Stress and survival mode are things we all experience but we often do not see. One of the biggest things that shuts down when we are in survival mode is our felt sense.
The felt sense, simply defined, is what we feel. It is how we sense touch from others. It is how we truly have a balanced sense of feel internally and externally. If you’re in survival mode, most likely you will not want to sense how every muscle, cell, and fiber feels. There will be no need to feel as much pain, because the more you feel, the less you can outrun the attacker.
In stress and survival mode, when we suppress and keep the felt sense diminished, we also increase our hypersensitivity. While this may sound like the same thing, it is not. The other side of feeling your body in a balanced way is the hypersensitivity. I think of it as a balloon filled with air in which you are restricting the air coming out. The restriction disrupts the flow of feeling and so you get spurts and bursts of what you truly feel.
In the body, this makes the feeling that once seemed normal pop off the walls. It cranks the dial way up then drops it down to numbing. Doing this cycle over and over again is what hypersensitivity is in my opinion. The more the body bounces back and forth, the more it is hard to distinguish between what is normal healthy feeling and what is hyper feeling. It creates a new normal for the body and pushes the boundaries into a distorted pattern. Most of us would notice this as pain.
During stressful periods, the body is numb to what it feels, and through the continued numbing, the normal felt sense of life becomes distorted into something we don’t recognize. In our current world, we turn to pain killers, opioids, alcohol, drugs, marijuana and many other things to alleviate the pain. It has become too much for us. Our skills of dealing with stress are not enough to counteract what happens in the body.
At this stage, some will turn to all kinds of remedies that may give temporary relief yet are nothing short of a placebo. We may turn to spiritual concepts to help us escape from what we are experiencing. During this stage, the pain is often horrendous and almost too much to deal with, so we look for anything to take us out of pain. While this is understandable, we’re not dealing with the pain. We only lead ourselves to think we are.
Some may turn their attention to positive thinking which gives a high to the neurons that bring on euphoria and pain relief. While this can assist and help us in dealing with life, too often our positive thoughts and intentions become a band-aid on a gushing wound. We don’t go to the deepest layers to relieve the source of what is happening. We just keep covering the effects of the stress up until we no longer recognize it.
The one thing that we avoid doing is feeling the effects internally in our body that were caused by stress. While I realize this is not always fun and sometimes appears as big as a monster, if we don’t face them head on, they continue to grow. It is like the schoolyard bully that continues to harass us until we stand up to them and say no more. In stress and survival mode, we need to stand up the monster or the bully within us and say, no more!