Full Catastrophe Living – Reminds me of someone I know (Hint: it’s me!)

“This book is an invitation to the reader to embark upon a journey of self-development, self-discovery, learning, and healing.” From page 1 of the Introduction- Stress, Pain, and Illness: Facing the Full Catastrophe

Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. is a masterpiece. Let me just get that out of the way. More on that in a moment.

You may have noticed that I haven’t written in the past few days. My husband has been home on holidays and we spent a few days shopping for food and stuff (now that we got our finances back in order a bit!), napping and watching television.

Also, more napping. Did I mention that?

I was never one of those people who couldn’t sleep – except during menopause (ugh, thank God that’s over!) – and have always, ALWAYS appreciated a good, loooong sleep. I’m no morning person! In fact, stay away from me in the mornings, please! Ahem. Anyway…

He’s off until Wednesday, so we have a few more days of plans (napping) to go.

I couldn’t let another day go by without writing, so here I am.

This morning, I was sitting in bed (um, hubby brought me breakfast in bed! He’s such a gem!) and thinking that I’m feeling… outside… lately. And by that I mean, outside of myself, my community and the world in general, not to put too fine a point on it. I don’t feel like I belong anywhere. Yeah, probably depression talking. Blah, blah, blah.

Here’s how it fits into this book – this wonderful book! You may have noticed the cover, where it says “Using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness“… and you might be wondering how *I* (the health-anxiety-ed- hypochondriac) can read a book like this? Maybe you’re also wondering WHY I would pick it up at all? Or maybe not. I’m going to answer anyway.

Welp, my readers, I have pulled a brick from my Wall of Shit and thrown it by the wayside!

YAY ME!!

For some reason, I’m feeling braver about my health lately. It could be the tapping, or the cards, the meditation or simply… praying. Who knows? What I know for sure is that I fairly sailed through my medical tests without the “I’m dying” dropping feeling that usually accompanies a full month or more at this time of year.

(To be honest: I have one more test to go – and I don’t want to do it. Maybe because – in the last several days – I also haven’t done my usual emotional/ meditational/ spiritual stuff. Been napping, you know.)

So, this book… it’s a step in the “Taking charge of my health” direction and guess what? I’m READING it! And so far, I don’t think I’m dying! Whoo hoo!! In fact, I’m finding some stuff out!! Whoo hoo again!! 

Now, listen to this — it’s from the section on High Blood Pressure and Anger (pg. 210): There is evidence that suppressing emotional expression may play a role in hypertension as well as cancer. […] It seems that in high-stress situations, an ability to vent one’s angry feelings is protective against high blood pressure.  Other studies suggest that high blood pressure may be associated with both extremes of emotional behavior, either always suppressing anger or always expressing it overtly. 

Since I *have* high blood pressure and am having trouble controlling it (even with medication) then this might be something to think about! So, it might also surprise you to know that I bought two other books on high blood pressure, which include diets, herbs, and emotional triggers, etc.

What I’m saying is that FOR THE FIRST TIME, I am able to LOOK AT these things!

For some reason, I’m reminded of my grandmother, who was deathly afraid of snakes — to the point of not being able to see them in a magazine or television without recoiling (Hey, that’s a pun! Coil, snake. Ahem.). I understand her fear because I seemed to have picked it up. I was just as afraid as she was! Always… at least… until…

About two weeks ago, a 14-foot python was found in a neighboring town and picked up by the humane society. The whole thing was captured on Facebook. I saw it and the *very first thing* I thought was: Oh, that poor animal. It had clearly been dumped and looked like it was suffering and afraid. I felt so bad for it!

This is new! 

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t go bounding up to an 14′ python… but my compassion for it as a suffering animal came before my fear.

I’m noticing this change! It’s never too late to change things you don’t like about yourself.

My fears… and catastrophizing every bodily sensation… had become so heavy!

I loved the title of the book because of my catastrophizing! It got me to pick it up! And I’m so glad I did. I haven’t finished with it yet and let me warn you ahead of time… it’s a BIG book and full of information about everything you can think of — mindfulness, attitudes, breathing, meditation, balance, medication, fear and panic, time, sleep, pain… I mean, simply… EVERYTHING.

At the end of the book, there are some “Awareness Calendars” to help you notice stuff. I love these!

In short, in case you can’t tell, I love this book!

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