Episode 5: Self Care - How What When Where
It's important to know how to decompress our stress and anxieties. We talk through many ways to combat overwhelming feelings and return to a state of peace allowing clarity to fill our mind and soul.
We have been talking about for the last four weeks, some really deep things, some hard things and things to really look at and see in ourselves, and maybe even come to an acceptance of what we're doing in our lives, maybe what we're actually in, in our relationships. And we've been talking about changing those behaviors and thinking through what it is we need to be doing for our lives.
With all of that hard, deep, painful, introspective things that we've been talking about, there needs to be some balance in taking care of ourselves, and in doing self care. So today, we're going to be talking about what it looks like to take care of ourselves, and what kind of things we can do to relieve the pressure, the pain, the chaos, when we are overwhelmed with the triggers or traumas we're going to be talking about and going through the things that I've done over the years, and how they've evolved to different things in the with the different things that I've needed.
We're going to start with way at the beginning, when we first find out that we have something hard to deal with. And our body is in shock. And we're almost having an out of body experience where we're looking down on our lives. At least that's how it felt for me. I felt like I was looking down going, this is so unreal, like, I don't even know what to do with it, how to move forward how to function, the right way to do anything. And so I kind of felt paralyzed and stuck.
And I talked about how I would be driving in my car and get from one place to the next without even realizing how I got there. I imagined myself gripping the wheel of my car, staring at the road, but kind of blank and wondering where I'm going. So at that time, I hadn't learned about self care. And so a lot of my time was spent trying to get away from the pain, trying to numb it or push it aside or pretend that wasn't there because I didn't know what to do. So once I started gaining different tools, I started noticing, okay, I'm I'm in this really crazy panic state, what do I need to do for me.
So some of the things that it looks like for me, is writing. So one of the first things I started doing was journaling. And I would just kind of write my thoughts, it can be short, it might be long, it might be all about gratitude. And the things I'm thankful for it also might be about what the scenario of that day was and what I was feeling. But I noticed that as I took it from what was in my head and wrote it on paper, how it started to free up a little bit more space, in my soul and in my heart and in my mind so that I could function in other areas of my life.
In 2014, that fall, I knew I was going to be writing a book. I had had an experience that was so crazy. It was my own personal rock bottom. And I was processing through what I had done, what had happened, and I knew I was supposed to write this book. That story is the first chapter of Cutting Ties. So if you're interested in finding out what that is, at this time, you can go grab that book. Otherwise, I'll share it with you another time on a different podcast. But as I realized I was going to be writing a book, I had never written a book before I didn't know what to do. And I also knew I was in a lot of mental chaos and and pain.
So there was no way I had any capacity to take the energy to write a book. And so as I prayed about this, that's what I told God. Okay, if you want me to write this book, you're going to have to show me, tell me, and really walk me through this really step by step. There's no way I can figure this out on my own.
So I found that I would be having a panic attack, a trigger response, my body would be shaking, I'd feel the anxiety well up in my inside of my chest where it felt like there was this big huge, almost like a big rock in the middle of my chest and I would start kind of my heart would race and I would start panicking a little bit. And I would try to do something to relieve that stress, like some sort of self care.
And I would try to think about different things, well, maybe I should meditate. Maybe I should go on a drive. Maybe I should, maybe I'll just watch TV and just put it out of my mind for a minute. And I would sit down, turn the TV on, and my anxiety would skyrocket. And all of a sudden it would dawn on me. Am I supposed to be writing right now? And I would feel this peaceful feeling of Yes, go right. So I'm like, Okay, well, I don't know how I'm going to do this, because I'm kind of a mess right now.
But I would go sit down at my computer, I would say a prayer and say, Okay, if you want me to write, you're going to have to tell me what the title of this chapter is and what I'm supposed to write. And there was not one time that I didn't sit down and knew immediately what the chapter was. And I just sat there and typed and typed and typed and typed. I didn't read through it as I went, I just typed everything that was in my heart and soul. It came out on that computer. And when I had nothing left to say, I looked up and I read it. And I was like, okay, that is exactly what's in my heart right now.
That is the truth. That is exactly what I'm going through. And as I did that, it would usually I would sit in there for usually an hour, maybe an hour and a half as I wrote. And what that did was it emptied out all of that pain and chaos, and it put it on the paper. And it made sense. And it actually brought me from the pain and the struggle of what I was going through. And by the end, it also brought me out to the healing and the freedom.
And that's all written every chapter, as you read my book will take you on the highs and the lows, and it will bring you back out to kind of a feeling of peace. Even though things are still not necessarily okay. So that's kind of how writing started helping me. And there were times, I would get up in the middle of the night because I was so overwhelmed and I would just open up my notebook and I would just start writing and then it would turn into scribbling like I was screaming on the paper.
And then I could calm down and I could go to sleep, and I would be able to fall asleep at that point. So writing for me, really helps me. It really frees up my mind. Otherwise, I get caught in making up stories in my head. I get caught in thinking about the past. I get caught in, why are things the way they are and what if they were this way, and then I also start swirling about the future. So as I can get anything out of my insides, and somewhere else, it's beneficial to me.
So along with that, one of the other major things I did was I went on drives. I was living in southern Utah for a number of years during this this time and beautiful scenery. And I would just jump on the freeway and just start driving. And I would be surrounded by these different rocks and mountains, Red Rocks, and then the regular color mountains and then green and just beautiful, just beautiful as i would i would drive. I would usually drive about 45-50 minutes and talk everything out loud.
So as I was driving, I would first start out usually in a lot of pain and a lot of anger in maybe just a lot of thoughts running swirling in my mind. And as I would drive, it would take me about 10 minutes or so before I would go okay. Okay, I want to figure this out. I want to talk this out. Now when I did that I didn't want to be talking to just myself because myself tells me a lot of untruth. It lies to me sometimes it tells me I'm not good enough.
It tells me you don't know what you're doing. And it tells me that I'm never going to be okay. So I chose to involve God in my process of driving. So I would say okay, God, so I'm just going to talk all this stuff out but I want to kind of do it with you. So I wasn't actually praying but kind of because I was just telling him all my thoughts and I would run through it and I would first usually start out with all this swirling little like pain type things or scenarios of what happened and replay some of the things that had happened that I was struggling with.
And then it would sometimes turn to me yelling where I cannot believe you have not saved me from this. I cannot believe that with everything I've done for you and with you that you have not changed him or fix this and that I am stuck in all this crazy stuff. And after I got all of that out. I was no longer feeling angry. I was no longer so upset. And I could pause and I could breathe. And I could say, Okay, all right. Well, you heard everything I had to say, is there anything that you want to say to me?
And I would just feel peace and comfort. And I would feel as though I wasn't alone, I would feel like he understood, like he was telling me, I see you, I get it, I get why you're so sad I get while you're in pain, this is some hard stuff. And I don't expect you to know how to do it or do it perfect. I just want you to be with me and do it. And then I would turn my car around and start driving home and I would be crying with gratitude.
And I would have a totally different energy. I would be smiling and tears rolling down my face. And I'm looking at the beautiful scenery and just praising God for how amazing he is and what a beautiful world we live in. What a difference it made to take care of myself. Now there are times when I'm feeling so Oh, gosh, not good, that I don't even want help. I don't even want to get out of the pain. I want to sit there and I want to feel it. And I want to be validated that I am okay to feel this pain that I deserve to be sad and angry.
I deserve to feel this broken. I deserve to not have to do anything that day or get up or be productive. And I do that for a little while. But then I don't want to stay stuck in it. I want to be able to move forward in my life. I want to be happy. It feels so much better. When I go on that drive and at the beginning of it and I can't even function to how it feels 40 minutes later, and how amazing that is, and how good it feels to let it all go.
I also have noticed that when I'm trying to come up with an answer for something, when I need help with something, when I need inspiration, or revelation, I can't hear any of it when my mind and heart and soul are totally overwhelmed with all of this pain. There's no room for me to hear. I'm just swirling in it. If he's trying to tell me anything, I'm combating it. It's like me having my hands to my head and, and closing my eyes and squeezing them shut and shaking. I'm saying no, you can't hear me You don't even know when you don't understand and, and he's trying to say if you would just close your mouth and open your eyes for a minute, I can help you.
And I'm just sitting there squeezing and almost wanting to squeeze the pain to death. And I can't hear anything, and I just stay in that cycle. So as soon as I write it out, cry it out, drive it out, talk it out, whatever. It frees up my soul and all of a sudden my body calms, I feel relaxed. And I can hear. And I'm open to hearing. And I start getting the inspiration I need of what I need to do for me, what I need to do for my family, and how to actually do it.
It's so helpful and so different than when I tried to control all the pain and keep it with me. As things started to progress, not in a good way with the addiction of my husband, and in the pain that I was feeling, so the betrayal trauma that I was feeling that started getting bigger and bigger, I noticed that going on a drive once a day was not enough, I needed more. Now during this time, I was seeing a counselor and I would see him once a week. And I also had my energy counselor that I would see as well.
But I noticed that this was like a one day at a time, sometimes one hour at a time, sometimes one minute at a time. And so I needed to have more tools to focus on how to stay out of the panic and the pain and not let the anxiety rule my whole world. And so I then started doing some meditations. I started with a Hawaiian one that my energy worker had given me called Ho'O'Ponopono. You can look that up on YouTube. And it just walks you through talking to your inner child, your inner self that's hurting. And that was so helpful. I would do that every night. And it would just calm me before I went to bed.
Then later found the app called calm and it has different meditations on there and it walks you through quieting your body, from your toes up to your head and that was something that I used for probably about a year or a year and a half. And that helped me and I could do that there was a 20 minute one that I liked. And I could do that a couple of times a day if I needed to.
So meditation, I know people just totally love yoga. I've only done it once. So I don't have an experience with that. But it's the same type of feeling as meditation, when you're quieting your mind, so you can feel. And I know that my husband now my current husband; he has done a lot of healing through yoga. He's found himself in tears in class. Because as you do those poses, those stretches you clear your mind, you, you cry, it brings up your pain, and you feel it and you can let it go.
One of my really close friends, she talked about how she had heard about a yoga that she could put just on her TV like online, from a group that we all belong to. And she started doing it and the pain was so excruciating the mental pain, it's physical pain to but it's coming from your emotions, it was so hard and painful, and she would just ball and it would, she would really it would bring up so much grief that she couldn't get through a whole session at first. But as she kept doing it, how freeing it was and how her body started releasing all of this trapped trauma and anger.
I know that is something that many of you probably will try or have done and that you find that that is helpful for you. So as I was meditating and learning those things, I started learning how to quiet my, my body. And then what happened was, if I was in a situation where I started to feel triggered, or panicked, what happens sometimes for me at that point in my life is I could be even just at the grocery store and just having too many people around me too much chaos was too much for me, because I didn't have enough room, in my capacity to be around stuff like that.
And I would start having kind of an anxiety attack. I would start feeling really overwhelmed. And I had to leave sometimes the grocery store and I'd get in my car. And I would just be so devastated. What is wrong with me, I can't even go to the store. I can't even get my groceries. I am a mess. So what the meditation has helped me do was when I was in a situation like that, where I couldn't just lay down and meditate really quick, I had to bring up some of those feelings that I had in the past. I could mentally do a meditation as I was walking through the grocery store.
I could mentally talk myself down, like I had learned from an actual meditation class or a person that was guiding it. And that was super helpful. So then I can actually be in public and be functioning and doing the things that I need to get done. In August of 2015. This was a year after I had picked up my husband from rehab, I ended up filing for divorce. And that came from a year of watching him seeing if he would choose recovery. He knew everything he needed to do, he had the list of what it looked like to live a recovery lifestyle.
By that January of 2015, he was not living those things of recovery. And it was a scary place for me. So my boundary was if you're not going to be honest and accountable, and do some of these things that are on this list, then we need to separate and we chose to do an in house separation. So January of 2015, he moved into another room and he was no longer allowed in my room. I was not allowed in his unless we were invited to come and talk or whatever.
I made my bedroom my safe place. I had so much peace and freedom. I didn't have to have that swirl of him in and out and trying to figure out what was going on and what we were going to do. I could have that peace at night. I could read if I wanted. I could meditate if I wanted. I could pray if I wanted. If I woke up in the middle of night, I could turn the light on and do what I needed to do. It was really good for my own self care to be able to have that time.
Well as the year finished out that from rehab, so August to August, I knew that I needed to file for divorce; that this was not going to go any further and that he was not going to choose into recovery in a way that felt safe to me. And so I filed for divorce. As I continued to heal. I chose not to date for about 13 months. And and there's no right way to do that. For me. I had just been through so much trauma that I really wanted to strive to become as whole as I could, as well as look for people to date that were doing the work, that we're choosing to doing what they needed to do.
I did end up in a relationship Two years later, that I ended up marrying the person, really good person, he was a non addict. And that to me was what drew me to him. And eventually, what gave me that permission to marry him. Now, he is a good person. But what happened was, we were both trying to heal from different things. And I noticed that as one person is choosing into do healing work, if the other person doesn't want to do that kind of work, it puts you at totally different spaces in life. It doesn't really work.
It doesn't matter how good a person is, if one person wants to move this way, and another one's one wants to stay this way, we found that there was no way that we could make that relationship work. It was really short. But what it taught me which was so amazing, was that it has nothing to do with someone being an addict or not. In my mind, I thought, okay, I'm just going to find somebody who doesn't struggle with addiction. And then of course, they would want to do the work the way I do,
We're going to be on the same page, and it's going to be so amazing. So what I learned from that is, it wasn't about addiction. It was about finding somebody who wants to do their work, who wants to heal from trauma, who wants to progress, who wants to look at themselves in a way that they want to thrive, and they want to get rid of anything from the past that's holding them back, be able to look at life with low pride and ego.
As I learned that, it opened my eyes to where I was making up my own beliefs. And one of those was, I just need to find somebody that doesn't struggle with addiction. So as I then kept moving forward in my life, the man I married today that we got married in September is the most beautiful person. He was doing his work before I came into the picture. He knew already the trauma that he had had from his previous relationship. And he was already doing the work, which was so unbelievably amazing.
When I had first started talking to him and sharing with him the benefits of counseling and why it's important to do that. He said, oh, I've already been seeing a counselor for for a year now. And that was like music to my ears like this is so amazing. As we dated I watched as he attended his counseling meetings, as he talked through the anxiety he would get from what he was feeling as we would talk about emotions and pain and triggers and codependency, we definitely found that we were on the same page.
One thing that he taught me in doing self care was something his counselor taught him. And I mentioned it in last week's or maybe the week befores podcast a little bit. But the concept is when the anxiety starts coming over you or you start feeling that really painful stuff swirling around in your chest, you notice that you're feeling those things, and you take some time you sit with it, you instead of squeezing it to death, we have both talked about it, that when we start feeling that pain, we start panicking, almost like oh, no, no, no, no, and we just start squeezing it to death.
And that doesn't give it any room and it gets worse and worse and worse. And so what he had learned was, you identify where it is, you look at the outline of it, you shape it kind of with your hands at how big it is. And then you create added space for it. Give it more room so that you can feel it. And as you let go and relax your body and stop trying to squeeze it out of you, because it just resists and it gets bigger, It starts filling in that space, you can feel what it is, it starts being able to show what the feelings are, you can identify where it's coming from if it's fear, or pain or sadness, or anger or resentment or codependency.
It just starts showing you what the feelings actually are and why you're feeling that. And then as you're noticing and accepting what it is letting it be what it is, it starts naturally diminishing. So it might not totally go away at that point. But it becomes a more peaceful state where your body is now not hyper aware of trying to control this pain. You're just allowing it to be there.
By doing that you end up learning more about about yourself, learning more about where you still need work, and what is causing you pain or what wounds are showing up so that when you're doing your counseling, work, your meditation, you know what to work on. It also allows for acceptance of weaknesses. And it keeps pride low. Our pride and our shame, kind of go hand in hand sometimes, and we just feel like I shouldn't be feeling this anymore. I'm not good at this, I thought I was farther along the path than I am. And look, I'm not.
That's not true. That's just lies, we tell ourselves that shame and that's pride. Because as we do the work, we are always moving forward with the work, even if more pain shows up, even if the work wound shows that it's bigger or deeper than we thought it was to begin with, It's now just showing us what we still need to work on. But that was a really powerful tool to me to manage the painful feelings of anxiety as they come.
So I appreciated that. He had shown me so many different things that he's learned in his counseling. And I've got to share what I've learned in mine, and so together for us and makes a perfect partnership. Because we know we're not perfect. We know we're still learning. We know we're still healing. But we have the room to do it and we can talk about it. And we're both going in the same direction. Now, because I brought him up, I should just share with you kind of how we met and how we started dating.
So back in 1992, we were both in colleg. I was actually going to hair school and he was going to BYU, and we lived in the same apartment complex. And we became fast friends, our apartments were friends. And shortly into that, we started dating just a little bit, just kind of as friends. But we really started liking each other. And one thing that we noticed was how easy it was for us to just be by each other.
It wasn't this overly crazy, I can't wait, I gotta see that person. It was like this. Oh, yeah. We feel so good to each other. We would hug and it would feel natural. Even kissing him felt natural. We didn't end up getting married. Obviously. We only dated really, we can't even remember really, but not very long. Maybe like three weeks. We did go to a Halloween party. We dressed as beauty in the beast. And we looked awesome back in 1992. And he won for Best Costume. So that was that was kind of a fun time.
But he went on he got married. I got married. I was married for 21 years. He was married for 25. And it was after he had been separated for a year, he knew he was getting divorced. That was in the process and our mutual friend, his roommate from college, who I'm still friends with, he had my book. He knew I wrote a book. And he messaged my now husband and said, Hey, if I sent you a book to help with your healing, would you read it? And he's like,
Well, yeah. So he goes, we'll go check it out on her website at cuttingties.com. And he did and of course it's me. And he's like, Oh my gosh, what? And he asks our friend, he says okay, but she's married though, right? And he said, No, she is not. He read my book twice. The first time he read it, he said he couldn't help but just hear me reading it to him. It's like it reminded him of who I was. And it was like I was sitting there reading it to my story. And he felt super protective. And he felt like, I can't believe all this stuff happened to her. And then he realized, wait a second, I need to read it for my own healing.
And even though his story isn't the same as mine, he still experienced a lot of pain. He still experienced some of the same kinds of things, or at least needed the same tools that I use in order to get through his pain. And so he read it again, he posted a review about it and then I thanked him for the review. Thanks for that review. That was so awesome. And it kind of started from there. So then we just started talking, and texting and we would talk two hours a night at least. And so it was it's just kind of one of those things that you just never know how your life is going to evolve.
And even though I had already been through a second divorce, and I could have thought, my life is over, there's no way that I'm gonna be able to find somebody who's gonna want somebody that's been divorced twice. As I let that go and I knew I was following everything I possibly could with God, I knew I was doing the best I could, my second marriage was for my benefit. I absolutely was supposed to marry that person.
I got exactly what I needed to heal a piece of my heart and to show me the truth about finding people that are doing their work regardless of what they've been through. Regardless of what trauma or addictions or frailties or weaknesses, it's not about what they're doing, it's about doing the work to heal. And that's what I found. And so it's just kind of a really exciting story. And it's neat for us to have that past to where we knew each other way back then. And now we can start our lives now. And it feels like we've just been together forever, it doesn't even feel like it's just been this this last year.
After I went through that second divorce, that one was a little bit different. Because right after I'd gotten married, it was just a matter of weeks that it was kind of showing up that maybe we weren't going to be on the same page like we were when we were dating. And so we did stay married for a year, and try to work those things out. And we parted on really good terms, and just wanted the best for each other. But after that divorce, I knew that I was already using my tools, I already was using boundaries, that whole last year, I was already doing the work. And I was feeling really good.
I didn't necessarily need to go on my long drives anymore. I didn't need to scream on paper and write it all out anymore. But I still needed to decompress. I still needed to gain some peace in my mind. And so at that point, my self care became, I love to take baths. And I hadn't really done that before very much sometimes. But it became where I would want to take a bath not every night, but almost. And I still do it now. It feels freeing to me.
Before I'm going to get ready to to to record a podcast for the next day or if I'm going to record the next day, I usually will take a bath the night before and I just ponder on the thoughts I'm having of what I should be talking about the next day. It frees my mind, it makes me feel happy and peaceful. And I don't have to be in a lot of chaos to do that. I just want that to keep me in a calm and relaxed state of being. And water does that for me.
So whatever it is that you are in need of. Whether you are at the height like I was of your body can't even function, you're going to freak out, you can't even manage your kids, because you're so overwhelmed, you might need something stronger. Like going on those drives and yelling it out writing out on paper and screaming at talking to a friend going to counseling, doing meditations that are are really deep, or a couple times a day exercising, whatever it is. And then as you continue to heal, maybe you can find something that is more simple like I am now by just taking baths.
But whatever it is, make sure you're choosing something. Make sure you are figuring out what it is that will help you kind of get out of your head. Because when we're in our head, we can't do anything. And we we aren't happy with ourselves, we're not happy with the way we are treating other people, whether it's a spouse, or our children or other family members. And we just continue to feel more guilt and more shame.
So if you do the work, and you choose in to finding something that heals your heart that heals your mind, that heals your body, to bring it back down to a relaxed state where you can breathe slowly in you can breathe slowly out where your heart isn't skyrocketing, where you are feeling calm, and maybe not confident in the sense that you know what you're doing, but competent in that you are going to be okay ,that there is hope that there is healing that you are going to get through whatever it is that is hurting you in those moments, find those things.
Figure out what they are. And as you first tried to resist doing it, like I told you about where I would sometimes want to be that sad or that matter that angry, I would want to numb I would want to curl in a ball I would want to just lay in my bed. And those moments, I don't want healing. I just want to relish in the pain. But I don't want to do that very long because it doesn't help me and I don't want that to go on day after day. So the same for you.
You don't want your pain to go on day after day. And even though these things don't take it fully away, you still have to do work to heal those things, it helps lessen it and it helps you come to a place of an attainable concept or vision of how to heal or what you need to do because your mind is clear and you can hear and you can listen. So that way when your counselor is telling you, this is what I want you to do, this is the homework I have for you, you will be able to feel it and come to an acceptance of it.
I know you can do this. It is really hard work but self care makes it have happiness in it. The hard work becomes joyful when we take care of ourselves, when we do what we need to so that we feel at peace in our heart while we're going through the hard things. I am with you, you are not alone. Please send me messages. I would love to hear what you do for self care. I would love to hear what is working for you or what isn't working for you. So shoot me an email at Roxanne.Granata@gmail.com. I would love to hear from you. Thanks so much for being with me for the support. And I wish you the best week and we'll see you next time.