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My legs started tingling, and becoming weaker. My legs start to tremble and I fear they may give out.
This is my experience every morning as I stand in front of the sink, brushing my teeth and taking my meds.
My arms and legs are so weak from the nerve damage caused by polyneuropathy, that walking across the room, even sitting up for too long can feel like I’ve just sprinted.
When your muscles aren’t working right, the rest of the muscles need to step up to compensate. This is exhausting. Anyone working at a job where they’re actually doing enough for two people, have a sense of what this tired feels like.
Simple things like getting my breakfast can go smoothly, or it can turn into a game of, “Oops, that happened”, as I drop one thing after another because my hands aren’t cooperating.
I can barely write my name any more. But I can type with three fingers, and speak. So I can continue writing.
Here’s the point of all this. When I’m struggling through this, my breathing becomes quick and shallow. Like it does when you’re afraid or after a hard workout.
It’s safe to say the longer my breathing stays that way, the greater the likelihood I’ll begin having anxious thoughts about how short of breath I am, and how much I don’t like it. Which only adds fuel to the fire.
So instead, I lie down and focus on relaxing all my muscles, letting them know they don’t have to work anymore.
I also take several deep, diaphragmatic breaths to let my body know we’re switching to something new.
Through my self-talk, I describe how grateful I am to be resting after getting ready for the day. I validate any feelings of frustration, and sometimes narrate the noticing of my breath slowing, becoming calmer and deeper.
Because I process verbally versus visually or kinesthetically, the inner coaching is helpful for keeping me calmer and more focused.
Its being mindful of the role breathing plays in my experience of how ‘hard’ something is to do. Far too often, the idea of doing something difficult is enough to shift your breathing as you think about all the ways something could go wrong.
In my case, I need to do certain things for myself, regardless of how hard they are to do. This is why its so important to be able to manage your physiological response to the ‘hard’.
It helps you stay calm, or regain calm, even when your body is struggling with anxiety, and so on. I’m not suggesting you push yourself to exhaustion. Only that you understand there are skills to help you stay calm and focused in a way that helps keep you more clear headed during the process.
Its when your emotions or anxious thoughts highjack your experience that things tend to go sideways.
I provide my clients with materials and coaching to help them learn to do this proficiently. It goes a long way in keeping you in the driver’s seat of your life.