I was talking with my sister and thinking about what to write for this week. We discussed a lot of the topics I haven't covered yet. Some of them I don't have the experience with....like the incessant doctors visits. I was at the doctor a lot, but it was always because I had caught some bug or other. You know what, that's not true. I just realized I had 3 months of mind-numbing doctors visits when I was first diagnosed....I was trying to put myself in childhood and had no memories there. But I do have an adult perspective of doctors visits. Hmmmmm.....okay. Future post.
Anyhow. The things we were discussing all have several things as undercurrents to what is going on. So today I'm going to discuss adrenaline. It's a huge factor whether I'm going to the store, my first day of school, my first day at a new church, etc. It really relates to any place that will have new people in it, who eventually become familiar people.
When I am going somewhere and I know there will be new people, I generally have a major surge of adrenaline. Which means I am what is referred to as ADHD. Really all that is happening is that I have psyched myself up to be prepared for facing a lot of people with a lot of emotions. Once in a place, I start feeling bombarded and then I "act up" because of the anxiety and adrenaline rush. I am super happy and hyperactive. Then, after things become familiar and the emotions of the place are known at least, if not less than I had anticipated, I begin to crash.
The crash is usually just as sudden as the hyperactivity. I just feel very sedate and calm. This swing is often why people who have ADD or ADHD are misdiagnosed with bipolar, or vice versa. It is often seen as depression after such a high. But it doesn't feel like depression. It just feels good to be calm for a while. I hated the swing back and forth and so I hated being around people and going places. If I had something to do, i.e. if I were performing or singing or acting, I enjoyed it. The adrenaline gave me a little something extra and it was nice to have. But the crash afterward was not so much fun...mostly because everyone around me would ask me what was wrong.
Nothing. I was just tired.
There are a couple of cautions as I tell you what I do. First, if your child is on medication, be very, very careful about whether or not you use the acupressure. Second, be aware that if you can bring down the adrenaline naturally before it gets too high, there will not be the crash, but there will still be a lowering effect that happens. It is best if you learn to pick up on his signals. If you can do this, you can apply the therapies mentioned here as the adrenaline is climbing, and bring a nice balance that is timed perfectly. It takes practice. Use caution when doing these things and teaching them. While they are life savers for me, they could be detrimental if I used them unnecessarily.
As a child I had no idea what was happening when I was going into a new place. I just reacted. After learning to understand it, I am trying out new things to help me overcome it.
I tried out a new thing while I was in Arizona that seemed to do the trick. Just to be sure, I tried it out again when venturing to Costco (large, warehouse-type grocery store) with my friend Cecily, and her children. It mostly worked, however I began to feel a little overwhelmed at the end of our shopping adventure.
So. What I do to help myself. I'll give you the tried and true 2 things that have worked for a while now, and then the new thing I've been trying out.
First, I have a song that is very helpful for me. I have tried over 100 recordings of this song, but this recording is the best one for me. It also seems to help soothe and relax everyone I've worked with who has overly stimulated adrenal problems. This particular recording is not technically perfect, but the artist playing it was in a very good place when it was recorded. That makes the music carry a different feeling and even slightly changes the harmonic resonance of the music. I was present at this recording and know for a fact that every person in the room when this was recorded was in a place that augmented the vibrational frequency of this particular recording. Without fail, no matter what is going on around me, this recording will instantly help me get settled down and comfortable in my own skin again. The piece is Claire de Lune by Claude Debussy, and the pianist is Emily Black. Enjoy!
Now that you've enjoyed a little Debussy, how do you feel? As I said before, even with the couple of errors in this piece, it is by far the best recording for the purpose.
I have this recording on my iPhone, and when it's all just a little too overwhelming, I turn it on and it brings me right back into balance. Sometimes I will leave the music in my ear on repeat for hours on end. It just depends on the environment I'm in.
Another thing I do is a little acupressure. Most children have a hard time sitting still when they are in the thick of it, so I have them "help" me. We count out loud, to a number they are able to get to...meaning, they can count that high. It is a total of 60-ish seconds on each spot. I count to a rhythm so that it is soothing and methodical. The point is P-7. It is located on the middle of the palm-side of the wrist, in the depression between the two tendons, on or just below the crease of the wrist.
You place your finger in the little depression found there (generally 2 of his finger widths below his palm - the point should be directly under the 2nd finger). Then I move in a counter-clockwise circle, slowly and methodically counting up to 60. If the counter-clockwise movement is not okay, then I place my finger in that place and hold the opposite side of the wrist with my thumb and press down. Light pressure at first, increasing firmness, and then easing off before releasing. This is important. If you press firmly and then just let go it will cause pain in that area in about 5-6 hours. So make sure you ease off slowly.
It is also important that you do not use this when feeling weak or generally calm. It is to be used only when adrenaline is high. It can cause damage to the body if it is used when function is normal. It can cause depression and other things that are not pleasant. But if you are nervous, have anxiety, or your body is suffering from the affects of very high adrenaline, this will help bring it down to a normal range. It is also good if you have been experiencing an overload of emotion or excitement.
A few children I've worked with didn't want to sit still long enough to do it, and they rather enjoyed the high energy rush. In that case I get what I can. I will just rub counter-clockwise as often as they will let me touch their wrist, even if it is only for 2 seconds. It helps and they eventually calm down enough for me to hold their wrist and get a full 40 or so seconds in. It is also important to not over-stimulate this area by doing more than 60 seconds at a time. If you have rubbed it for 60 seconds, wait at least 15 minutes to see the full affects before deciding to do another round. VERY IMPORTANT.
Okay. The last thing I do, which was my new experiment is this: I focus on my heart. I focused in on how I felt before I entered the space with all of the strangers. Then I reminded myself of the truth about them, which is, they are all known to God, so they are not all strangers to me because God is not a stranger to me. This is a concept which may not be easy to word to your child, but they probably understand it. Instead of feeling my reaction of how they felt, I felt God's love for them and let it just flow out. As long as I stayed focused on that, I was more than okay - even without using my music or my acupressure. Near the end of our Costco trip I started focusing on one of the children and lost where I was and then I began to be overwhelmed as well.
Thankfully Cecily was wise enough to see what was happening and suggested the two of us go outside and breathe while she and her other child went through the checkout. It was a happily received suggestion for both of us. Once outside there were still people, as well as a fire truck and ambulance blaring into the parking lot. But it was not overwhelming - nature has a way of balancing everything and anything.
I went to the store without my music and without the acupressure to be certain that my new coping tactic actually worked. I am not sure yet how to be able to help those around me, to be able to focus on them without losing my concentration of sending out God's love. I know I could focus His love on the individual, but I am not sure how to define who is feeling what when I am just sending out. I guess that will take more time and refining to understand it. But when I get it figured out, I'll let you all know. :) Yay!
Until then, I hope these help. I'm not sure yet how to make this song available for download, or if it will be okay with the pianist to do so...I'm still waiting on word for that. But again, once I know, you will.
These three things have helped me in many, many cases. As long as I use them, I am able to find a balance and be okay in public places. There are times I do not want to use them. I have found the acupressure is generally a good replacement for ADHD medication as long as I am able to sit long enough to allow it to be done. If he is old enough, you can teach him to do it himself. Then he has access to it no matter where he is...at school, at church, in the mall, at the restaurant....it is a little bubble of peaceful sanity to help bring down the anxiety and over-stimulation caused by all of the crazy emotions coming at me 24/7.
Sometimes I forget I have access to these things to help me. Or I get so focused on the new things I am learning and trying to see if they will work, that I forget about the tried and true until I am too overwhelmed to even remember they are available. Silly me. It's nice to have things like writing this blog to remind me.
*This is a blog about my own life and my own experience. If you choose to follow anything written here, you do so without any claim on me for problems or complications that may arise. I am not a doctor. I have no degree. I am not a professional. This is my perspective and experience, that's all. If you don't think you should do something on here, then don't.*