July 5, 2011 by Cathy Vartuli

When Too Much Comes Up At Once…

I’ve been dealing with some intense memories, and I’ve been hurting a lot. I feel raw and lost… and all the old thoughts and feelings are coming up. I’m overwhelmed and scared. What can I do? — Nancy

When Too Much Comes Up At Once... 1We’re sorry you’re feeling so unsettled. We know how bad that can feel.

If it helps, you aren’t alone. Many of us have been there. As you keep healing, it will get better.

It sounds like your primitive brain is frightened and overwhelmed. Sometimes when we deal with very intense feelings from the past, our brain “forgets” that it isn’t happening now. It can feel like the threat is imminent and huge and NOW. If you can help your brain see that there is no physical threat in the room with you, it can help.

If we have old frozen memories, as they thaw out they can feel intense. There are ways to make the process a bit gentler and easier. We don’t have to plunge into the deep part of the pool! We can stay in the shallow end while we get used to the water and practice. As we get better at releasing old energies and grounding ourselves, as we develop a stronger circle of support… we can handle bigger issues. Just like we may start out with 5lb weights at the gym before we move up to 10lb-ers. Does that make sense?

As you learn to balance yourself, soothe yourself, and process those old energies, this does get easier! And we find that Inner Tapping is a gentle way to approach intense memories. It allows people to tune in and release the trauma without having to be neck deep in them.

You may find our grounding exercises helpful. If it feels right to you, try posting them a few places in your home. That can help you remember to use them… when we’re triggered and overwhelmed it’s hard to think straight!

One of our favorite recordings is the Constricted Breathing Exercise. You may want to see if that helps you feel more calm. And if you can, reach out to safe friends and family when you’re hurting. Our Group Coaching Program has a forum where you can share what’s going on and find a sense of connection — even in the middle of the night.

It might help to do some gentle tapping while you go through a script like this (see if it feels right to you):

Karate Chop: Even though I feel so vulnerable and scared, I am taking care of myself by tapping right now.

Even though I feel so alone, someone wrote these words for me, and I’m tapping with them. Maybe I’m not as alone as I thought…

Even though I feel overwhelmed by the emotions I’m feeling, I did survive them long ago, and I’m open to healing and releasing them now.

Top of the Head: This feels pretty big!
Eyebrow: I feel scattered and scared.
Side of the Eye: I need some help!
Under the Eye: I need relief!
Under the Nose: Back then I didn’t have powerful ways to comfort myself.
Chin: But I do now.
Collarbone: I’m tapping right now.
Under the Arm: That helps soothe my body and mind.

Top of the Head: I am scared.
Eyebrow: I don’t feel completely safe.
Side of the Eye: There is a lot going on.
Under the Eye: So much got stirred up.
Under the Nose: I learned a long time ago how to shut this down…
Chin: But maybe now I can invite the emotions to become more neutral.
Collarbone: I do want to process and release this hurt.
Under the Arm: I invite a calm, grounded feeling into my heart, my body, my mind.

Top of the Head: My primitive brain is scared.
Eyebrow: It thinks it’s happening all over again.
Side of the Eye: But there isn’t anyone here hurting me.
Under the Eye: That’s a memory from long ago.
Under the Nose: I am safe right here, right now.
Chin: My primitive brain is trying to protect me…
Collarbone: And I thank it. I do like protection!
Under the Arm: I invite it to know that I am safe right now…
Top of the Head: And I ask my body to release these old feelings of fear.

Take a deep breath.

When Too Much Comes Up At Once... 2It may help to know that these intense feelings don’t often last very long. (Our body and our mind take breaks.) Whatever old coping mechanisms we used in the past can come back and distract us. That’s okay, too. We can tap on the energies that feel right and learn to love ourselves back to wholeness.

Intense issues are often best dealt with when we have support. If it isn’t safe for you to address them yourself, find a coach, therapist, or group that feels safe and caring. You can take it slow to see how they deal with strong emotions. Do they help you learn to comfort yourself? Do they teach you skills and techniques for grounding yourself and feeling more empowered? Those are good signs!

We hope this helps! Know that we are sending warm wishes and calm energy. Take as much as you like!

Cathy & Rick

  • This has been really helpful for me to remember: “It can feel like the threat is imminent and huge and NOW. If you can help your brain see that there is no physical threat in the room with you, it can help.” -Rick

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