Do you remember the show “LOST”?
I was so obsessed when it first started. Then it got weird and it “lost” me. (Ha) That being said, there was a scene in the first or second episode that has really stayed with me.
Jack, one of the lead characters, explains to another character how he deals with the fear he sometimes faces as a surgeon. In those moments when the fear was big, he would let himself feel it for five seconds, then he’d let it go and move on.
There’s a scene shortly after where another character applies this practice and it helps her get through something really difficult.
I’ve sort of adopted this practice into my own life, but for other things. It helps me manage my anxiety.
For example, when I finally crawled into the shower today, I was just… done. I had so little sleep last night and had been puked on multiple times. This morning W was fussy and trying to nurse a baby who is pulling and arching his back while screaming at you is not the peaceful idyllic scene they present in the breastfeeding pamphlets in the hospital.
When he finally fell asleep, I crawled into the shower for a moment of peace. As I stood and let the water pour over me, a rush of feelings hit me.
As I let the hot water beat into me, I wrestled with how overwhelming the last 24 hours have felt. So, I closed my eyes and I let myself feel all of it.
Fear that something more was wrong.
Worry that I was doing something wrong.
I let the feelings get big, but only for 5 seconds.
And then I turned off the water and let it go.
I know that I have to acknowledge these hard days when they come. Pretending they aren’t there, or shoving all these feelings down doesn’t serve me.
…but wallowing in them doesn’t serve me either.
So, I take a deep breath and give myself five seconds whenever I need it. It’s usually just enough to give me what I need to put one foot in front of the other and keep going. I know eventually this will pass. He will feel better. I will sleep. And life will resume.
In the meantime,
I just keep keepin’ on. Hopefully with less vomit.