Is your nervous system short circuiting?

Ever feel like your nervous system is short circuiting? My brain often does. This is part one of two.

Check yes if this is you

  • Your nerves feel like they are hitting a wall over and over again.
  • Thoughts go on a loop like they can’t find an exit point.
  • You can feel certain parts of your brain or nervous system locked up like a knot.
  • Clenching. So much clenching in your body and mind.
  • Overwhelming sensations: Jolts. Sharpness. Buzzing. Burning. Heat. Cold. Twitches. Pangs of pain.
  • Overwhelming emotions: Panic. Fear. Terror. Anger. Disgust. Rage.
  • Certain parts of you feel like an ice block or rock with lava-like fire underneath, wanting to unleash.
  • Your senses dull but your adrenaline skyrockets.
  • You feel out of control and blocked at the same time.

Yes? I hear you. I’ve been here so many times I’ve lost count. While professionals like to call this anxiety, I call it “short-circuiting.” Like an electrical wire has gone haywire, but you can’t run away from it because it is inside you.

Anxiety is the symptom of a nervous system malfunctioning.

Definition of short circuit

I’m curious about what the official definition of short circuit means, so I looked it up.

From The Spruce

“A short circuit is an abnormal condition in an electrical circuit where the electrical current flows through an unintended, shorter pathway instead of following the circuit. An electrical circuit is a circular flow of energy from a home’s electrical service panel and back again. This flow is continuous and unbroken.”

Our nervous system works like an electrical service panel. When regulated, it flows between neurons in the body without lack or super-rush. Everything is connected correctly and is grounded to remain in harmony.

Wikipedia’s definition

“A short circuit is an abnormal connection between two nodes of an electric circuit intended to be at different voltages. This results in an electric current limited only by the Thévenin equivalent resistance of the rest of the network which can cause circuit damage, overheating, fire or explosion.”

Yes. Yes! I feel like I’m on the verge of overheating, fire, and explosion. I get this recurrent thought that I will forever be lost if I venture into this short circuit, like a death sentence or lifetime of insanity. If I feel this out, I will explode.

But…. By circling it, it never heals. This energy is still there, running in the background, playing a massive part in my overall nervous system regulation. I am never fully at peace or feel happiness without fear because this bundle of neurons runs amok in my brain.

Short Circuits need to reconnect properly and ground to regain stability

So let’s heal

How does one heal this? According to many trauma modalities, we must feel it to heal it. I believe this. But how do we do so without getting trapped in there?

To see how I’m healing the short circuit, click this link:

This is a physiological problem, not a psychological one

While the symptoms present in our psyche, the root cause is our physiology. We must address it from this level to relieve the symptoms.

Our nervous system requires smooth communication just as our arteries and veins require ease of circulation of blood. Just as a blockage in our circulation can cause heart attacks, a mis-fire of our nervous system can cause us to feel on edge.

Restoring our nervous system means restoring the ease of communication between our neurons and synapses. We can:

  • ground it
  • undo it
  • replace it

First, Ground and ground again

Grounding returns the chaotic energy to a source where it can securely attach to an anchor and settle.

Mother Nature is the key to grounding. Whether you feel your bare feet on the grass to immersing yourself in water, practices that bring you back into your body ground the short circuit in your brain.

Do this multiple times a day. Every time you feel the short circuit, rewire it by grounding it. It takes numerous experiences to create new neural pathways. If this feels hard to do, remember that your body will spend energy strengthening the short circuit anyways. Why not use that same energy to rewire a new route?

I found Mother Nature to be my anchor to healing, so I created practices that build on this. I made worksheets on each element of Mother Nature and how they help us return to our bodies and rewire our nervous system. Earth, water, air, fire, and spirit are all built into our cells since conception, and attuning to their energies with our senses and movement brings us back to their stability and power.

By uniting yourself to the elements, you are opening another version of youself that is not stuck on loop.

Connect and reconnect – Undo It

Like untying knots in a lump of cords, our nerves can undo it’s own resistance and blocks to return to flow. It takes our ability to step outside of it to see it for what it is and then rewire it. That is what grounding does. It allows us to anchor to something outside of our suffering.

Now we turn back and see what and where the problem is:

  • where is it located?
  • what does it feel like?
  • what does it need to undo itself?
  • how can we support what it needs?
  • is it a physical response or a mental one?
  • what’s the underlying emotion or story that its trying to keep you from?
  • does it need assistance from someone else more experienced than you?
  • how does it want you to move, feel, discern, create, or simply be for it to unwind?

Integrating Fragments – Replace it

A short circuit is neurons misfiring, which makes us feel fragmented instead of whole. Our psyche may split into parts that keep the traumatic experiences away from our active lives. If you feel like you live on auto-tune or that the real you is hidden away from the social you, you may be experiencing fragmented parts.

I recommend looking into Internal Family Systems Therapy for more information on this topic. It has been integral to my healing.

Internal Family Systems

Healing misfiring neurons and feeling fragmented is done by reconnecting your hurt parts to your healthy parts. This is done on both a psychological and physical level, and the best practices bring them together.

I had spent many moments lying in a fetal position, where I surrendered to this reconnection when the pain was so severe. It’s not all that bad, I promise. I have also spent many moments in strength and personal power. I used this time to mend the short circuits with mindfulness, internal communication, sensorimotor exercises, and pure radical acceptance. I discuss this more in part two.

It is this place where you build a new neural framework. Integrating parts of yourself to your whole body and soul replaces old pathways to new ones.

Step by step, neuroplasticity allows our nervous system to heal itself with the attunement practices of healing. Spending so much time here has allowed me to create a practice I call the Pause and Presence, which takes meditation and sitting with our feelings to a level where we can feel safe while doing it. (Or at least safer if we are coming from a place of extreme trauma)


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Book of poems and essays on healing trauma, abuse, and radical feminism, Returning to Her, healing from harm.


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