21. Mefloquine Dispatches: Mindfulness, 5th December 2019
by Shane Granger
We sit across from each other. A small coffee table and my phone separate us. My psychologist will be helping me make this difficult call. I have spent the best part of a year working towards this point. I’m emotionally attached to this phone-call.
Today we are using a combination of mindfulness and a safe-place to ensure I stay calm. We reinforce my safe space with Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy.
I make the call.
The conversation takes approximately 10-minutes. For me I am relating an incident that occurred almost 23-years ago. Yet it feels like it was just months previously. That’s just the amnesia. I go through the details of the incident. I get an acknowledgement and a contact person to reach out to.
We finalise the call and move over to the coffee machine so I can regather.
The emotion and the adrenaline have started to kick in. My jaw tightens. As does my chest. My voice wavers. My hands start to shake. My psychologist picks up on this straight away. He wants to bring me back down immediately.
We return to our chairs.
“I’ve got this” I say.
I close my eyes. I control my breathing which has a ragged edge to it. I imagine my safe-place. I focus entirely on my breathing.
I take an initial deep breath.
I focus on my safe-place.
A second deep breath.
A third deeper breath.
I open my eyes.
I look at my psychologist. I grin. My jaw has relaxed. My shaking has disappeared. My breathing has normalised.
It took less than a minute. Rather than kick-off I am calm. We are both impressed by my progress. Just weeks before I would have been raging.
In the coming months there will be more difficult phone calls. Difficult situations. Chance encounters which I cannot control.
Practicing mindfulness is not only helping me cope with old trauma and new memories it is allowing me to operate in the real world.
One breath at a time.