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Limbo Land

Updated: Nov 3

A participant in my Recovering Together class recently asked about being in what she called Limbo Land. She described herself as having one foot in limbic system impairment and one foot in recovery/wellness. She is much more functional and has made lots of progress (yay!), but finds that she crashes a bit and goes into an ebb when she tries to do more and lean into life.

I often think of recovery happening in phases and my input to a client will vary greatly depending on what phase of the process they are in. Phase one is when we are learning the basics of brain retraining, figuring out how to use our tools and learning how to implement all of this with some consistency. Limbo Land is phase two. At this point, we are more functional, but not at a place where we are ready to jump into what would be considered a normal daily/weekly routine. We understand the fundamentals of brain retraining, how to interrupt patterns and have laid a good foundation for healing.

When someone moves from phase one to Limbo Land, I usually find that we need to bring in some new concepts and approaches. At this point, we are often getting back to doing more and usually start to fall into some old patterns that contributed to developing limbic system impairment in the first place. Starting to become aware of those old patterns is really helpful so you don’t fall right back into them again. Our old patterns usually feel very comfortable because they are familiar, and this makes it incredibly easy to fall into them again.

What it looks and feels like to get triggered is also often different at phase two than it is at phase one. In phase one, there’s no guess work, it is usually abundantly obvious when we are triggered. It can be more subtle when we enter into Limbo Land. This is where we want to get curious about what it looks/feels like when we start to trigger a stress response so we can step in and address it when it starts, not five hours later. Not recognizing the more subtle cues that indicate we are triggered is part of what then leads to getting really triggered and crashing later on.

I also commonly find that phase two is the appropriate time to work with challenging emotions in a different way. When we are in phase one, we are working on creating some emotional stability and becoming aware of our emotional patterns. Focusing on steering out of challenging emotions and elevating our emotional state is a good strategy at this point. Over time, we start to have an awareness of limbic driven emotions vs real/true emotions and we will use that in phase two to learn how to grow our emotional regulation, and capacity to be with challenging emotions without getting triggered and dysregulated.

My Recovering Together class is designed to support you through every stage of the recovery process. Whether you are at stage one, Limbo Land or beyond that, my group coaching classes will help you continue to move forward with your healing from a place of empowerment, fierce self-compassion and self-love. I lead the classes from a solid foundation in neuroplasticity and brain retraining with a large dose of flexibility added in. This solid foundation helps me know when to “break the rules” and bring in some flexibility or use a more structured approach. Simply put, it’s truly coaching, not cookie cutter answers!

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