The Problem I’m Chewing on…Thoughts on Catastrophizing, Intrusive Thoughts, Support Groups, and Pancake Mix

I take a problem and chew on it until all the flavor’s gone… and then I stick it in my hair.

Divine Secrets of The YaYa Sisterhood.

Sometimes you just need to chew on a problem until the flavors gone- then you can deal with it. Stick it in your hair. Or move on. And I’m a verbal processor with a lot on my mind so we are going to “talk” things out once in awhile!

Brene Brown is my inspiration. She is a researcher and storyteller. Brown is an expert on vulnerability and one of my favorite authors. She has a podcast where she includes a series called, “On my Mind”. These solo episodes are her way to talk through big topic she is hashing out in her own mind.

Brown doesn’t give solutions. She just talks. And, they are some of my favorite episodes! It’s comforting to hear another human being talking through the things they are wrestling with. It makes us feel less alone.

I will warn you it’s often going to be dark and messy. Hence the content warning below. But I see no better way to bring attention to the topics we shy away from then just putting it out there. So here we go.

Content warning: Domestic violence, Catastrophic thoughts, Intrusive thoughts, Postpartum OCD.

The Problem I’m Chewing On Right Now- Support Group

I think it’s time to go back to the domestic violence support group. I attended for almost 2 years straight only missing to attend the sexual assault survivor class and to go to EMDR.

Even though I have a few years of healing under my belt, the truth is there are old wounds that sometimes flare up in the Spring. Triggers can get unmanageable without early intervention. And that’s where I’m finding myself this year so it might be time to go back.

I don’t think of this as a failure or a big step backwards. Healing comes in waves. We can be doing great and all of a sudden it get’s hard again. That’s the reality of healing from trauma. You heal what you can and you manage what never really goes away.

The Problem I’m Chewing on- Catastrophic Thinking and Postpartum OCD

The other day on social media an influencer I follow was asking for advice on how to stop catastrophic thinking. She was struggling that day because of a situation that happened with one of her children. Even though her child was actually safe, and it was only a few seconds of worry and doubt, she couldn’t get the catastrophic thoughts to stop.

Her story brought me back to some of the darkest seasons of my life with Postpartum OCD. Along with intrusive thoughts, catastrophic thinking ruled my life for a long time after each one of my babies was born. To this day I still have to repeat to myself words that remind me that I am safe and so are my children. Triggers happen. Here’s what I say out loud multiple times when I notice catastrophic thinking is plaguing me:

  • I am safe
  • My child is safe 
  • This child is safe now. They are so brave. This child has a chance to heal. (my triggers often come from hearing or reading stories of child abuse- hence “This child”)

Postpartum OCD is a type of postpartum anxiety disorder. It is characterized by intrusive thoughts and behaviors that are in response to a perceived danger toward their baby. These thoughts and behaviors are constant and repetitive, and they can severely disrupt daily life. Postpartum OCD is a severe condition that requires treatment in order to manage and control symptoms. Women with postpartum OCD are aware of their intrusive thoughts but they cannot control them. Instead, the thoughts cause counteractive behaviors and other symptoms as well.

PostPartumDepression.Org

Sadly, my OB didn’t  ask me if I worried about someone hurting my baby every single minute of the day. She didn’t talk about intrusive thoughts or obsessive behaviors. She never mentioned that hearing voices telling you to swerve into oncoming traffic was abnormal could be treated. And I certainly didn’t ask!

I would bet your OB never asked your or your partner that either. Because of this Postpartum OCD it is severely underdiagnosed.

 The Problem I’m Chewing On- The Gift of Prophecy

I was raised in evangelical Christianity in many different denominations and many different churches. Some supported the gift of prophecy and some acted like it didn’t exist. While I’ve been dismantling and deconstructing many of the toxic beliefs I was taught the last few years, prophecy is not one of them. I’m all about the prophetic words. I find the gift of prophecy fascinating.

I was told by someone with a prophetic gift that someday my hands would bring healing to many. Those words have mulled around in my head ever since. I didn’t know what it meant, yet! Then a couple weeks ago my bestie sent me a prophetic word from someone else about a stirring she felt from the Lord that it was time for the writers to write again. And I’ve been wondering if the two are connected. 

My writing is halted by fear often. But what if that prophetic word of bringing healing to others was about the words my fingers would type? Or, even the music my fingers would play now that I have full function in my limbs again after cervical disc replacement surgery. What if?

The Problem I’m Chewing On- Pandemic Life One Year Later 

How is it one year already? How much longer before a sense of normalcy returns? What does normal even mean? Do my puzzles miss me? And, how long will it take us to eat through the bags and bags of pancake mix I stress bought when the grocery store shelves were empty?

No one knows. 

With grace and grit, 

~Raychel 

Before you go, here are three ways to stay in touch: 

9 Ways to Calm Your Mind When You Feel Overwhelmed

Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt overwhelmed… if you’re not raising your hand I’m calling bull. ?We’ve all had those moments where we simply can’t handle one more thing or we will fall apart. 

Overwhelm is the worst. Isn’t it? But, what do we when we recognize it? Here are some tips to Calm Your Mind when you Feel Overwhelmed: 

  1. Say words of affirmation out loud to move your mindset from overwhelm to peace.  You must say them out loud for this tip to work!
  2. Make a list of what you MUST do, what you can delegate or simply not do. 
  3. Clean up your physical space so you brain can rest. 
  4. Make a list of everything that is going well. 
  5. Take a quick fast walk around the block .
  6. Watch funny videos on YouTube.
  7. Turn on your favorite tunes and jam out.
  8. Take a 20 minute power nap. 
  9. Take a hot or cold shower to relax.

Feeling overwhelmed happens to all of us. Using these tips to calm your mind will help you squash the overwhelm, rest, and refocus. 

With Grace & Grit!

~Raychel

P.S don’t forget to save, pin, or print this list out. You will want to find it again quickly the next time overwhelm hits. 


Before you go, here are 3 ways to stay in touch: