Recently, I realized that I’ve been living on high alert.
Understandably, soldiers fighting in war zones and civilians living in regions where missiles are dropped live on high alert, a heightened watchfulness for danger at any turn. It is how they survive. This high alert is also the basis for post-traumatic stress syndrome.
Living in constant high alert also happens for people who are not in war zones. Situations such as, having an alcoholic or drug-addicted loved one whose behavior is unpredictable, or experiencing verbal, physical or other abuse from a parent, spouse or child also result in us living on high alert.
When we don’t know when the next traumatic and life-altering experience will hit, we stay hyper-watchful so that we can be able to handle what might come whenever it might come. When we live on high alert for extended periods of time, we can become emotionally wired to relive, not just specific traumatic experiences, but also the anxiety and stress associated with anticipating the danger.
My high alert does not stem from experiences in a war zone or an abusive relationship but from journeying with a loved one who has a life-threatening medical condition.
At first, I didn’t realize I was on high alert because I was so focused on supporting my loved one’s needs. Then I began realizing how upset I would feel when someone asked how she was doing. Those loving inquiries demanded that I confront the unknown over which I have no control. That I don’t know how she is really doing is stressful and even traumatizing.
Then I noticed that every time she and I did not connect when expected, my anxiety would shoot up, fearing that some unforeseen incident would take her from me even sooner. And there have been the periodic dreams which have expressed my deepest fear that I won’t have her with me much longer.
While these indicators of my high alert are not the everyday norm, the alert gets triggered very easily. So what do I do when this happens?
Well, when it happened yesterday, while going about the activities of my day, I began praying, “God, give me strength to be supportive to her in the ways that express the depth of my love and your love, whatever may come, and whenever.” As I continued praying, my prayer shifted to “I know you have already given me the strength that I need whatever may come and when. So help me access that strength.”
Later in the day, I came back to the truth that I know: as I stay focused on love, I have all that I need to support her in the ways that she needs and in ways that are life-giving for myself as well. As I journeyed through the feelings that come with high alert, I felt the calm of Spirit move through my thoughts, my feelings, my very being.
The more I focus on the light of God’s love, my high alert becomes less frequent, less intense, and shorter. And so, as I say to you, “Love and Light.”
When you read my blog posts, please send your comments and I will be glad to respond. Peace, CJ