Stuck in 'Freeze' right now

  • 7 Replies
  • 1599 Views
*

keepfighting

  • Member
  • 409
  • I'm not broken just bent
    • View Profile
Stuck in 'Freeze' right now
« on: September 16, 2014, 11:06:41 AM »
Like I've already posted somewhere else, my youngest DD had an accident about a year ago. She will have to be in specialist dental care until she's 20 years old which means another 10 years to go for her.

A few months later, DH and older DD got into a car accident together. Luckily, just a few bruises for DH but the car was a write off.

Another six weeks later, older DD left on her bike to school. A few minutes later, she called me on my cell and from her voice I could immediately tell that something was seriously wrong (she's not one to make a fuss). She had gotten into a biking accident. She was disoriented but some nice lady was with her and told me where she was. Turned out she had a concussion and a broken nose.

That all happened in the last 'school year' (here: from September to July). Now the new school year has started and I'm frozen stiff. I am terrified that even more nasty things like that will happen to my little family and I really really feel that I can't take any more.

I've been trying to rationalize this, telling myself that the odds of anything on that scale happening again to our little family are extremely small and I should not worry about it but it doesn't seem to help. I am trying to escape the angst by reading, fitness classes, playing endless mindnumbing games on the internet and comfort eating. I feel like if I fade quietly away, where no one notices me or gets annoyed by me, I can keep my family from harm (I know it sounds completely mad but that's how I feel). If I stay quiet and invisible, than maybe fate or whoever is in charge will spare us from more accidents and hurt.

Does anyone have any useful tips/would like to share his/her experience of how to get out of this frozen state of mind? - I seem to be at my wit's end here....

Re: Stuck in 'Freeze' right now
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2014, 04:30:24 PM »
First of all, you have my fullest empathy. I've had stories like that happening - just one thing after the other. Bleargh. And kudos to you that you still handled your dd's accident with such poise.

Here's a barrage of advice, then. Most of it will turn out to be unhelpful - you decide.

Freeze might be combated by Flight or Fight? What do you think? It would make sense (I think). Would you say that your fitness classes are an example of Flight? Are they a symptom or a cure? I'm asking because for some reason, I sometimes get out of milder EFs by rearranging furniture. Or by therapeutic baking. Or by researching the topic. Any activity that seems even remotely connected to fixing the problem. (And exercize does help get rid of stress hormones, so maybe you're on to something here.)

Fight works still better. Not really, actually fighting, of course, just getting properly indignant and angry and shocked at past events.

If part of your trauma was that your trouble was overlooked, or minimized, or trivialized, or maybe you were even punished or rejected for having problems at all - then maybe you need to be validated and heard? Now, that's easy to say, I know. It's a bit of a ticklish subject, going spelunking in my problems without freefalling into EFs. But here's some things that worked for me.

---Writing a dialogue with my inner team. I sit down, relax, and go into freewriting mode. Then I write a dialogue - like a script. What works well is asking a question. Usually, an answer wells up within me. I often get a sense of where it's from, i.e. what inner part is speaking. Then I react to that answer, maybe ask a new question, and things go on from there, just like in an actual dialogue. If there's no reply, I'll just write that down as three dots, and maybe either ask another question, or stay silent and wait. (So half the sheet might be filled with a line of dots, then another line of dots, then another...). After all, if I talked to a real actual person who was hurting and in trouble, I might just have to sit there and wait for them to collect their thoughts too, or maybe just be gentle and respectful of their silence. The ground rules are, everyone talks with some basic respect, and emotional abuse isn't acceptable. So if my inner critic starts abusing me, he gets told off. If he gives me valuable information or if he validates me, I'll thank him and express my appreciation. ------ This has turned my life around. But maybe that's just me.

---Writing to myself about my old trauma. Like a note or a letter you leave for a good friend who's hurting. For me, that's usually along the lines of: YES it was bad, NO it wasn't just you imagining things, NO ONE listens to their kid talk about being bullied and basically goes 'tough sh*t, you're on your own', who even DOES that, this is NOT NORMAL BEHAVIOUR, etc.

---Freewriting. Unburdening myself to someone who knows how to do active listening. Journaling about how I feel. Doing a version of CBT.

Lastly, giving myself permission to be affected by this. This is like a bout of the flu, you get to be slowed down and you get to take care of yourself, and no one has a right to make you feel like you're being weak. This is because usually, NOT ONLY do I have EFs, I also feel guilty as all * for having them. Sometimes I wouldn't be surprised if one of the things that trigger EFs are EFs.

Hang in there.

*

pam

  • Member
  • 97
    • View Profile
Re: Stuck in 'Freeze' right now
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2014, 04:13:13 PM »
I say cry. Similar to schrodinger's cat's flu example, let yourself out of regular everyday life to purposely take a break for an hour or so. But during the break let yourself cry--cry out of frustration, injustice, unfairness, anger, and worry. Crying is always a relief for me if I let myself do it without self-criticism. You're allowed to have all your feelings and express them however you want.

*

keepfighting

  • Member
  • 409
  • I'm not broken just bent
    • View Profile
Re: Stuck in 'Freeze' right now
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2014, 10:13:14 AM »
Thank you both for your replies! I hope you don't think that I didn't value them because it took me so long to reply - I am a slow processor if it comes to things that touch me to my core - and this certainly does.

I've been mulling your suggestions over in my mind, testing some of your tips to see what works for me (...still kind of hoping that there'd be a way to just 'snap' out of freeze but alas....).

I've been working on my flight responses - going to the gym one extra time a week, working in the garden (autumn is just starting here), spoiling myself a bit by going to the hairdresser's and getting a pedicure. I've also been consciously reminding myself that there are other responses available to me than 'freeze' and that they might be a healthier way of coping in this situation. So that was a good tip, thank you SC!

I've also started writing - though I've made the exercises simpler for me. I've been writing in my journal - not daily but still - just to let myself know that I'm here, that I'm actually living and not just coping with past trauma and fear.

I've bought a new notepad - small but big enough to write a few thoughts on it. I've started writing down what hurts me/frightens me and (if possible) details as to the triggers. After I've written them, I put them in a box. I'll decide what to do with the content later, once I've written 'away' what troubles me now.

I like the idea of a good cry. It's a good way of releasing stress and I can't believe I never even thought of it! Only problem is that I can only do that if nobody's around - especially the kids - so there has been no good oportunity for it yet. Will do, though.

As you can see, I've really taken all you've said to heart - so thanks again to schödinger's cat and pam!  :hug:

Re: Stuck in 'Freeze' right now
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2014, 02:17:34 PM »
Glad to hear something was useful. I'm hoping that life treats you kindly, and that there'll be blue skies for you again soon.

*

Londiwe

  • Member
  • 1
    • View Profile
Re: Stuck in 'Freeze' right now
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2015, 05:36:35 AM »
Hi ,I'm new to the site and I can relate to the freeze response .I am just so glad that there are people like me out there who are fighting for their lives.i have long been told that I am too sensitive,etc etc yet I was suffering badly from childhood abuse at the hands of my mother.i guess I've been in shock all my life and I am finally thawing and the pain and shock are incredible but I'm gonna make it .i know I will .i am finally thawing.Thank you for having me here x

*

arpy1

  • Member
  • 727
    • View Profile
Re: Stuck in 'Freeze' right now
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2015, 12:37:32 PM »
 :bighug: to you, Londiwe - much support  :yes:

*

woodsgnome

  • Member
  • 1633
  • I did not wish to live what was not life
    • View Profile
Re: Stuck in 'Freeze' right now
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2015, 05:49:34 PM »
Hi, Londiwe  :wave:, your story dovetails with some of mine, especially your comment that "I have long been told that I am too sensitive,etc etc yet I was suffering badly from childhood abuse at the hands of my mother. I guess I've been in shock all my life." Same here, it started with the m abuse and mushroomed into other people and circumstances to where I felt like I was trapped and doomed to a forlorn existence. It's been a long trek, and I'm still learning, but I've been able to find another side to all the pain; ain't easy, though :sadno:.


You didn't mention if you've run across a book many here have found useful. It's by Pete Walker and titled "Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving" plus he has an informative website... http://pete-walker.com/.  If you check out the “freeze” sort as he describes it, you'll find a lot of ups/downs to that type. While it's easy to dwell on the cons, there's a good upside that we tend to overlook, mired as we are in “poor me” habits. So I'd encourage you to consider those positive traits—I've found the so-called negatives aren't so terrible in light of knowing the better stuff.


One example—I live the definition of hermit, but have been able to use it in a positive light, especially within certain employment roles (actor/teacher) which were actually aided by the mindfulness/awareness Walker credits the freeze types with being attuned to.


So I hope you keep up with what you said so well:  “the pain and shock are incredible but I'm gonna make it”. All the best wishes for you as you continue to “thaw”  :sunny:.