“Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality.” — Earl Nightingale (the Dean of Personal Development)
How do you cope with trauma? Like many things in life, it isn’t something we can prepare for or anticipate. In fact, it has many faces so we often miss the initial signals.
We think because it happened to someone else, somewhere else that it isn’t really impacting us. Or that we don’t have a right to label the symptoms as resulting from an indirect traumatic experience.
But it isn’t true.
“How was your day? How are you feeling?” My husband IMed me one afternoon. He was checking in briefly during his business trip between meetings.
“Meh.” I said. That three letter word was code for feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, tried, angry, drained . . . done.
Luckily he had to go back into a meeting and didn’t further interrogate my hopeless mood swing. At the time, I wasn’t sure what was causing my negative, grumpy mood. Bad diet? Perhaps, I eat horribly when my spouse is away. Not enough sleep? Entirely possible.
And then I checked my social media outlets and the picture crystallized.
It seemed like the rage machine of the American public had been engaged for too long. Every day there was something new shiny and hot button that brought out the worse in people. Friends were arguing with friends over genders and bathrooms. Wages. Standford rape case. Trump. Clinton. Orlando. Gun control. Gay rights.
I’m not taking sides. I think people should debate, discuss and stand behind their values, opinions and insights. It’s not a wrong or right. It’s not even a “is it worth it” issue for me. Continue as you are.
A couple of years ago, my brother-in-law bought me a pair of Bose noise filtering headphones. I tend to be a bit anxious on flights. Anxiety tends to heighten the senses, makes a person jumpy. Noises that normally are just background sounds becomes overwhelming. The headphones dulls them; which then reduces the anxiety.
I used social media to connect with friends and family. I want to see pictures of their 40th birthday camping trip or vacation to Alaska. But lately, I was feeling disconnected. Overwhelmed by news. Overwhelmed by rage. Overwhelmed by trauma.
My nerves were taxed. Drained. I needed a “Bose” system to filter out some of the “noise” in my world. To reduce the symptoms of trauma. To let me recover. Get back up before another event flooded my wall with negativity and dragged me back to my knees.
The “dream” filter I was looking for . . . was me.
I realized that if I had a friend who pushed their political stance, view on gun control or why the world is going to hell in a hand basket every time we met for coffee, I would stop hanging out with them. Avoid their texts. Delete them from my phone.
Facebook is that friend. And that is what I did.
I needed a break, a chance to regroup. I wanted time to think, mourn and recover from tragedy without the steady stream of the rage machine flooding my senses every time I logged on. I needed to filter out the noise.
I took back what control I have over the situation — what was being planted into my daily life . . . my unconsciousness. I filtered out a bit of the negative so I can let in more of the positive. See hope rather than hopelessness.
I can’t disconnect entirely from Facebook for it is part of the work I do for local organizations and non-profits. However, I did delete the application from my smart devices. I can only access it when I am at my computer. Even then, my usage of the app has been limited to once in the morning and once in the afternoon.
I have been doing it for a week with stellar results. My mood has improved, along with my productivity. My handheld is no longer a gap filler, something to do between this and that.
What you let in, influences you. What you allow to float around in your head, becomes your reality. It is up to each of us to maintain a personal balance.
Sometimes, we just need to filter out the noise. Be our own Bose.