A few minutes ago I was sitting having breakfast in my parents kitchen, the radio was on in the background and I heard something and thought “that would be perfect for today’s blog”, but by the time I had walked from the kitchen table to my laptop the idea had disappeared into the ether!
I’ve been having a lot of those moments recently! Don’t worry, I’m not really losing my marbles, although sometimes it feels like it! But I am under a huge amount of stress as my Dad is undergoing surgery today and although we are all very hopeful and optimistic that there will be a great outcome and he will be back to full health really soon, it is still an incredibly stressful time. He’s the only Dad I have and he is very precious and the thought of his life being in the hands of complete strangers with sharp scalpels, even if they are world renowned experts, is very scary.
So right now, with my Inner Reptile on full alert and more or less in total charge of my brain, intelligent thought is a bit of a struggle right now! And one of the first things that goes when the Inner Reptile is in charge is short term memory, hence the large number of what my Dad calls “senior moments” in my world.
I think its really important in stressful situations like this to acknowledge that it is so. There are some situations that simply are stressful and no amount of logic and reasoning is going to change that. Being in denial is just going to make it worse, as is beating yourself up for being stressed. But bringing your stress levels up to your conscious awareness is one way to get the Inner Reptile to release some control, its like telling him “its OK, I know this is horrible and I appreciate you keeping me alive” – there’s nothing that calms the Inner Reptile more than being told he’s right!
But really all I can do right now is be aware of the limitations of my brain in this situation, keep a pen and paper handy to write down ideas the minute they come to me, because by the time I’ve gone to look for a pen they will be gone! I’m also finding the voice memo function on my iPhone very useful as I can record a thought as I’m having it. Being aware of my limitations also means I can be much more in control of my response to my reactions – its impossible to control reactions, they’ve happened before you can grab them – the concept of “over-reacting” has always amused me – its like saying you’re “over-gravitying” – gravity happens, its how you respond to it that counts! Its your response to your reactions that’s critical, and in deep reptilian territory I know my reactions are not going to be my normal ones. But with that awareness I can stop, take a deep breath and choose a more appropriate response.
And if that brilliant idea ever does decide to come back to me I’ll blog about it tomorrow!