What is grounding? What is its purpose and aim? What if a particular grounding technique isn't actually very effective at grounding? Do we confuse the outcome of grounding with a list of techniques?
Everybody has mental health. The question is how good it is, and how we manage it. We need strategies for managing our emotions and feelings. In this article I share my own.
‘It’s horrible being triggered.’ I nod. It’s an understatement. There are no words to describe it. The trigger comes and our bodies and brains surge with the aversiveness of survival: everything tells us to get away. This is dangerous! This is painful! This isn’t good! Get away, get away!
All I did was walk into the kitchen and pick up a cloth. But the sudden waft of bleach flung me far, far back into some childhood memory. I switched to a traumatised part of myself. I had been ‘triggered’.
I was brimming. And I hated it. I hated being upset. The surge of emotion through my body. Being out of control. The pounding heart, the air being crushed out of my chest, the pain-stretchy zinginess in my arms and legs, and the scream … the lacerating, shrill shriek of a scream in my head. Ugh. Emotions.
‘Unfortunately, you’ve undone all the good you’ve done today.’ She was deadly serious and I was utterly perplexed. What was she talking about? I had spent the day delivering my training day ‘Dealing with Distress: Working with Suicide and Self-Harm.’ A tough day, but a good day. A day of hope for how to help people who see no other way through their pain but by taking their own lives. A day of guts-and-bowels emotion.
Real hope isn’t cheap. Real hope is born out of a bloody struggle. Hope has guts. Hope is what you’re left with when you’ve stared down the despair. So what changed? How did I get from hopelessness to hope?
Years ago, when I first started therapy, I was invited to imagine a safe place. I didn’t understand the concept at all. I didn’t have anywhere that I could summon to mind and feel positive about. Bummer.
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