I have not made a single post during this week… Why? Because I was managing crisis. I have spent so much time on my computer and my phone for the past 7 days, that it just makes me nauseous. And my brain is so tired…
You know how you go about your daily life, enjoying sun, being happy for a free day and then you find out you no longer have a job? You’ve never been in a situation like that? Well, I have! And let me tell you – it’s not fun!
So, on Saturday I just thought I had a free day (there was an electricity issue at my gym) – I could finish up my blog posts, I have an e-mail I send out to my clients every month, that I had to get to, so I was really happy about that.Then I woke up on Sunday and my Whatsapp blew up! My gym, which was like my second home, was closing for good. No explanations, no warnings… Just closed for good and we were welcomed to a meeting on Monday.
I don’t remember that Sunday. I know I cried… I know I contacted my clients to let them know that the gym’s closed and we won’t be meeting for our PT sessions… But I don’t remember much else. Why?
My brain is super selective. Especially with traumatic episodes, which I have had my fair share of. I have learnt to accept it. When something like that happens, I try to make as many visual (a.k.a. photos) reminders about the time, so when the worst part is over – I can look at it and try to piece it together.
Why it happens? Because our biochemistry is amazing. When you see a threat (in my case it was a message in Whatsapp), you send a signal from your eyes to your brain stem. That’s where you develop your fight or flight response. Our brain doesn’t know if it’s a lion that is attacking you or a message on a phone, because they are both stressors and our biochemistry always responds to a stressor the same. You get your heart rate up, your blood starts pumping and you start sweating to do whatever it takes to survive. You are ready to fight this or flee.
Cortisol and adrenaline helps you to get in this state, but it should be a short period of time – you fight your battle and you’re done. Or you run as fast as you can and hopefully get away from the situation. In my case, who would I physically fight or who could I run from? It’s just a message stating the fact… If you don’t fight or run, but the stress continues, cortisol impairs your memory function, by affecting your hippocampus where you make your memories*.
So, be careful with long term stress. It affects your brain and you can miss out on so many cool things in life. Try to resolve the problem as quickly as possible. Or learn to meditate to bring your cortisol down, if the situation is not resolvable. Do whatever it takes to keep your brain healthy.
But as for me – I tried running and yoga. And I hope it’s helped me to get over the biggest stress. Do whatever works for you, to get you back to normal state of mind, so you can start to make new memories and to remember them.
Right now I am trying to find my peace with what happened. Life goes on and I have to take whatever I can from this experience to make myself smarter and tougher.
*Bremner, J. D. (2006). Traumatic stress: effects on the brain. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 8(4), 445–461.