So, here is the thing about adrenaline.
Adrenaline can save your life. It is a production of nature intended to help us survive. When our brain recognizes a situation that could be dangerous to us in any way, it pops off a squad of hormones from the adrenal gland that prepares the body to save itself. Whether we need to run five miles, lift a car, or fight off a bear, our body prepares itself when these warrior hormones pulse out into our bloodstream. It heightens and increases our blood circulation, breathing, and carbohydrate metabolism and gets muscles amped for exertion.
Here is where the problem lies...
Actually, before I go any further, let me say here that this is not new information, this is not anything that has not been said before. I simply felt the need to regurgitate it because I recently felt the damn side effects of it, so you may one day too. If you read this and come into a similar situation, I hope you can call on it to help you through as I had to.
The issue comes in when our body fails to distinguish the difference between a saber tooth tiger advancing for attack thousands of years ago and your boss yelling at you for something you didn't have anything to do with in front of the whole office. Our systems were designed to recognize a threat, however, our system has a fault in distinguishing one that could kill us from one that doesn't require our flight or fight.
As an example, the other day I made my first public announcement about my coaching business. So fucking exciting, and great, and the feedback was enough to runneth my cup all over the damn place. Nothing bad was happening at. all. Yet within an hour of the overwhelming thrill of speaking it out loud on my LIVE feed, also my choice, and receiving countless wonderful notifications filled with love and support, I began to feel sick.
Nausea, dizziness, ringing in my ears, panic at my chest and throat, and overheating hit me like a sucker punch. I instantly knew the adrenaline had begun to settle into my body. You see, when you don't need to fight off an attacker or run from a tsunami, there is no way to burn off that released hormone and as it settles into your blood it takes its tole.
I would not be the friend, mother, and now a coach I am, if I did not have these experiences, understand them, and also SHARE them. If I hid my truths how would anyone trust me with theirs? So here I am. That day I was wiped, the comedown was tough, but, knowing what it was, allowing myself grace to experience it without judgment, and to rest my body as it needed to get through, left me feeling resilient and courageous.
Look what my body did in an effort to help me survive! Such a miracle the design we were built with. A mechanism that could release a hormone strong enough to save our lives. A miraculous thing indeed.
There is another F in the flight or fight response that many people do not realize is happening that I want to touch on. That F is freeze. Often the shutdown is what we need, but it can leave us in a worse place than we started. To freeze, to negate response, to stonewall or grow cold to someone or something can have damaging effects. When we shut down our response system it only delays the process of dealing with whatever caused the freeze in the first place. This often comes in over a disagreement or hurt feelings. It feels easier to squelch our reactions than to stand firm on our boundaries. If we can just ignore the problem then it will eventually go away. And it may, for a few minutes, days, hell even months or years. But, eventually whatever was abandoned, buried, or ignored will come up to the surface.
"Surprise! Here I am now when everything was going along just fine, you never dealt with me so now seems as good a time as any! MUAHAHAHA"
Oooof - not good - and then we have one of two responses. One, feeling whiplashed and spun, the victim of our mind trying to figure out why this is now coming up, after all, we "dealt" with this already! Or two, we can recognize that it is still something that needs our attention. Something we need to work on. To peel back the layers and see what we need to address, what the reasons were for stuffing it away before, and how we can overcome it now.
The opportunity was missed by us on the initial freeze now we owe it to ourselves to unpack it, work on it, grow from it... to be better.
Whatever your response to adrenaline, it is a natural and very normal reaction. We all have dealt with it and will continue to in the future. What is important, besides knowing we are not alone, is to experience it, recognize it, and then deal with whatever situation that caused it, accordingly. Knowing what it is and why it makes us feel the way it does makes getting through it all the more tolerable.
Have some grace with yourself. Be grateful we are equipped with this life-saving capability.
I will talk more about the unpacking and the dealing in another post, but if you would like some one-on-one time to work through whatever is ailing you, feel free to check out my 'Work With Me' page and shoot me a message. I would love to work with you!