Updated: Jan 23, 2021
Recently I experienced two instances where I had a freeze response to watching my own thoughts. My mind felt like a cage, although a client recently described it as being in a bubble that she didn’t know how to burst - which I think is a much nicer analogy! Watching this happen, I had to parent myself and tell myself it would pass but it still invoked a fear and freeze response, so much so that for a split second I thought I was going insane. Not fun!
Straight away afterwards though, I nearly laughed at how I had almost identified with these thoughts and I felt myself settle and relax. Both times this happened within the space of a couple of minutes but I’m so thankful to have had some distance between the clusterf#%* of thoughts (think the scene with all the flying keys on Harry’s quest to find the stone from Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone) and what I was noticing.
It was such an interesting experience and got me thinking about how the mind can feel like a cage (or bubble) sometimes, like you just want to escape your own bullshit, or take a holiday from it.
Of course I am aware that the door to the cage is always open but when we’re in the thick of it, that’s not always very clear. I found breathing big, deep belly breaths nice and slowly in and out were the most helpful thing to do in that moment and also letting myself know that it will pass and trying to remain in the “observer seat”.
Ultimately this experience was of benefit as it allowed me to witness the wild rodeo that goes on in my mind from time to time and also provided a better insight and empathy when working with clients that feel overwhelming anxiety. Being able to witness this from what felt like a boxing ringside is also something I’m very grateful for as I realise that being in the ring and not seeing it for what it is would be an even less fun situation!