Mrs White in the study with the candlestick

As I’ve written about recently in my other blog, I badly injured my back a while back, which has triggered off a plunge into some of the worst fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue symptoms I can remember. Yet the very sudden, indistinct way this injury came about has puzzled my mind since there was no obvious perpetrating event. Yes, I had overdone things physically over the course of a couple of weeks or more, but felt fine every time I checked in with myself. We had had a long car journey to go to the hills for our holiday…and should probably have broken the journey but we didn’t. Then the bed was too soft and somewhat weird for us at it had springs, being used to a memory foam mattress that works to support the spine, and so I could tell straightaway that would be a challenge but I’m used to that on trips. We had the usual issue that we are used to sleeping in an electrically “quiet zone” at home as we have an isolator switch but, in the small barn conversion we were renting, there were a plethora of sockets behind the bed, an active alarm system and electric heating under the bathroom floor, the constant hum of a fridge in our sleeping space, the bed was metal and nothing could be switched off without messing up our host’s arrangements except for the wifi router. For an electrically sensitive person, these are triggers galore but then it had to be less triggering that being back home in a busy urban road.


Sheep in the narrow roads…a typical sight on the hills

Then we had a bizarre second night, given we had gone to this breathtakingly beautiful remote location up a hill, with next to no neighbours for miles, to get away from things and enjoy the absolute peace and quiet. However, two guys came around to our property on the first bright and sunny morning to inform us a car rally was due to take place past our door that very night. I was gob-smacked and indignant at how ludicrous this was and went into immediate trigger over all the free-roaming wild life and livestock that lives on that hill which, sure enough, was littered with roadkill, snapped branches and pot holes in the morning. Potential harm to animals and the natural environment, caused by mindless human behaviour, is always guaranteed to be one of my biggest triggers!

True to his word, 80 or 90 cars came revving at speed past our barn between 1 and 5am and it was horrible; worse than the worst kinds of sleepless nights I was used to because there was no disengaging from it. I could feel it all as though there was a rampage taking place inches from the bed and perhaps the feeling of this triggered some ancient memory of marauders in my cells since it seemed to rouse such intense feelings I could hardly rein them in. In fact I could tell the rally had started, though I had been in a very deep sleep and had no idea of the time, even before a single noise had broken the beautiful tranquility because I felt it like an electric tsunami passing through me long before a single car arrived…and then it came, a minute later. Having surrendered utterly to the beauty of that natural place, like falling into its arms on arrival, I realised I was perhaps even more sensitive and aware than I am at home where the relentless rush of 1am traffic from the city and back again at rush hour, right past our door is, regretfully, the new norm.

So, though I stuck in my headphones and tried to meditate, I kept alternating between surrender and a rush of adrenalin as another car, with a slightly different engine and driving style to the last one, came around the valley blaring headlights into our curtainless floor-to-ceiling glass frontage next to the bed (which normally overlooked a view in which the daily post van in the distance was “an event”), only to round the sharp bend along the precariously narrow lane that touched onto the wall of our house on the other side (we left a light on in the hope they wouldn’t drive into the wall!) and roar past. By morning, I had probably generated enough cortisol in my body for a month and felt utterly wrung out, physically and emotionally…but had rarely-seen family visiting so there was no let-up to be had, I was hosting for the day.

With the perfect timing of a bullseye shot, we then received a kick in the guts notification from friends that very morning (the downside of having to check for messages from my brother was that I received other notifications I could have done without on holiday). More unwanted news came within days when my closest friend, who was already on my mind throughout the holiday for this reason, confirmed her cancer was back (it never rains but it pours).

Was it any coincidence that it was on this very morning after the rally that my body suddenly floundered…and by the next day, I could hardly stand or get around without gripping onto things. A couple of days later, having tried to soldier on with our holiday plans, it all gave way completely and I was barely able to get in and out of chairs, walk, bend, carry, cough, dress, move. It all seemed too exaggerated for the events that led up to it, like it came out of nowhere…an invisible car crash and, of course, my mind went into overdrive trying to figure it out as well as deal with all the challenges and disappointments it presented. The rest of our holiday was pretty compromised and, though the location was just so beautiful I could have stayed forever, the physically challenged part of me longed to get home to my normal bed, a bath tub and things I could reach.

I wrote about all this, the first time, a couple of weeks ago and the account was longer…much longer…but I knew, by the end, it wasn’t helping things to publish those words. Really, all that version was doing was adding snow to the snowball so I used it as an outlet and put it to one side.

Its taken me another couple of weeks to process much more of what I needed to on the inside…a solo task…and start to glean from all this what I really needed to and its ongoing. But, at least, now I am ready to share what feels like the most important nugget of all…

When things happen that we don’t like, it’s so easy to accuse this and that, until it becomes like a proverbial game of Cluedo (known as Clue in N America)…calling out a person in a situation with a particular “weapon”…except nobody ever wins. In this case, was the perpetrator “the over-tired back in the uncomfortable bed with the car rally?” Or perhaps “my own empathy with the emotional punch plus the EMF exposure”? Who knows; do I even need to know? It was what it was and will continue to deliver its plot-line while I seek the reasons why on the outside of myself.

And isn’t it always the case that as soon as you go into rumination, other “bad” things start to attract to that vibration, like flies sticking to a fly paper so that, suddenly, you’re in free fall and with nothing to smile about. That has been my last couple of weeks…even as part of me has stood back, with curiosity, to observe the patterns, witnessing them playing out to their usual “separation age” format. “Something outside of me must have caused this”, we assume whilst overlooking our own part in the dance made for two. And yes, while pain is there, I agree, it is very hard to disengage from all the stories of sorrow and the need to find a cause…such is our human way. Yet pain won’t move along…or will keep coming back…while the entrainment of blame continues; whether that is physical pain (which makes it rather obvious for me) or emotional pain, the pain of life’s disappointments, the pain of feeling let down by others and the world at large.

Well, pain is still here but I feel somehow different about it today. Writing about this now feels more like part of the detox than a whine about it all. I’m not feeding anything or anyone who played a part in triggering this because to “focus on” is to feed (and, yes, sometimes people wish us misfortune or do things we don’t relate to, things happen that don’t seem fair…of course they do) because nothing is so much of a hex on ourselves as our own belief that they can harm us or get under our skin. Of course, there are practical things we need to tackle some times and, to do so, we need to be aware of them but there’s a fine line between seeing what needs to be taken care of in a useful sense and pushing aside responsibilities that lie within to lay blame outside of ourselves, which is to fall into the victim trap that makes us weak just when we need to be our strongest. And, of course, sometimes when things turn out differently to how we hoped or expected, they are doing us a favour; we just haven’t reached a place of seeing that yet…which calls for less investment in a particular outcome than we have been displaying.

While we are human, we have triggers and each of us have our own particular set of them; mine are, perhaps, a little more quirky than some plus I’m a diagnosed HSP (highly sensitive person) which makes me acutely aware but we are all much the same in this regard. Whether those triggers go off is an insider job and, of course, its much harder to prevent when they all seem to want to go off at the same time. Yet being aware of what they are, mitigating the likelihood of them all coming up at once and ceasing the blame of outside things in favour of using them to understand ourselves a little better can be the turning point. When we notice, instead, all the synchronicities that occur (who would have thought the speedway level traffic of my road at home could follow me to that quiet hill in a so-called protected Area of Outstanding Beauty…its too bizarre…but has taught me many things) we gain a sense of what is being brought up for our attention; where we would do well to focus our next layer of fresh approaches, to better navigate this world in a new-enlightened way. Then we gain the sense, it’s all for us; it’s all what we needed to experience in order to understand more of the subtleties and evolve ourselves further (and, perhaps, next time the experience can take a gentler route to attract our attention).

When we start to claw back some of the neutrality we had given away around that particular trigger, we very quickly notice how the triggering event has very different information to impart. This process requires us to pull way-way back to where we can regard this infinitely bigger picture from many angles…so, my advice, don’t be so quick to dive in with all the sad accounts of “what happened to you” that make such a gripping yarn to swop with other people who, no doubt, have their own sad yarn ready to trade with you, because all this does is entrench you in the far narrower view, which is as blinkered as can be.

Its taken, as I said, well over two weeks to get to where I am now getting on top of this…and I’m not there yet since by body has not yet recovered, though it now feels more like having to dispatch the flush of toxins in my cells from “all those old stories of past” than anything to do with where I am in the present moment. The body is always a little slower and will catch up soon when shown the way but the point is to lead with a different angle of your consciousness; to be that change in the way you approach the circumstances that got you there, accepting your own responsibility in all this since you can only ever be experientially taken somewhere you agree to go.

As we get better at this in the individual context, we can only get far better at it in the collective context, which can only mean a world without finger pointing and all the toxic release that only ever comes out of blaming each “other” for our own loss of equilibrium. That’s not to blame ourselves either, but to accept that we are all part of the same experience-scape; so the inner will direct the outer to keep providing us with examples of what we couldn’t see we were fighting against or struggling with inside ourselves….until we no longer do that anymore.


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Rigor mortis

About Helen White

Helen White is a professional artist and published writer with two primary blogs to her name. Her themes pivot around health and wellbeing, expanded consciousness and ways of noticing how life is a constant dance between the deeply subjective and the collective-universal, all of which she explores with a daily hunger to get to know herself better. Her blog Living Whole shines a light on living with high sensitivity, dealing with trauma and healing from chronic health issues. Spinning the Light is an extremely broad-based platform where she elucidates the everyday alchemy of relentless self-exploration. A lifetime of "feeling like an outsider" slowly emerged as neurodivergence (being a Highly Sensitive Person with ADHD, synaesthesia, sensory processing challenges and other defecits overlapping with giftedness). All of these topics are covered in her blogs, written from two distinct vantage points so, if you have enjoyed one of them, you may wish to explore the other for a different, yet entirely complimentary, perspective.
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2 Responses to Mrs White in the study with the candlestick

  1. mudpie12 says:

    Your post resonated with me. It reminds me of the nurse who sat with me and said don’t think why, it will be tiring and nothing will change. Instead think well ok how I am going to do this now and learn to accept sometimes you can’t. Of course I don’t always do this but both you and she are right. All life is a journey while a path may not be the one we would have chosen it is our unique path and I think that perhaps the more challenging the path the more we appreciate what is special and precious.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen White says:

      Its still work in progress with me, as I am sure it always will be to a degree but its so good to hear this resonates with you too. Having to face that something might not be fixable, for instance…and might have to be lived with…is my current challenge on that score (a hard one for the part of me that has always insisted that everything was fixable / reversible to “the way it was before” it “went wrong”) and, rather than expending more energy banging my head against a wall, I’m starting to realise I can use that energy to pay attention to beauty and kindness and all the things that I can be grateful for….and even, in a sense, allow myself to relax a bit too.


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