“I’m gonna get up and clean. I’m gonna go right now.
Here we go. …
Nothing’s happening! I’m stress paralyzed.”
Husband responds, “Hun, I don’t think that’s a thing.”
Wife moans in response, “It might be a thing…”
This is an excerpt from the movie, Mom’s Night Out. The wife is sunken down on the floor in her dark closet when her husband comes home to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day. She expresses apathy over the state of her house and sadness about who she is. Now mind you, she does it in a much more Hollywood entertaining sorta way. For those of us who have experienced depression, those moments are not so mellow, but can be more dark.
At any rate, she describes a real feeling – anxiety. Stress is anxiety. Anxiety is stressful. (I am not equating stress with an anxiety disorder, which is also a very real thing. But one can feel both stressed and anxious at the same time). Both can paralyze us from action and cause us to be immobile. Apathy can set in. One may start believing the lies that they are incapable, unworthy, weak, insignificant, unable, a loser….purposeless.
Stress paralyzed is a real thing! So what can be done about it?
- REACH OUT. Do not handle your stress alone. I know it’s more instinctive to do so and may be embarrassing to tell someone else how you’re feeling. But I guarantee you that it can only help – with the right person’s ear. I say that because you have to obviously fully trust the person you want to share your heart with. Once you find that person, let them know in advance if possible that you have some struggles. Then when you do text them during a stress-paralyzed moment, they will be more apt towards empathy and understanding. Irregardless of talking to a friend ahead of time, I think you will find that most who truly love us will provide that empathy no matter what. Famous speaker Dr. Brene Brown shares that vulnerability breeds connection. Connection brings healing.
- BREATH. Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Breath? As if it was that simple!” I get you. As a therapist, I’ve learned for years how powerful deep-breathing is. But until I actually ran into my own issues with anxiety and depression; having no other option but to breath. I realized that it is truth. Ironically, many of us do not breath properly to begin with. We breath shallow rather than deeply from our diaphragm. This creates increased muscle tension in our bodies that only fuels our anxious minds. If our bodies are tense, it is much more difficult to relax our minds.
- WRITE A LIST. Yes, write. Not a journal, although those can be really great for helping you get perspective on your thoughts and identify more clearly what you are feeling. I mean write out what you need to do that is plaguing you with numbness. Some may write a list in the note app of your phone. If that works for you, then more power to you! But I found there is power in writing with a pen or pencil on actual real paper.
- SELF-CARE. Take a minute for yourself. This looks different for different people. Some may listen to music or sit in silence in prayer. Some may need to zone out with a TV show or coloring.
- PRAYER. Though I list this last, it definitely does not need to be last! Prayer is a powerful tool. But I know sometimes in those moments, the silence on the other end can be discouraging. However, I don’t believe that just because we cannot hear God that He isn’t listening. I think He is – very much so. The best person to bring healing and restoration is Him.
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” ~ Matthew 11:28-29