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: 

How to Build Resilience During Covid-19

Resilience: The ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy. 

As I write this post, we find ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic with Covid 19. It’s crazy times guys! If you are reading this in real time you are probably practicing social distancing and staying home to do your part to not spread the virus to our vulnerable populations.  

Business are having to pivot, Schools are closing, hospitals are filling up, and we all find ourselves in uncharted territory. Now is the perfect time to focus on that skill of resilience.  

Resilience means you can recover quickly from adversity. You bounce back when life gets hard and challenges come. Like a rubber band.  

You can stretch it and stretch it and it still comes back to its original shape. That’s resiliency. It doesn’t mean the hard times don’t change you or stretch you or feel difficult. They do. It means you don’t snap permanently under the pressure.  

Adversity means hard times, disasters, trouble, and difficulty. 

Not to state the obvious but we are all in a major adversity. And the people who will get through this time and bounce back stronger will be the ones who are resilient. If you are a leader (which simply means you have influence or power over someone else’s actions, behaviors, or opinions) YOU must practice resilience during times of crisis.  

Here’s some good news- You are already equipped to bounce back from this pandemic. 

Because you have faced challenges and adversity in the past. Albeit it not on a global scale before. But the fact that you have survived every disaster that has come your way should give you confidence you can do it again.   

I’ve had to face difficult situation, too. Challenges I thought I didn’t have the strength to overcome. But what I’ve learned about myself is I am strong and capable and brave, and I can figure things out. And right now, when I have fear and doubt creep up I remind myself that I was born and appointed for such a time as this and while I don’t like it- I can handle it.  

We have all had to bounce back from hard days and difficult situations. That character quality that makes you able to bounce back is RESILIENCE. Resilient people live differently. They make different choices in how they respond to hard things than others. Here’s a couple of ways you can practice being resilient:  

#1 Assess the situation  

Take an honest assessment of where you are right now, personally and professionally. The more knowledge you have of where you and what assets you have the steadier you will feel. What does your pantry look like, how are your finances? Where can you cut the fluff from the budget? How can you be of service to your clients during this time? Put an action plan together of what the next months could look like in this new normal and feel empowered from having a plan.  

#2 Find solutions  

Resilient people don’t expect change to just happen. They actively work towards solutions and making things better. When you have a plan and knowledge of the situation you can create better solutions. And you won’t be wasting time and energy on problems that are not even there.  

#3 Take good notes  

Document this time in your life. You will need the reminder of how you overcome this global crisis for the next crisis you experience. Look for lessons they can learn from the situation. Every time you overcome a challenge or adversity you are gaining something. You gain knowledge, wisdom, experience, empathy, compassion, courage, and confidence.  You maintain resilience and flexibility when you have the mindset that I might not like what I’m going through but I can do it and I can learn from it.  

Resilience means you have the ability to bounce back when life gets hard and challenges come. Like a rubber band. If you assess your situation, create solutions, and take good notes you will adapt to the changes easier. It won’t feel so bad to stretch and bend because you will be flexible! We will get through this and we will be stronger more empathetic leaders because of it!  

With Grace & Grit,  

~Raychel  


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