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What is Fight or Flight?
I would like to first say that I have had a morning where I just want to run away to a safe place on the ocean’s beach, up in the mountains, or at the lake. It seems like every corner I turn there is another mess to clean up, crisis to avert, or fire to put out. Today, I was simply trying to make breakfast. Kitchen was a mess. The trash had been sitting in the corner, piling up. I asked others to take it out yesterday and there it sat. Finally, I prompted the teenager to get that trash out! She did but what was left behind infuriated me.
There was a grease slick where the trash once sat. Have you ever tried to clean up dirty oil from a laminate wood floor? It just spreads. I grabbed two dirty towels from the laundry and got down on my hands and knees. Thank God for vinegar because it seemed to do the trick. However, while I was down there, the baby gate fell and hit me in the face.
I was seeing red.
It was then that the Fight or Flight response kicked into high gear. Can I just run away? Could I get a hotel with a bar and drink whiskey sours all night long? I’m hungry. I’d better just finish making breakfast.
I’m stuck; stuck in a situation where flight is not an option so I must fight. Fight back the feelings that drinking will solve all of my problems. Fight back the urge to throw and break everything within reach. I could sell it all, including the house, and live in my car like a gypsy. What choice do I have?
Back to the question: What is Fight or Flight?
The clinical way to explain fight or flight goes like this:
“The fight – or – flight response, also known as the acute stress response, refers to a physiological reaction that occurs in the presence of something that is terrifying, either mentally or physically. The response is triggered by the release of hormones that prepare your body to either stay and deal with the threat or run away to safety.” According to By Kendra Cherry,https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-the-fight-or-flight-response-2795194
I would agree that I am in fight or flight mode, in fact, I have been for many years. What can I say? I’m a fighter. I fight for my place in this world. It’s a struggle and the struggle is real.
“Flight” or fleeing, is not an option. When you are a single-parent you have no out. You must stay, no matter how hard it gets. It’s important to find a way to get those emotions out before they become destructive. In this situation, what should I do?
My friend bailed on me so now what? Go alone? You’d think that I would be used to going alone but I never have really gotten used to it. I tolerate it because I have no other choice. I could walk downtown for lunch. The drink would taste good because this local place makes them all from scratch – none of that premixed junk. How long would it last? An hour or two and then I’d be sick.
My best response to fight or flight is to first pray and worship.
That is really the only thing that will calm me down and bring me back to center. When I talk to God, I remember that He has my best interest at heart. His best for me is not alcohol. That is proven by the stomach ache that ensues shortly after consumption.
I’ve finished my breakfast and I’m drinking coffee. Fight or Flight has finally calmed down and I no longer want to run out the door. Instead, I want to plan a vacation. It’s been years since I’ve been on a true, relaxing, vacation. This is a great way to fight the anger, anxiety, and troubles in this life. In fact, taking time for self is like fueling up. It makes your body ready to handle a fight with confidence and positivity rather than violence or abandonment.
Grab my FREE Self-Care activities checklist here.
When do you find your body in Fight or Flight mode? What do you do about it? Do you have activities in place that fuel your mind and body so that you are equipped when Fight for Flight kicks in?