A few weeks ago I had my fourth session with Celia, this also proved to be my last. For now!
By this time I really felt I was making headway in managing my anxiety with the tools Celia had given me (see previous posts for more info on these). In the days prior to this however, I had been experiencing raised levels of anxiety due to my trigger situation and a few associated things. However, the anxious feelings were less than I had experienced previously and I definitely am feeling more grounded in general.
The focus of this fourth session was mindfulness. As I have learned, and Celia explained, sometimes the best course of action is not to try to distract from or ‘manage’ unpleasant experiences but to simply acknowledge them, exist with them for that time and to ride them out. The focus of our mindfulness was to recognise my feelings and emotions and to sit with them.
Celia asked me the following questions (plus a few more) about how I felt, both physically and emotionally, in relation to my anxiety:
- Where in your body is the feeling/sensation?
- What size is it?
- Is it flat or 3D?
- What colour/density/weight/texture is it?
- What does the rest of your body feel like holding it?
- What do you usually do with it?
In all honesty, I was amazed to be able to tell her the answers to those questions! I felt like I was really tuning into myself to be able to do so. I just trusted what came in to my head first and went with that. For me at that time, it was a triangle with sharp edges and pointy corners. It was red with a black outline, of middling size, sitting right on my solar plexus and it was heavy. My body felt tired from holding it and it felt like the experience was taking over my body, rather than my body containing the experience. I think this is all correct, I’m maybe not exactly accurate with all that but it feels right. The shapes, colours etc I guess can change any given day depending on various factors. This is just what it was like for me at the time.
Once I had this visualised, Celia asked me just to sit with it. She then got me to focus on my breathing, breathing in acceptance and breathing out tension. At first, the in breath seemed to make the feelings a bit worse and the sensation heavier, which I wasn’t expecting since I was supposed to be breathing in acceptance… my body was not for accepting this! We kept going and then the sensation got smaller, lost it’s sharpness and ended up so it felt like my body contained the feelings as opposed to the feelings overtaking everything. This was good and was a powerful exercise for me.
The next exercise was naming my feelings and accepting them. Eek. This was a bit awkward for me because for whatever reason, I find speaking these things out loud a bit uncomfortable. However, I was not doing what I was doing to stay in my comfort zone so I carried on like the brave soldier I am. Ahem. Celia got me to tune into any emotions I felt and to name them aloud followed with “and that’s ok”. So for example, “I’m happy and that’s ok”, “I’m angry and that’s ok” etc. I’m not sure that this exercise made me feel any better but it definitely helped me to look within and identify my emotions in the moment and I think it will be useful in the future for sure. We then did some more of this using hypnosis. I immediately saw my emotions written on red balloons which were drifting away. I CAN VISUALISE all by myself!!! Who knew?!
Finally, looked back over what I had wanted to achieve at the start of our time together in December, which was to pull together a set of tools to help me cope with my anxiety. Celia had helped me to dive deep and discover my own negative beliefs which cause my issues, allowing me a better understanding of myself and my reactions to certain things as well has helping me put together the most precious took kit and so, our work together is complete for now. But there is always a one off session as an option if I find myself in need again.
In Celia’s own words:
“It’s been a great way to introduce you to the value of the mind body connection for healing and you now have a range of tools to support you as you move forward including future self exercise (this can be done again as it helps to install what you really want), mindfulness, your anchor (and your preferred belief), the EFT, visualisation, breathing, tapping, centering the body, self hypnosis.”
I think that sums it up really well for me. I know I’m not ‘fixed’, it doesn’t work that way. But I know myself better and I know I have an armoury I can use when I need it. Asking for help is one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. I hope sharing my experience has in turn helped someone else.
I will keep writing about this. I have a few topics I want to touch on still and I think it’s a conversation that needs to be kept going and not seen as a ‘sealed deal’. If only it was that simple eh! For now I’m feeling good. Stronger and more grounded, more capable.
I think the most important thing that I REALLY learned from Celia was that I’m important too. I matter. And that’s ok.