We will all experience moments of extreme stress in our lives.
That's just how it goes - life is full of uncertainty and we can't control everything (as much as we would love to think we can!)
As we get older and gain more responsibilities, our response to these major events changes - think for example about how you reacted in your early 20's when someone you loved got seriously ill or injured, you would have been extremely worried and distressed but at the same time life would have gone on for you. You would perhaps have needed to take some time off work but other than that you could give that situation your whole focus without having to consider anything else.
Fast forward 20 years and suddenly you have a family of your own to look after, perhaps a job or business that isn't so easy to take time off from, add into that financial responsibilities and suddenly shit's getting real!
Dallas and I have had a few moments like this over the years but recently we had one that nearly changed life completely and I'd love to tell you how yoga helped me to navigate this without allowing it to totally chew me up and spit me out.
Man vs motocross bike... that's how this particular scenario began. Out for a boys afternoon with our son Alex, Dallas rides hard - if you saw him racing on the moto x track you would think he was an 18 year old - big airs, fast corners and lots of speed.
There's been a few accidents over the years so when he came on on this particular day, walking but feeling sore in his ribs I didn't think too much off it (I've seen him come home in worse shape). It was suggested a visit to A&E might be a good idea as he was sore around his ribs and it was affecting his ability to take a full breath. He hates a fuss so off he went by himself to sit in the waiting room up at the hospital and get an x-ray.
A few text messages passed between us - me asking if he wanted some company while he waited and him assuring me that all was well and not to rush up as it was a long wait and he was fine. So I carried on with a typical sunday afternoon, getting food in for the week, preparing a roast dinner, sorting kids going here and there, and doing the housework... meanwhile the text messages stopped and I mentioned to Josh perhaps we better go for a drive to the A&E to sit with him after dinner if he hadn't returned home.
As I served up the dinner - all four kids sitting right in front of me waiting patiently, the phone rang and it was the call that makes your heart drop out of your feet “Is that the wife of Dallas Telford? This is Dr.... he is in critical condition in Resus and you need to come now"
First moment of the day, when fright becomes fear, a cross road to either reacting or responding - I hung up the phone and turned to the kids... as I saw their faces in reaction to the phone call I took a deep breath and got hold of myself, rather than breaking into pieces I told them Dad was a bit crook and I needed to go to the hospital to check on him. I grabbed my bag and Josh and I shot off up to the hospital leaving the other 3 to finish their dinner, make their lunches and get themselves organised for school and bed. A quick call to the neighbour assured me that they would have a friendly face popping in to check on them.
Upon arrival at the hospital we were taken straight to Dallas and from there it all went pretty hectic, he was in resus and there were people everywhere sorting him out - surgeons, anesthetist and nurses, his blood pressure was dropping out constantly and they were trying to stablilise him enough to be able to operate on the spleen and the aterary that was causing him to bleed internally.... again another moment to react or respond.
Calling on all my years of practise on and off the mat, I told myself that the worst hadn't happened and I made a deal with myself to not cross that bridge until it happened, even as the surgeon told me there was a potential for him to bleed out on the table... crikey! A big part of staying calm is not allowing your mind to take over - staying in the present moment and not jumping forward to the worse case scenario is crucial. As they rushed him off to the ER and I was left alone in Resus I did have a moment where I thought "shit that might be the last time I see him alive" but again that choice - react or respond. Stay in the facts... he's in good hands, he's still breathing, there is hope.
Fast forward 2 hours and I get the call as I sit in the ICU waiting room, the operation went well, he's still got his spleen and now it's a waiting game - if he gets through the night without it rupturing again he will be all good. Whew! It was a sleepless night of constantly checking to see if the hospital had called to say he was bleeding out again but he got through the night without any drama and after 4 days in HDU/ICU he was moved to the ward and 6 days after the accident he was home, all cosy in our bed listening to the sounds of his beloved family as we go about our day - safe and sound.
There's a lot of physical healing to do for him and for me also some mental healing after the fright that comes from a major event.
What I have learnt over the years is to recognise the signs my body is stressed and to deal with them immediately so that it doesn't take over. Things like knowing when it's tiredness and not stress that is making me snappy and emotional, taking a moment to rest or sit quietly. Giving myself permission to have a little cry when a friend gives me a hug, always staying positive and not looking back, replaying the moment I thought he might die.
What was super interesting was that the first thing I did the morning after the accident (as soon as I got the kids off to school and before I headed back to the hospital) was that I rolled out my mat and filmed a class for the Thrive Tribe - I didn't need to do that right then, I had a whole week to film but a little voice told me that it was important for me to breathe, to get grounded and to just be in my own space for a moment and so by doing yoga I released the stress of the day before, I prepared myself for what lay ahead of me and most importantly I got my feet firmly on the ground and made sure I was in the present moment, not stressing over what had already happened or worrying about what might come.
Why do I share these experiences with you?
Because every single thing we experience in our life is a learning moment, the more you can understand how you go under pressure the more you can stop yourself blowing a gasket - you are no use to anyone if you are a basket case!
If you want to explore more about how a home yoga practise could help you cope with stress head over to the Thrive Tribe and take advantage of the 7 days free trial to give it a go because life is too short to spend it strung out!
Ps. and yes I’ve hidden the motorbike keys for a quite some time!