Hug from a stranger
I have enough on my mental plate to keep me occupied for days just trying to figure out the right direction. I get angry easily and don't have any patience for any kind of criticism, thanks PTSD. Today, after finishing my registration for the university (it's official in a few months I will be a part-time student again) and submitting the first fee (smallest of them all) I have melted down. The uncertainty of it all is crushing. The fact that so many out there do not think I can do it - is even more soul crushing. I planned on doing it before PTSD hit me up, so I should stick to the original plan. I've already tried to sabotage my own application and at the end I still went with finishing up my application process. And. I. got. in.
I am working on figuring out my sleep and my concentration issues and until that stabilizes, I guess I will be going on more walks. "SAD GIRL walks" #sadgirlwalks. Not to be confused with #hotgirlwalks. Sad girl walks are those walks where I need to complete the cycle. The cycle of getting angry, or panicky, or upset, or depressed. The cycle that a memory, a though, a word start but can't be completed because the body starts a 'fight or flight' response and there is no real danger to fight and no real enemy to run away from. So in comes the 'sad girl walkies'. Walkies help because they help to deal with the body reactions to stress. If you already have increased heart rate, and the blood is flowing to your muscles, your breathing has sped up, your pupils dilated, and your pain levels dropped - and then you sit back down... your body does not know what to do. So get up! Use up that energy. Go on a sad girl walk, Eventually, those walks will turn into hot girl walks. I promise.
Hot girl walk it was not; with tears pouring down my face, smeared mascara, and the feeling of being lost and alone have only made my walk feel less luxurious. It felt rushed. It felt unprepared for. It felt exactly as it was - a sad girl walk. A walk that one needed to get away from it all or perhaps more of a sprint, trying to get away from my own self.
This story is not about my sad girl walk, but more about how it ended. With a hug from a stranger, It felt so good to share with a neighbor that I was just out and about on a sad girl walk. Late summer evening walk. Just out there, all alone in the elements (and by elements I mean swarms of angry mosquitos) minding my own sad-girl business. So I shared with a neighbor that I am out on a walk, for unspecified reasons and as a result I got a hug (well that or maybe because I am just a great person). Who knows maybe this said neighbor greets everyone that way... It was momentary and it was healing, though it took me about an hour to recognize it in my body.
The science of hugs still has a lot of controversies around it, but humans and some other mammals, instinctively understand the positive effects of hugs, Dr. Jan Astrom said, “The positive emotional experience of hugging gives rise to biochemical and physiological reactions” and with that a dump of oxytocin. Oxytocin tends to make us feel less stressed, more relaxed, and create a stronger bond between people. After all oxytocin is known as a 'love hormone'.
The rest of the night has spiraled into me thinking about the connection between hugs and people, about how we relate to strangers, ways to empathy, and who in my life has given me the best hugs and for what reasons. And so my mind has drifted from one hug to two, to all the other situations I have been in. I guess, there is now enough to say in part two... and until that time I will just leave you with this: your hugs are the best.
Dr. Jan Astrom said, “The positive emotional experience of hugging gives rise to biochemical and physiological reactions”