Some days you don’t know when your bucket is close to full until it’s overflowing. This was me recently and many times in the past.
An old friend sent a picture of myself from freshman year of high school. At first, I looked at it and smiled. All of the sudden, I started crying. That poor girl in that picture was struggling so much and no one knew. She felt so alone and had no one she trusted to talked to.
That 14 year old version of me was suffering from some severe anxiety and had no idea what was going on. I don’t remember feeling anxious at all, but I could not eat. The act of eating food made me extremely nauseous for a month of my life. I knew I had to eat to live, so I would force myself to eat at least a little something. I only remember being stressed about not being able to eat.
My bucket was overflowing and my nervous system was on high alert. I didn’t understand what was going on enough to be able to communicate my concerns in an effective manner. I also didn’t have anyone close to me who would have seen my struggles.
Looking back on it with the knowledge I have, I can see why I would have had that nervous system reaction. All of the stressors of life collect in a proverbial bucket. When that bucket, we'll call it the threat bucket, gets too full it starts to spill out. What results from that leaking bucket is a physical manifestation of your stress, be it body pain, headaches, stomach upset, nausea, so on and so forth. Ever do something you do all the time only to end up in excruciating pain? That's your threat bucket overflowing and telling you something needs to change.
We need stress. It's what keeps us alert and alive. It's what keeps our bodies regulated on its baseline. But too much stress is where things go awry. There has to be an ebb and flow of putting stuff in and taking it out in order to keep that bucket from leaking. Taking stuff out can look like movement, nutritious foods, nurturing relationships, talk therapy, massage, bodywork, time in nature, whatever it is that helps you lower your stress.
Why do I call it a "threat" bucket? Because stress adds up to threat and threat is what motivates us to move away from danger. See a bear running towards you? You need that threat reaction to run away. Threat isn't bad. Threat is the brain's way of saying we gotta do something different. When that threat bucket starts leaking you know it's hightime to do something different.
You don't need to do all the things at once. Please, don't do all the things at once. Piece is apart and take care of the things that are most prominent to you first. I can help you with the physical aspect of things, and if I can't I will help you find someone who can.
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