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Why can't I relax?



I am tense, all the time.  I honestly can't remember what it is like to not have my muscles all in knots.  Lately it's been worse.  My jaw clenches so hard at night that when I wake up my teeth ache and when I go to eat breakfast I feel like it's a bit of a struggle to open it to take a bite.  My neck and shoulder muscles are so tight and knotted and I can never  get them to relax.  I go to bed at night and feel myself tensing up.  I lay there, trying to relax, trying to focus on the different muscle groups and trying to let the tension go.  I take deep breaths.  I feel it starting to ease up for a few seconds only to have everything tense up again just as bad or worse. My T reminded me that I've been under a tremendous amount of stress lately.

I was talking to my chiropractor about it the other day.  She agreed that the muscles in my neck and shoulders weren't just tight, but there are actual knots in them. She asked if I was still seeing my T.  I told her that I was and she said that hopefully as I continue to work through things and gain emotional healing, that should help ease some of the tension.  I told her that the only person who's ever been able to truly get me to relax is one of my young nieces.  Somehow her small hands work magic and not only can she get the tension to go away, but she can actually put me to sleep!  She would come up behind me while I was reading to her and her siblings and start massaging my neck and shoulders.  It wouldn't take too long before I'd actually start slurring the words that I was reading.  The kids all thought it was great fun. :)

My chiropractor laughed along with me as I told her about it, but then she said something that really has me thinking.  She said that I was able to relax with my niece because I fully trusted her.  If that is so, what does that say about all the others who have tried to give me a neck massage, but I just couldn't truly relax with them?  Does that mean that at some level I didn't have complete trust in them? I'm talking about people that are close to me, that I feel like trust shouldn't be an issue.

I discussed this with my T this week.  She said for one, my niece is just a child which causes me to not have any fear that she would hurt me, physically or emotionally.  She asked what my relationship was like with her.  I said she is very much like myself, a sensitive child and she also is a touchy-feely girl and always liked to cuddle.  As for the others, she wants me to start thinking through all the "safe" people in my life and to try to re-program my brain that it is ok to trust them.  Not exactly sure how to go about that.  She probably told me more, but I've already forgot if she did.  Definitely will need to discuss this further with her and ask for clearer direction in what I need to do.

She also asked me where I felt totally safe.  I don't really have a place like that. At least, not safe from tension. I don't mean that where I am at is tense all the time, but rather that I can't shake the feeling that something will happen to cause tension, a constant feeling of "waiting for the other shoe to drop".  Some of this is a mindset, a habit that I just automatically revert to. A default that needs resetting.  But I also long for a place to call my own, where I could truly relax and feel free of outside tension.  

I know that this world is full of strife and tension and that I would do well to find that inner peace that I can take with me wherever I am.  In the Bible God promises His peace for those who seek Him and learn to abide in Him.  If I am struggling this bad with tension, I'm afraid I've not done well at the abiding part.  I started reading "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young as my T recommended it.  It keeps reminding me how important it is to keep my focus on Him. Someday maybe I will truly learn this lesson and be free from the tense muscles and knotted stomach.



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I also want to wish you well in reducing tension. I am a 30 year survivor and have struggled much with it, so similar to what you're experiencing.  Always waiting for the next shoe to drop is a bugger to carry. Lots of therapy, prayer, and developing healthy relationships with healthy men has enabled me to make a lot of progress in this area. Getting to a place of real connect and trust in God has been the key for me - to believe he's got my back and will never take back his love. This is starting  to sink into my bones.  

I get how you felt so relaxed with your niece. The innocence and unbridled love of a child has been a place of relaxation and safety for me over the years. 

I appreciate you sharing on here. I can relate on many levels. (I'm new and this is my first interaction in the site) Reading your stuff drew me in. Thank you. 

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@ContinuingMetanoia First off, Welcome to AS!  I've only been on here for a few months, but it has helped a lot to have a place where I can write what I am going through. 

It was nice to get your feedback. 

I am enjoying reading "Jesus Calling" and also "Jesus Always".  It helps me to stop and reflect and make it personal.


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