Here are some of the most emotional movies I have ever seen on the TV screen. Stephen King strikes. Despite I feel ashamed not to have read all of his best of. And despite my welsh airman friend would laugh at me, and say swear words in Italian against me, because to him King is just an amateur of horror. He’s more into Lovercraft.
At 16 years old, not only I have started penpalling, but I subscribed all kind of no profit associations which helped to recomfort prisoners. One was Italian, a fan of comics, blond and cute, I can’t remember why he was inmate, lost contact quite soon; I feared he was released and stalk me. Then, this man from Pennsylvania, math teacher, whose sentence was quite heavy, but tried to engage in social life of the correctional system, and wrote a book. He called me Sioux Princess, and wrote to me very long and inspiring letters. Now, this other american teacher, who will spend 23 years in jail, no kidding. Except this last one reached me by International Pen Friends, a friendship association, based in Australia. People who love snail mail are more than welcome. Yes, it still exists.
Where does this empathy for prisoners come from? Perhaps, I finally got it. Do you believe in karma? If so, check your twelve house. I recently found out that Saturn, in my chart, is in the 12th house and means alot of things. It explains me my connection with prisons, hospitals, rehab and monasteries. Spiritual practice and yoga discipline. Dealing with loneliness despite of aloneness. It all started somewhere, and somehow …
Overcoming Confusion and fear of being nothing or nobody; the lure of escaping through drugs, alcohol or a life of fantasy; sense of spiritual isolation; resistance to letting go of trappings of identity.
Encouragement Releasing the temporal for the eternal; a spiritual practice; strong sense of deep service; direct engagement with spirit.
A big theme here is taking responsibility (Saturn) for your own spiritual direction. And in the Twelfth House, the lessons are about the art of surrender.
In her book, Intuitive Astrology, Elizabeth Rose Campbell writes, “One of the biggest challenges of the twelfth house, ruled by Pisces and the planet Neptune, is understanding the difference between giving up and surrendering. Giving up is an abandonment of one’s center and capacity to respond. With that abandonment comes a loss of instinct. To surrender to a circumstance, even a difficult one, is a different dance entirely. You must retain self love and self respect through the surrender.”
Btw, freedom is one of my greatest goal and achievement in this lifetime. You can bet it.
John Coffey: “I’m tired, Boss. Tired of being on the road, lonely as sparrow in the rain. I’m tired of never having a buddy to be with, to tell me where we’re going to, coming from or why. Mostly, I’m tired of people being ugly to each other”.
Ellis Boy “Red” Redding: I have no idea to this day what those two Italian ladies were singing about. Truth is, I? don’t wanna know. I would like to think they were singing about some thing was so beautiful it cant be expressed in words and make your heart ache because of it.I tell you this voice soared higher and farther than anybody in a Gray place dares to dream it is like some beautiful bird flapped into our drab little cage and made these walls dissolve away. For the briefest moment every last man in Shawshank felt free.
“There’s a lot of stress out there, and to handle it, you just need to believe in yourself; always go back to the person that you know you are, and don’t let anybody tell you any different, because everyone’s special and everyone’s awesome.” – McKayla Maroney
Sleep deprivation, anxiety, overthinking, anger and frustration, can lead to over producing the hormone called Cortisol. These factors elevate stress hormones and can have negative impacts on the brain, including the hippocampus. When I slept 3-4 hours per night, due to chronic stress and trauma, my nervous system short-circuited. In bed, before falling asleep, my legs used to shimmer, not like normally would when you are shy, or cold, for example, but more like convulsions. Until 1 am.
The same, at work, once a guest lost his bag from airport, and asked for help, in tears, getting angry cos I didn’t show very proactive or empathic ( airports procedures can be very slow and frustrating on the phone ), but real fact is that I was so fed up that I had my hands shimmering without any control. Simply, I couldn’t stand complaining about minor matters than a terrorist attack any more. That means I was overreacting to any stressful situation. I couldn’t put any distance at all. Anytime I felt in danger, my body started shaking. It could be an unhappy guest, or a couple quarrelling on the street, or police cars with blue lights … my body put me in fight or flight protection’s system.
Adrenalin and cortisol, when produced in overdose, stimulate your body so much that the memory of the traumatic event keeps this process of shaking. Then your body is releasing the massive energy slowly anytime it is possible, in order to calm down and relax. So trauma manifests him self by this loop of neurobiological response that keeps you blocked in a physical and mental prison. Until the signal of « danger is over » comes to your body. And your plus energy flows away, naturally.
It’s like we have to say to our body : « Ok, now you can let go, danger is over! »
Imagine a gazelle escaping from a lion, that is so-called « fight or flight » scheme, when adrenaline and cortisol are at theur top production. Now, can you figure out the same gazelle after one year and more holding on escaping ?
It scents blood.
“It has long been established that stress-related illnesses, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) trigger changes in brain structure, including differences in the volume of gray matter versus white matter, as well as the and size and connectivity of the amygdala,” says endurance athlete, coach and author, Christopher Bergland.
Theferore, if you are interested in taking care of your brain, I invite you to learn more about chronic stress effects on your amigdala.
Of course, I am a caffein addicted. And sometimes I try to change my habit into a healthier one, like green tea or chai, ginger and so on. But it’s really heavy for me that I am Italian. Bad habits, bad heritage.
Stress can kill you, you have to be aware of it. If you have a chance, it might as well save your life. It depends if you have the chance to recognize it, and say STOP. Or someone else will do it for you.
That’s fine. Except it might be quite late for your brain’s damage. Neurons gone; and you lost. Preferably, left alone. Nobody holding your hand. Can you figure it out?
Burn out is called “strong disease”. I am a case study. And following are real facts.
In 2016, at work, right after november 2015 Paris attacks, in four months, I lost three camerades. Age 27, 38, and 43. The last one had four children, and had an argument with the manager, at 7 am. He fell for a stroke. They waited for help, and he was brought to hospital by helicopter. When you have a stroke timing is essential. You get 4 hours time before it’s too late. Also brain functions damages can be relevant. While director called all teams in a room, to announce us that our english colleague was lying in be at hospital, his parents were on their way to decide to unplug his machine. They said it was not related to work, or stress disease, nobody could prove it, anyway. In three days afer his unlucky accident, we were collecting money to burn his body. Three days and your own truth is blowing in the wind.
The others two, stroke again ( bad feeding habits, obesity realated? ), and infarctus, this one, after a ride on a bycicle, early in the morning. He was 27, and worked in the restaurant’s kitchen. He also had an argument, with managament, before going home. I could notice, the higher rate of casualties happen in food&beverage environments, where the talk and hierarchy are much alike army.
A few other colleagues from reception had health issues during summer 2015. The time of my panic attack. « It is personal ». « She is anorexic. » « She takes heavy treatments for breast cancer. » « She is just tired. » And me, I was – obviously – too sensitive.
Researchers who conducted a study on the effects of stress and stroke measured chronic stress in 5 major areas:
- Personal health problems
- Health problems in others close to the patient
- Job or ability to work
Use this list to assess where your chronic stress is coming from.
Nobody could mesure Stress Conditions, because there is no way to put a code for stress. Stress is defined a personal and individual response to danger conditions. We are unique individuals with different responses.You can’t put responsability to bad behaviour of someone or bad management. That’s also why it is so much important that you take responsability for Your Self. And Self Love starts with learning to say “NO”, or “ENOUGH”. Didn’t you have enough yet? Did you learn to put your borders?
Today I was reading this blog page, talking about suicidal survivor, and I found my self wondering what kept me safe from going down, in last two years. I mean, I’ve been depressive, and bipolar, when younger, and at age of 43, I admit that I am, proudly, NO MORE. During my journey, I’ve been told that bipolar was for life, that you can’t sort it out without medical treatments, or psychological support.
Of course, I have been in psychothearapy, and self discovery. Talking to someone neutral and stranger to you is a good key. Not judgemental. Not involved. That’s a perfect therapy. While you’re talking about your issues, and thoughts, to someone who is listening is magical. Psychotherapy is just THIS. The person in front of you acts like a mirror, she or he allows you to listen to your own words. You finally have a witness to your suffering and that is a good start for healing. Or, at least, understanding. Therefore, UNDERSTANDING, is the beginning of healing. When you become conscious of your triggers, perhaps, you also realize that overthinking leads to paranoia. Ollalla’. Not easy to recognize at which point you became a « paranoid ». But it all starts from you. Forget that a stranger will tell you what’s wrong with you. Or your childhood. You do the job. Most often you just need a guide, a coach or a good listener.
Yes, I’ve been paranoid, especially when working at night shift. I simply hated not sleeping on a daily bases, and going to bed at 9 in the morning, when most of other people started their day. Or not falling asleep until exhausted. Or waking up after 21 hours, and checking news, just to make sure that you didn’t miss anything important. I was so tuned on negative thinking that I felt like there was a conspiracy against me. Like if all my colleagues disliked me and everybody else ignored me. If I existed or not, it didn’t make any difference. Paranoia, you said it.
When I was 23 I’ve started with Yoga for getting a nicer silhouette, but I already felt like this discipline was more than just physical excercise. Since then, I’ve been keeping practicing once a week. That was pretty fine for me, one hour now and then. Not much effort. Beginner classes suited me well. Until I went though my last peak of stress, last year.
When I started cutting my hair shorter, yes, darling. And decided to do my yoga every single day, once back home from work. Sometimes at 22 pm, now 19 pm. Depends on my time management.
So, I’ve tried a few channels, until I finally found my fave one. Not only my body became slimmer, and stronger, but my mind was more focus and could concentrate on my class in breathing and out breathing. Sometimes 30 minutes, or one hour in my weekend days. Leaving time for rest, at least one day per week. It became a wonderful way to distress my frustration and felt like I wanted more. When I read that yoga helps with depression issues I didn’t catch it. What’s the matter ? How can physical practice be related with being anxious or depressed ? ( mental issues )
Body, and mind, are definitely strictly connected.
Often you feel depressed because you have fear, you are not well in your situation and you knoe that you need a change, but you don’t take risk to move out of your (un)comfort zone. Victim status might also be cosy. It’s not your fault.
Practice in yoga means getting used to unbalance. You can fall, you are allowed, and you can laugh at your falling. And try again. Until you do better.
When you work your balance and breathing, with yoga, your subconscious keep focused and you empty your mind. That’s the useful meditative work done.
Tonight a friend told me, that my fear is the fear of existence of other. Oh my, really ? And I happily realized this, if you are reading this article, you shall consider how much you love your Self. Me too, I had this idea that I hated my Self …
It’s not true. You lost your confidence. Or other people made you loose your precious confidence. Often it’s parents or peers. Sometimes strangers. Most often is self sabotage and your worse enemy lies inside.
Until you meet your dragon, and stare at his fiery eyes. And his face is not a mirror, but it helps you to build up your Ego.
Body, emotion, and mind, align again. You become a whole.
Paranoid ? Yes, so what ?
Before I discovered meditation, my daily routine was jumping out of bed, at last minute, rushing for having my breakfast, and getting ready for going out, and still hurry up to catch my bus. Typical parisian, I’d say. Yes, except I live in suburbs, and this area is located between country and woods. Even more scary.
Not only my way of walking, but also speaking was speed. Truth is that deeply inside, I am shy, and that means that when I have to speak, I feel I am at the center of attention and I am not confortable. This was me, before. « Hurry, hurry. » Consequently, french guests or colleagues tried hard to understand what I was saying to them. And actually, still do. But this is another story for another bed time. The fact of hurrying each moment of day made me more anxious and tired. Until I fell exhausted. Also, speaking my mind was a big trick for me. Simply, I didn’t take enough time to build up my thought, and this is quite typical for firy aries like me.
When, finally, got this audio-book from french psychologist, Christophe André, I was on a quest of the meaning of here and now. Why being mindful ? What is it ? Why are we not living the present moment, all the time ? It looks like our mind is escaping it, in the past and the future, … So, I started this practice for about TEN minutes, in the morning. Every morning. Straight before my coffee. First time, I kept watching the clock and minutes seemed like never passing by. Was I doing right ? Sat down, and focus on my nastrils, breathing IN cold air, breathing OUT warm air. That was helpful. My mind could start concentrating on physical. Thoughts flew away and then came back. « What will I put on today ? » « What will I eat for lunch ? » Then focus, again. Third eye helps. When you close your eyes, and concentrate on the dot between your eyebrows, I admit, that is powerful. So, what?
Yes, my life has magically changed since. And the results motivate me to hold one this practice. Now, that meditating became a pleasant habit, I spend more time on my orange pillow, sitting on the floor, but that doesn’t mean I am doing it properly. If I can, I let my overthinking release and let it go. Ok, I am anxious and a bit stressed, and that’s okay. I simply accept it. When you become aware of it, that’s a good start for healing. Your subconscious records that information and starts working on it, and eventually send orders to neurons to fight against stress. Your body gets prepared in a certain way. When you are so stressed out and you feel like you can’t meditate, just sit down and take ten minutes to RELAX….. that’s EXACTLY the perfect moment to do it.
Some life coaches call it power hour. The first hour in the morning, where you can write down your journal, reading inspiring quotes, affirmations, doing yoga or work out excercise, and meditate. It’s matter of habits. What time is your clock in the morning? How do you feel now ? Emotionally ? Physically ? Can you imagine advance your clock for one hour ? Ok, ten minutes ? Start small.
If you like, keep on breathing. Darling, you just learnt how to take time for your Self, no matter what. No kids around, or work schedules. Each day is a good day for trying better. You’ll be grateful.
Don’t try, do.
Here I am. The first time I’ve heard about PTSD I would never consider – me – being involved, once in a lifetime. Never say never. Usually, PTSD are referred to vets from battlefields. This is not the case. Although, living in parisian region since last years, it’s sometimes recalling Tel Aviv or Libanon tv images. Anyway, I won’t tell you that this is apocalypse, cos to be honest, I am not so fond of biblic books. But I watch tv news once a while. And still live in real world:) Catastrophic events are more and more likely to happen to common people, like your neighbour, or ME, and YOU. And because we are unique, as individuals, we can have unique reactions to the same event, eg. earthquakes, hurricanes, terrorism attacks, fake alerts, war battlefields, but also everyday stress and anger management issues. Times they are a changing. Society evolves fast and speed, as well as enterprises are transforming their structure calling this process of internal reorganisation, « rational ». Their politic is mathematical and algebrical, so no more room for emotional issues, or troublemakers, ….
Do you knoe the story about canary used for testing carbon monoxide gas in last century ? According to a few sources, canaries are good early detectors of airborne poisons, they simply need more hoxygen, to fly high, than mices. The idea of using this sentinel species is accredited to physiologist John Scott Haldane, the inventor of hoxygen mask against World War I gases employed by Germans. He investigated mine disasters, especially, the toxic gases which killed most miners after firedamp and coal dust explosions. Finally, in 1986, electronic gas detectors replaced those lovely vocalist birds. This use of canary for testing environemental health reminds me of my burn out, at work, in september 2015. Constant stress exposure during a long period of time, or chronic stress, and Paris attacks (january and november 2015) caused me PTSD ( panic attacks, physic, mental and nervous exhaustion, break down, tremors nerves, anxiety, sleepless nights, memory-lost, rage attacks, hypervigilance, paranoia, and various addictions).
To be honest with you, I admit I have been quite workhaolic since 10 years now, since I left my homecountry, and moved to France, parisian suburbs, in december 2007. That means, that all my family network lives in Italy, and although I am quite social, and friendly, it’s been quite hard to build new relationships, and friendships. Especially, considering the crazy turn over of young people in the company I am working for, still an uncertain time (please, accept my discretion on this subject). That means that every two years, I saw my new friends leaving for Uk, Us, Italy and Spain. Some spared money and they are world traveling, right now. Some met a life companion, dating on line, and eventually got married. And moved to Abu Dabi, Emirates, to get a cute tan and a new lifestyle. Since I am not keen on high tech, I have been in and out social networks, several times. I still like penwriting. Or writing emails to keep in touch with old friends. This habit is less common today. It goes all so fast that people can’t find their time to stop, close their eyes to relax a second, and breath ….I don’t blame anybody, coz I have been that person, me too. You just feel compelled to go on marching in.
Circumstances led me to my very personal « battlefield ». And this blog is meant to detail what kept me alive, and still does. How I crossed over the desert, and met wonderful people who helped me getting out of deep quicksand. Step by step. Inch by inch. In Al Pacino words, from the movie Any given Sunday : « I tell you this, in any fight it’s the guy who’s willing to die that who’s gonna win that inch. And I knoe that if I have got a life anymore, it’s because I’m still willing to fight and die for that inch. Cos that’s what living is. The 6 inches in front of your face. Now, I think you gonna see a guy who will go that inch with you. You gonna see a guy who will sacrify him self for this team because he knows that, when it comes down on him, you gonna do the same for him. That’s a team, gentlemen. And either we heal now as a team, or we will die as individuals. That’s football guys. That’s all it is. Now, what you gonna do ? »