“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” And keep breathing.

January 7, 2021  |  no comments yet

It’s an especially rough period amid already turbulent times. Last night I posted to my friends on social media:

Breathing. I’ll just keep breathing, slowly and into the diaphragm. Not big breaths – gentle breaths. Whatever happens. Join me?

Together, virtually, we breathed and acknowledged our experience. I adjusted my breathing to support my nervous system’s calm (parasympathetic) activity. I and posted what I was doing:

Still here, still breathing. I keep noticing I can have feelings I *really* don’t want to be having and still breathe. I can be not-okay and still breathe. Slowly, into the diaphragm, light, gentle breaths.

I couldn’t change what was happening in the world. But I could choose what I was doing each moment. I couldn’t make it all better, or much better. But I avoided making it worse with pointless rehashing and speculation. I distracted myself pleasantly—we watched a documentary series about the Grateful Dead, and I ate some sweets. I drew the line before the distractions made things worse by not eating too much and going to bed at a reasonable time.

I kept breathing through my nose, gently, into my diaphragm. I stayed with the supportive online chat among friends. I didn’t like what I was feeling and thinking. Of course I didn’t. That’s a sane response to real troubles.

I wouldn’t have tried to talk myself into liking what was happening. I just needed to get through it.

A dear friend posted this.

Used with permission from The Anxiety Connection. I recommend these Coping Cards, which you can get here.

And keep breathing. Through the nose, gently, into the diaphragm. One breath after another. We’re right here with you.