What he said with one slide:
People who have 'normal' attachment patterns can become highly sensitized and respond in maladaptive ways if the stress is prolonged and uncontrollable - the very definition of the last 18 months and NOW.
So what this looks like in real time - we as a society have
1. Lower stress thresholds - the amount of just general stress our bodies can handle is lower than before the pandemic
2. More reactivity to our environment. Similar to a child with disrupted attachment, our bodies are more tuned up to threats in the environment and may interpret actions as threats when not needed.
3. Less cognitive load capacity. The higher parts of our brains, like the prefrontal cortex, aren't able to open up so we can be creative, relational, and complete tasks at a high level.
Even when we started the NMT process, Bruce Perry said we shouldn't expect ourselves to perform like we did in 2019. Since the high levels of unpredictable stress remain, our brains just can't do it.
For more about what Bruce Perry has to say about the effect of the pandemic on our brains --> Stress & Resilience: Neurosequential Network Stress & Trauma Series
Which leads me to the Simone Biles story.
I have to admit I was SHOCKED when Simone Biles pulled out of the Olympics. It seems like it was just yesterday (and yes I'm aging myself here) that we were cheering for Keri Strug as she crawled her way towards her coach after vaulting injured.
Although I was somewhat taken aback at first, the more I thought about it, the more I was like YES. You set boundaries and stick to them. You are a GROWN WOMAN.
So even in the midst of the pandemic and all of the things, the fact that an African American gold-medal gymnast felt confident enough in herself to pull out of the Olympics for her own safety and is being applauded by many for her bravery AND for putting her mental health first is nothing short of AMAZING.
So, if Simone Biles can speak up for herself and ask for what her body and brain needs with the whole world watching, what if someone like me and you, who are mere mortals, also do the same??
So to help with MY stress levels, listen to my body (which has clearly been/is under duress), and make my mental health a priority, I'm doing two things:
1. Taking off every Friday to NOT WORK. I'm going to sleep in, spend time with Sean or family/friends or just stare at the ceiling. I'm literally my own boss for 4 companies so there is no reason I cannot do this.
It's been my own imposed shoulds and oughts that have kept me from doing this in the past.
2. Only seeing 5 clients per week. Since we do have 4 businesses, it's not like I get to just sit around the rest of the week. With only 5 clients, I liberate myself from the stress of client work and am able to do more of what I was sent here to do - share the sandtray revolution with all of you.
Btw - I recently learned that there's a name for what I've been doing to myself - a work martyr.
A work martyr is someone who thinks they have to do all of the things because no one else can do it as well.
I know I don't HAVE to see all of the clients - I have 5 amazing therapists who do great work with all of our clients. I don't HAVE to work so much. I decide my boundaries and I stick to them.
Just like Simone 🙂