Nightmares, Novels and the Smell of Starbucks

Friday, June 29, 2012 0 Comments A+ a-

Morning...(yawn, stretch, sip of coffee).

It's Friday once more, and what a Friday it's already turning out to be. Not yet 8:30 as I start this, and I'm on my 3rd cup of very strong java. All because I woke from a nightmare and couldn't go back to sleep...drat my overactive mind!

I hate nightmares. They scare me half to death and make me feel very vulnerable. I also hate looking at the clock and seeing that yes, once again, it's 3 AM. I've heard midnight called the witching hour, but 3 AM seems to be the hour my demons start punching in. I once read a book describing how the ancient Israelites would pray through the night in shifts, because each shift represented a change in the spiritual atmosphere...and 3 AM was the start of radical demonic activity.

Guess that's when mine gather around the bed and brandish their pitchforks. Grrr.

Anyway, I couldn't go back to sleep. My brain kept going over the details of the nightmare, things on my to-do list, etc., until it finally landed on the most recent chapter of my book and began the editing process. Seriously. Sentences were recalled, manipulated, and improved upon--all inside my head. Deciding I wasn't going to get any rest, I opened my laptop and went to work. It was a productive session without interruption. And I'll be paying for it later :-)

After a shower and the aforementioned coffee, I'm feeling up to some more writing. So let's see what my sleep-deprived, somewhat punchy self can conjure up.

Okay - I've been posting recently about ways to help curb the INFJ emotional intensity. On the list so far are:

  • Faith - giving emotions to God, since He's better at dealing with them than I am.
  • Careers - finding jobs and work environments that we can thrive in without becoming emotional wrecks (my own career change has worked out nicely).

What are some other things I do to relieve the emotional tension that comes from being a sensitive, intuitive INFJ?

Let me list them out:

  • Creative outlets
  • Intellectual pursuits
  • Exercise
  • Nutrition
  • Hormone balancing

Why creative outlets? Because INFJs need them! If we're going to experience emotional turbulence on a grand scale, why not put it to good use?

INFJs tend not only to be compassionate and deep thinkers, but also talented in the areas of writing and fine arts. Giving form and structure to the way we feel about life can be a great release for our emotions. Remember the diary and journals I kept as child? They may have held some extreme content - but they kept me from spilling those emotions all over the people around me. Playing the piano, drawing or sketching, and singing were all helpful in expressing my feelings.

For me, I've found blogging and writing to be invaluable. I see evidence of this each week...when I post about a subject on one blog, I find myself unmotivated to repeat that subject on the other. Once I've put my thoughts and ideas in written form, they cease to bother me.

At least, until 3 AM comes around!

Intellectual pursuits. We need these, too. I believe INFJs aren't happy unless we are pursuing a goal that's worthy of our time and attention and produces satisfactory results. I loooooove looking things up on the internet, studying them with merciless patience until I figure out how they relate to my environment. Then I go about applying them. If someone challenges me with a topic, I dive into online research until I've come to terms with it. My brain just naturally wants to know about things. When I was a kid and had to look definitions up in an actual dictionary, I'd find my eyes wandering over the pages, distracted by all the information. I soaked it up like a sponge. Still do. If I'm not actively using my brain, I'd better darn well be asleep (and not having nightmares)!

Exercise and nutrition kind of go hand-in-hand. I used to run in college, and it was one of the best forms of stress/emotional release I'd ever found. These days I don't have the opportunity to burn up the track like I used to - but I pick up my free weights on a regular basis and go to work. There are many times when my special needs son's behavior mandates that I stay in the same room with him (unless I'm willing to risk destruction of property). So I turn on his favorite music or TV show to soothe him and, if I'm not working on my laptop, will often do pushups, crunches, calf raises, or whatever. If I'm frustrated, angry, or feeling trapped, getting physical helps me keep things in perspective. And I'm less likely to take it out on my husband when he gets home from work.

Now...nutrition might not be something you'd think of in terms of emotional health. But I found this out the hard way! A few years back, I hit a rough patch. My emotions were in full swing--and not the joyful, happy ones. I took crankiness and rage to a new level. When I finally vented in tears to a friend of mine, she suggested that I might have a vitamin or mineral deficiency. I was a little surprised, as I've taken drinkable vitamin supplements for years. But once I'd visited a homeopathic doctor and had some blood work done, I realized there were areas that needed a boost.

Vitamin D, for one. I can't always get outside with my son in good weather, and during the harsh winter months there's little sun to be found around here. I also don't drink milk. So my D3 levels had become depleted. I'd gone to a regular medical doctor, but she said everything was "within limits." However, the homeopathic doctor suggested Vitamin D - and wow, am I glad she did. In less than a week I noticed a huge improvement in my mood. My friend had also suggested I might be low in magnesium, so I began supplementing with that as well.

I can't tell you what a difference this has made. If your body doesn't have what it needs to function properly, areas of weakness will amplify. In my case, it was my emotions. I've beefed up my drinkable supplements to include a vitamin/mineral blend, Vitamin C, a B complex blend, and OPC-3 (a blend of antioxidants). And I boost my D with sun exposure, artificial tanning or oral supplements. These and other supplements have been extremely beneficial, along with adding good fats to my diet. If you want a sound mind and good emotional health, don't sacrifice the health of your body.

The same doctor who helped me with my vitamins and minerals shed some brilliant light on my hormones as well. It wasn't just my mood that suffered during that rough patch, but also my weight. I'd always hovered somewhere around 108, fluctuating in winter and summer due to changes in activity level. But despite my exercise and consistent eating habits, my weight started creeping up noticeably (which didn't help my mood, since clothes weren't fitting well). When I hit 115 and the scale wouldn't budge, I started feeling even more hopeless. My emotions were a wreck. The "medical" doctor told me this to be expected and to live with it. Nice, right?

The homeopathic doctor, on the other hand, said this was something we could investigate and probably treat. She had me do a saliva test for my hormones. Basically, I had to spit into vials a couple of times a day - which isn't as easy as it sounds, believe it or not - and send them in for analysis. Turns out my estrogen was high. That shouldn't have surprised me, given the excessive phytoestrogens in today's environment. Too much estrogen can cause all kinds of problems in the body, including emotional upset. Progesterone balances out estrogen and keeps it in check, so I started using an over-the-counter progesterone cream in the morning and evening. It took several months, but my weight slowly came back down and is operating as it used to. As a bonus, my harsh PMS symptoms (which used to make me so ill my husband would often have to stay home and watch our son) have minimized to a very manageable level.

Hormones. Like everything else in life, they need to be balanced. (sigh)

So again - I've written a novel. Apparently lack of sleep doesn't curb my tendency to express myself like a fire hose :-)

Hope this information is interesting to all and helpful to some! If I think of other areas that have helped, I'll post them as they come up. Keep in mind I'm not a doctor and that what works for one person may not work for another. I'm just sharing what has helped me stabilize my intensity and keep it from damaging the relationships in my life.

Everyone have a great weekend and take care!


P.S. As soon as I was ready to publish, my wi-fi network quit working. Technical difficulties with the carrier lasted all day. Had to wait until this evening to scoot to a Starbucks and use their connection to finish. Ah, technology. And realizing just the smell of coffee wakes me up, lol!