I have been having some health issues and had to go for an MRI last night. I am claustrophobic, have anxiety and it was at 4am, so I didn’t sleep. Made it through the MRI, stayed up all night and figured when I got home at 5am I would crash. Instead I randomly ate, started cleaning out my storage closet, tossing boxes around, hurt my hand and was cleaning up here and there for about an hour and a half. Finally tried to sleep with no luck. Now it is hours later and I am feeling close to tears, anxious, very tired (still can’t sleep), and don’t know if I want to hide under the covers or run.
The medical test is over, I have a free day today why am I reacting like this?
Thanks, Need Sleep
Dear Need Sleep,
Your adrenaline you were using to make it through the night to stay up for your test and deal with your anxiety and fear of the MRI has worn off. Now your body is reacting to all of the emotions you were suppressing. This is normal. Breathe. Cry if you feel like crying, you went through something scary, medically and being claustrophobic. You are now playing the waiting game about the results which is frightening by itself. Also your hand hurts, you may want to get that checked.
When we suppressed our emotions either consciously or unconsciously, eventually they will and do catch up with us. It is like the ‘unwanted houseguest’ that is there eating your food, on your couch watching your tv and you are trying to ignore them. You can ignore and distract yourself all you want but your house guest is still there and needs to be dealt with.
The house guest is your emotions. The ones we don’t want to feel, sad, scared, confused, anxious, and more all of which make us vulnerable which causes us to go into fight or flight mode. In your case throwing around boxes and cleaning. And now wanting to sleep or run.
You have to face your emotions. It is the brave who admit when they are scared, face their emotions, accept what they feel, and then let it go. You don’t need to stay curled up in a ball crying, rather say to yourself, and even out loud, ‘I am scared. I went through something that scared me. I am afraid of what the results will be’. Repeat it until you feel your body calm, our bodies can only stay in a heightened tense state for so long. Than breathe. Meditate as well as this will center you in the present. I suggest a guided meditation to hear someone’s voice and follow along with the breathing exercise.
Breathe. In and out, over and over. Tell yourself, ‘I am o.k. Right here, right now, I am o.k. I did a great job handling something that was scary for me. I am going to take care of myself right now. There is nothing I have to do but breathe and relax.’
Repeat. And repeat. Let your emotions come, than reassure and pat yourself on the back. Repeat. Remember you are stronger than you think you are, you proved that by going for the MRI and for letting your emotions out.
You can do it. Practise self-care. You are doing great.