Life in survival mode often gets us to think we’re doing okay when in reality, we are not
Many years ago, I was working in a job that I loved.
Yet because of company practices, they were working me to death. Regardless of what I tried to explain to those above me, they saw me as a commodity to use and abuse. I was living a life in survival mode.
Their words said one thing but their actions said another.
Even though I loved the work, the pace was relentless. Between email, support calls, conference calls, and constant travel, my days never seemed to end. If I didn’t keep up with everything, I was chastised and questioned as to what I was doing.
Even though I was only supposed to log 40 hours a week, there was absolutely no way I could do the job in that amount of time. In fact, when I quit, there were two people that replaced me. In these contract companies, you’re a name on a sheet with a task to do. There is no “human” component because that does not bring them profitability in their view.
Before I quit, I reached a point where anxiety attacks were becoming so common. I remember calling my doctor from a store because everything in my life was on overwhelm. Visiting my doctor, he saw what I did not see. I was completely exhausted. His prescription was a 3-week rest without anything related to work.
While I had been so busy at being busy, it totally escaped my mind that I was living life in survival mode. I did not realize it. All the signs were there, but my mind and body were so busy numbing what was going on that I was oblivious to what was happening.
Survival Mode Coping Mechanisms
My therapist, Emma Wallace, was helping me understand that when I went through the experiences I did, I learned to survive. It was the only way I could make it through those difficult moments. However, instead of moving on, I kept the same coping mechanisms going throughout my life. I applied them when they didn’t fit the situation.Pg 101, Overcoming A Mysterious Condition by Don Shetterly
Many times we are living life in survival mode. Whether it is work exhaustion, family activities and events, or a task list that never lets up, we become oblivious to what is really going on in our lives. We focus on getting through the day, not the harm we are doing to our mind and body.
When our body starts to break down because we’re living life in survival mode, we run to the doctor. We don’t stop for a minute to question what is going on in life. We are too numb and disconnected.
Burning The Candle At Both Ends
Burning the candle at both ends is not ideal for life. It robs us of so much living and loving.
Yet, we do it anyway.
There are just too many demands that others make on us or that we make on ourselves. It keeps us living life in survival mode.
Sometimes it is past experiences that keep us operating in survival mode.
Many times, it is a result of not fully healing parts of us that keep us on autopilot.
Physical Health Issues In Life
If you’re experiencing physical health issues, take a step back and evaluate your life. There may be a list of experiences, situations, or circumstances that are bringing these things out. At the very least, they may be magnifying the situation. If we fail to see them, there is no way to address them.
One helpful thing that Dr. Canali has taught me is when a pain or emotional situation shows up, ask the following question: “What was going on in your life right before this?” Be honest in answering that question, no matter how hard it may be.
Cause and Effect Of Life In Survival Mode
If you start to see the cause and effect between your experiences and what shows up in your body, you will be much more in control of your health. Far too often we sit back and ignore what we don’t want to see when all the time, it is impacting us in very real ways and physical conditions. Living life in survival mode holds us back from being all that we are.
I’ll leave you with the question “are you living life in survival mode? ”
- If you answer no, are you truly being honest? Remember, we don’t always see it.
- If you answer yes, what changes in your life are you going to begin making?
Please leave a comment below about how you answered this question. I’d love to know what your answer was.