Underground Confidence Recovery

CONNECTION As A Way To Cope With Traumatic Global Events & Illness

March 09, 2022 Shelley Treacher Underground Confidence Season 3 Episode 6
Underground Confidence Recovery
CONNECTION As A Way To Cope With Traumatic Global Events & Illness
Show Notes Transcript

We are affected when disaster and terrible inequality happen in the World. Here, I talk about illness, storms, doomscrolling, and Ukraine. I suggest ways to cope with feeling anxious or helpless, and I talk about our connection with each other.

GQ Article "How to detox from news anxiety after a day of doomscrolling"

Here's another podcast you might like:  Worry, Anxiety & Comfort Eating

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Hi, this is Shelley Treacher from Underground Confidence.

Over the next few weeks, you'll notice this podcast take on a specific format. If you're a regular listener, you'll know that I talk about all the different reasons that you might comfort eat and how to manage that. You'll also know that I talk about relationship concerns. What this means is that I often end up talking about all the different things that make us human and all kinds of different mental health concerns that we all share, like self esteem, self confidence, body confidence, different feelings that we might find difficult, other compulsions, and generally how to navigate an emotional life.

So what I'm going to do is specifically dedicate once a month to comfort eating. Once a month to relationship concerns, whether in relationship or single. And the rest of the month to being human. To navigating the emotional experience that might lead to comfort eating, loneliness, or any of the emotional experiences that we all go through.

The difficult ones like anxiety, depression, trauma, dissociation.

I believe this is relevant to both categories of people, whether you're struggling with comfort eating or any other kind of addiction, or whether you're lonely in your relationship or without a partner. My aim is to help you to understand what's going on for you in these podcasts, and to find healthy ways to enjoy your life and to feel better about yourself.

You'll find the podcast specifically about comfort eating at the beginning of the month. Don't worry, it'll be reflected in the title. And then at the end of the month, I'll be talking about relationship concerns. But as I say, I think you'll get the most benefit if you're a comfort eater or if you're struggling with relationship from listening to all of these podcasts.

So I really hope that you'll carry on joining me every week. Today I was going to talk about the self critic, but in light of there being so much going on in the world, I want to address this instead. But first I want to address some of the things that are going on in everyday life at the moment. I've had a gap in recording now for a few weeks, firstly because I had technical difficulties, which fingers crossed seem to be okay now, and then secondly I had a birthday, and then finally I had a cold.

All of these things can be triggering in some way, not to mention what's going on in the world right now. Obviously, a lot of my clients have had COVID or some kind of virus or been ill in some way over the last couple of years, and there's just something I want to say about that first of all. What I experienced in myself and what I see in my clients and in other people is that it makes you feel a little bit different.

It means it's impossible to function as you normally would, but it also can be triggering into feeling a little bit more childlike or vulnerable or triggerable because you're low on resources physically and emotionally. So if you're ill, you can expect anything unusual to come up. I know for me, I often have bad dreams when I'm ill, and I often feel a bit more childlike and like I want a hug or for someone to look after me, but I don't want anyone to demand anything from me.

It's all a little bit more exaggerated than it normally might be in normal daily life. I'm just a little bit more sensitive, and so are my clients, so a lot of my job has been pointing out to them that they're ill, and that this is another exceptional circumstance which needs looking after. There's not a lot else you can do when you're ill.

So I'm urging you to be kinder to yourself when you're ill. To take extra extra care and to recognize that what you're feeling emotionally or physically is because you're not very well. It isn't anything else. It doesn't mean there's anything wrong with you. And of course, it might be a trigger to comfort eating.

Or to feeling lonely and possibly trying to get someone inappropriate to look after you. Instead of telling you to stop comfort eating or to not text that person that you've got a crush on, I would advise you to cut as quickly as possible to looking after yourself and admitting that you've got something going on for you that's different and that might make you feel vulnerable.

If you can surrender to it, you're more likely to be kinder to yourself and therefore have less need for comfort food or for the other person. That's not to say you don't need comfort. You do. And that's partly why I'm here. Birthdays can also be triggering in kind of the same way, except you're not physically vulnerable.

Hopefully. I experience my birthday every year as a big deal, and I think most people do, even if they are trying to ignore that fact. I know that for me birthdays kind of come with an expectation or a hope of feeling that I will be happy on that day and feel loved. Luckily I did this year and I'm sure I've orchestrated that in many ways.

There are some amazing people in my life which fortunately knew it was my birthday and treated me well. So any triggering I had was quickly allayed with the truth. But again, I would urge you to just be aware that it is kind of loaded. It's sort of a taboo, we don't really talk about it, but we all feel a bit of pressure around our birthdays, as I say, even if we're just trying to ignore that.

So go gently on yourself and find ways to address what you need in a healthy way, or to be curious about what you need, or even to allow yourself to go with the flow of what's actually happening. I'm aware that what I'm saying here today and everything that I say in these podcasts is relevant to what's going on with us in the world today.

In the UK, we had a massive storm a couple of weeks back, and a lot of people reported that this felt like a bit of a re triggering of COVID. So don't feel alone if that was your experience too. And of course, there's what's happening in the Ukraine. I contributed to an article about doomscrolling and coping with the anxiety that this might provoke this weekend.

I will put a link to that in this podcast for you to read when it comes out. It's not out as I speak, but you'll also find my podcast on anxiety quite useful here. We don't know what's going to happen, so we can get really hooked into looking up the information to try and find out. This can be a similar compulsion to comfort eating in that we're trying to manage how we feel.

So have a look at that podcast for ways to manage your anxiety. It's really important that you bring yourself back to the present and start bringing your nervous system back down. As I've said before with COVID, traumatic global events are triggering. We've had so much to cope with in the last couple of years that our systems are probably primed to feel this threat and to respond.

We may be partly asking whether there's anything that we're going to need to do, and we also might be asking if there's anything we can do to help. Is there one way that we can feel we're taking control of an out of control situation? We also feel connected to other people's pain. Perhaps more so since COVID and the news of George Floyd's killing, the Sarah Everard stories, and countless other atrocious inequalities that we've become aware of.

We seem to be becoming more aware of our connection with each other and with ourselves, both of them being the same thing really in the end. So finding a way to help can be expanding our humanity. Just as much as any human suffering matters and has consequences. You know also that I've talked about getting a dopamine hit when you eat.

This is likely also what happens when you doomscroll. So just like comfort eating, it quickly becomes an addiction. When there's a global event like this, my clients often talk about how they feel, and I think that's really important to do that. Sometimes, their own trauma can be triggered. For example, I spoke with a client recently who remembered being bullied at school, and that's what was triggered for her.

It's possible that the addiction to doomscrolling is a way of avoiding the pain or the personal suffering or the anxiety that we're triggered into feeling. The things that I usually recommend to try bringing your nervous system down, whether or not you're worried about the thing that might happen in the present or whether something else has been brought up for you from the past, are polyvagal exercises, that's polyvagal, hypnotherapy audios, short or long mindfulness meditations, and bedtime stories.

There's a lot of podcasts right now that will give you very soothing bedtime stories. Embodiment is also something that can help you here. Try moving, slowing down, breathing, or focusing on safety. Massage, you can do a little jaw massage if your jaw is tight, or you can cuddle a teddy bear. But also be curious about why you're looking for this information.

What do you actually hope to gain from this? Your real aim is to come back to the present and stop worrying about the future. In British culture, we think that we shouldn't be affected by something as big as this. We think that because it's bigger for someone else, that we're selfish if we feel affected.

But we are affected. As I offered for the article, every trauma can trigger our own experience or fear of difficulty, loss, trauma, abuse, or being overpowered. Normalizing and accepting your response is the first step to healing. If you wake from a nightmare, bring yourself to your current reality and safety.

Focus on something that makes you feel loved, warm and safe. Calm your own nervous system down with breathing and with kindness. Listen to something that makes you feel good or write about something you appreciate in your life. Prepare for your sleep by doing exactly the same things. Give yourself time to connect with feeling safe, with the help of the audios, rather than watching that detective series or working.

I was asked in the article how to talk to children about this, and my advice would be to let them lead, to listen to them, to help them feel safe, to calm them down, and to let them tell you what's on their minds. Reassure them that they are not under threat at the moment, and involve them in helping if that feels appropriate.

That's it from me for today. Just a friendly reminder to look after yourself, no matter what the situation, but particularly in the situation we have in the world today. I doubt that anybody from the Ukraine is listening to my podcast right now. I know looking at my stats, I've only had 22 listeners in the past year and a half, so it's unlikely.

But if there is anyone listening from the Ukraine right now, please know that we're thinking of you and we care and it matters. If you'd like some help with learning how to calm your nervous system down and start to face your feelings in a safe and compassionate way, please be in touch with me about my groups.

You can check me out on undergroundconfidence. com If you have any comments or questions, I would be delighted to take them. Please be in touch. Next week I will give you a reminder of the self critic behind comfort eating and how to deal with that, and I'll also start talking about other compulsions or ways that we manage how we feel as well.

Thank you so much for listening. I'll see you next Wednesday. This is Underground Confidence with Shelley Treacher.