple it all was from a chemical point of view. And, as Maya Angelou said in one of her wonderful quotes: "When you know better, you do better."
I went over to a website about stress to see if I could get more confirmation of this cortisol stuff and found this page, there's a pretty excellent two paragraphs on the whole fight and flight response.
And also this quote (linked to the article):
Cortisol plays a big role is the body’s stress response. Cortisol helps us deal with stress by shutting down unnecessary functions, like reproduction and the immune system, in order to allow the body to direct all energies toward dealing with the stress at hand. These functions of cortisol are supposed to be short-lived, just long enough to deal with the offending stressor. However, our modern lives are anything but stress free and when stress is chronic this becomes a problem.
What I was fascinated to learn also via Doreen's book, was the fact that once the cortisol in your body becomes erratic, it can enhance an allergy to histamine. And, as someone who has one glass of red wine and vomits, I had a major lightbulb moment on this one.
I have now spent some time testing out the theory by trying out some healthy higher histamine foods and observing how they effect me. That huge bowl of cooked spinach.... next day... brain fog and glug. Hmm, light bulbs going off all over the place. Amazing stuff. I love science so much!
Equally important was that I learnt that the stress- cortisol-reactiveness pattern made sense of some of my own reactions to particular stresses. I can also note how amazing my transformation has been from the kinesiology sessions I have had by addressing and balancing my over activated adrenals.
So in a nutshell if adrenals are in fight or flight - cortisol doesn't mend inflammation - histamine levels rise - drama ensues... (emotional situations are super charged) and the vicious cycle perpetuates.
The kinesiology I have had on myself have given me valuable insights to help others with this, and has without a doubt, massively changed how I approached and deal with triggers. Triggers, which before, constantly layered multiple layers on top of each of the original stressors. (Really not going to get personal here, but there have been a fair amount of major stressors over my life and they built over time into what's known as compounded PTSD. Regardless of that, my life today is amazingly different thanks in part to: Tanya my amazing therapist; Reiki; numerous Kinesiology balances; QBI; ThetaHealing; and Access Bars sessions.
Not only have they done wonders for my own peace of mind, but they have taken me further into more healthy, loving and abundant life attitudes, and sometimes have given me profound and instant changes.
3. Some modalities might work quicker and deeper than others, you need to find what is right for you.
Ok here's an interesting part. I believe each and every person has their own innate understanding of how to heal themselves. Yes, sometimes it can be waylaid with other peoples ideas and suggestions. Even our own upbringing can play a part in how we view our attitudes to healing, however, in the end, your own innate intelligence, will find the blend of modalities that work for you.
My experience has been that talking about things just becomes words after a while, they soothe, they offer great insights and that is nothing to scoff at, not at all. Medication can lift you up out of the deepest darkest place and correct your brain chemistry. I tried this, I didn't like it at all myself, but everyone is different, and I have seen both the good and bad with medication amongst friends. You need to find what works best for you.
The best help for me personally came with movement, massage, and prescribed exercise from a physiotherapist to get me out of some of my stuck body patterns. And the healing modalities I now offer at the centre have helped enormously with anxiety/emotional/stress patterning.
I prefer for myself a blend of:
Reiki: For getting deeper into the heart space, getting to a place where deep relaxation can release memories, tears, long held beliefs and offer a sense of peace. Kinesiology: For balancing issues on broad ranging levels very quickly with phenomenally fast results.
Flower Essences: For vibrational changes, to help with journaling and to go through a gentle healing process.
ThetaHealing: For more understanding on the why, where, and how of situations, with deep healing coming from the understandings. The Aha's with this modality are profound and do create lasting change.
Access Bars: For finding your gifts, your life path, and 'The Question/s' that prompt you to move forward, grow and expand into the best and most whole you that you can be.
How does it get better than this?
In Kinesiology, when a client talks through the stress, the facilitator uses a monitoring muscle, and finds the associated systems, belief structures, emotions and any other associations. these are put into a circuit, (linked together using the bodies proprioceptors) And then, once all the relevant information has been found to do with the particular issue, it is balanced with whatever the body shows it needs to correct the stress. (That's my very simple explanation. You can find much more in depth information here, here, and here ).
I am in no way suggesting anyone should just throw their medication out the window without consulting their doctor.
If you are on medication to help deal with anxiety, ptsd, depression or any sort of imbalance of the mental and emotional states, I suggest you continue with your doctor as you experience the changes with these alternative therapies, as you get to know what is right for your mind/body/soul while you balance and heal. Some may come off medication immediately, others might stay longer, yet some may stay on for their life. This is a medical thing that you need to keep on top of with your doctor and remain vigilant about. I work with understanding, and with soul growth and healing. I am not a medical practitioner.