I’ve been watching “Soft White Underbelly” on YouTube for the last couple of weeks, and it’s becoming more and more clear to me the importance of our childhood experiences, the pervasive and poisonous grip shame can have on our individual psyches, and the importance of not adopting a victim mentality in life.
If you think something is *happening* to you, or that the circumstances of your life are devoid of meaning, or that is the formula for getting and staying stuck.
Throughout my journey with Lyme and the destruction and disorientation it’s brought to my life, I’ve tried to stay committed to this.
And while, of course, I have moments of defeat and despair, I’ve always known that if my commitment was to helping others through my experience, then I would never get lost in the mire of dis-ease.
Largely, that has been true.
But what is also true is I am tired of the erratic, non-linear nature of healing, and of feeling excited and optimistic after a few good days only to be hit by an exhaustion that flattens me for weeks.
Last Friday, I posted on social media about my gratitude for the incredible nurses at my doctors office and how lucky I have been to be able to get weekly IV’s and the treatment I’ve been getting…and then within 30 minutes of making that post, my IV line filled with blood.
And I had a full on panic attack in the middle of a bustling office.
True to form, the amazing nurses were right there to explain that it’s normal and that I was okay, but it was like I had slipped into an alternate universe of terror.
Just as quickly as I had slipped in, I came back to the moment.
I took some deep breaths, steadied myself, laughed and walked home, a little proud of myself for having a shorter experience of what in the past would have been a much bigger deal.
And then I got home, crawled into bed and did not leave my apartment again until Tuesday.
Partly, I didn’t feel like I could. I had absolutely no energy and once again the walk from my bedroom to my bathroom seemed overwhelming.
And partly, I didn’t want to. I wanted to stay in my quiet little oasis, undisturbed and safe, as I have become so accustomed to over the last 7 months.
It wasn’t until Monday that I realized I was in a Freeze state.
And it was that realization that sent me down a spiral of self-pity and shame.
Because the last 4 months of this experience has been almost entirely devoted to nervous system rehabilitation, and here I was, once again living as proof of how damaged mine is.
I asked myself: how can I offer anyone anything of value if I can’t manage a little stress without a full collapse?
Without a clear answer to that question, victimhood and meaninglessness enter the equation.
And while I don’t have a definitive answer to what I am supposed to be doing with this experiences, the truth is, shamelessly sharing the experiences I am having is what I can offer right now.
Because I know that so many others will be able to see themselves in my story and find comfort and hope.
Because it’s not just about living with and recovering from chronic illness. It’s also about coming back from PTSD, or burnout, or grief, or healing a broken heart, or recovering from overworking, or any sort of prolonged experience of stress or trauma.
And that is all of us.
I am so driven to heal, and to feel better and go back to living my life with even more joy and connection and pleasure and joy than I was before.
And in order to get there, I need to look at all the ways I was faking it, or white knuckling my way through.
So when I realized I was in a freeze state, I knew the answer was to do the opposite of what I wanted to do, even if it felt exhausting or impossible.
While I do think listening to your body is important, knowing when your body is reacting to a perceived threat and doing what it needs to be soothed is just as important.
So my body was telling me to stay still. To hide from the danger it believed I was in.
But what my body needed was to move. To create and to think bigger, more hopeful thoughts.
While simultaneously taking the time to soothe and strengthen my nervous system.
So I went for a walk.
I talked to people and laughed with them and acknowledged what had happened and how awkward I was feeling.
I followed a nudge I got from the universe to start creating a course on nervous system regulation called Heart Led Healing (I may still be a work in progress, but I am grateful I know what I’m doing to get to where I need to go).
I cleaned my apartment.
I had dinner with a friend.
I thought and journaled about the future and how I want my life to feel, and what I can be doing now to get myself closer and closer to that.
And I spent a lot of time with my new favorite helper, the Sensate. The Sensate is an infrasonic resonance device that helps heal/build vagal tone (which essentially means it strengthens your vagus nerve - the nerve that goes from your brain to your organs and all down your spine).
My doctor recommended I get a Sensate quite a while ago, and I finally ordered it in January. I haven’t wanted to talk about it until I was sure, but this thing has CHANGED my life.
I use it when I am stressed and I am immediately soothed. I use it before bed and I am quickly and solidly asleep. I use it when I wake up in the middle of the night, and within minutes I am back to sleep. I use it when I wake up and I am energized and ready for a new day.
Of course, I clearly have a way to go - there is no such thing as a miracle cure, especially when it comes to your nervous system - but this little guy has helped catapult me into a space where I am able to see myself in a freeze while it’s happening and move out of it with a measure of grace and ease that I simply didn’t have before.
If the IV incident had happened a few months back, I would have been in bed for much longer than 3 days.
I can’t recommend Sensate more. In fact, I’m so passionate about it I reached out to the company to see if I could get a special code for you all to use and get a discount, so if you’re called to try one out, use MEDICINALWISDOM at checkout for an extra 10% off.
And let me know what you think!
I’m slowly crawling through this haze of dis-ease and finding my way back to the land of the living.
As I do so, I find myself passionate about sharing all I’ve learned and wanting to see more clients again.
I know I’m not there yet, but I’m thrilled with the way Heart Led Healing is evolving so far, so if you’d like to be among the first to hear when it’s available for enrollment, click here.