It’s okay to move forward now, even if you don’t have it all figured out.
It’s okay to be authentic, even when people don’t want to understand.
It’s okay to be relentless when it comes to taking care of yourself.
It’s okay to be less productive, but happier on the inside.
It’s okay to feel feelings, they alone can not hurt you, they are feelings.
It’s okay to be your beautifully imperfect self.
It’s okay if you are sad, scared and even telling yourself that you can’t.
It’s okay to hold new values while you release the old ones that are not helping you achieve your goals.
It’s okay that people start to notice that you aren’t the same anymore, that there is something different about the way you are now. That’s growth, you want to be different because you want to be different. People will notice.
It’s okay that the people that aren’t meant to grow with you find reasons to distance themselves from you. What you are achieving is finding space for yourself in your life. Most people don’t choose that, and when others do there is a jealousy that arises and creates chaos or distance.
It’s okay to be conscious about how the ego will make attempts to hide and mask the fundamental changes that would really benefit you, and choose to make those changes anyway.
You see, it is okay to choose your own adventure in life, in healing, in success. It is up to you to make the choices to propel you towards your dreams and desires.
Once you start to recognize that no matter what, it is okay, your life will change.
When you acknowledge the reality of your specific situation (ie: the obstacles that you may or may not have to face in addition to the regular life tasks), plus acknowledge that 50% happiness is considered a good human life, many of us find that we can achieve more from a place where we feel like we aren’t the comparative underdog.
When we feel abundant with what we already have we feel more capable and confident when we shoot for a more realistic expectations and goals. All together if you put acknowledgement of yourself and your specific situation you will be more fulfilled.
It is when we allow the opinions of others to make impressions on us that tell us that it is NOT somehow okay to follow our healing that we butt heads with those who love us. Mostly because your situation needs your expertise, not theirs. Your solutions, not theirs.
Your journey is your journey, and if anyone else is placing expectations on how you “ought” to be (insert unsolicited advice here).
You don’t have to listen to their unsolicited advice.
And, this might be an indication that you need to set some boundaries with loved ones around your healing journey, and how they don’t get to “expect” anything on your life.
It’s okay to come back to being your full, authentic self, or even to arrive there for the first time.
I have been experiencing it first hand since I was deemed disabled and unable to return to work. Stigma navigation is probably one of the most challenging aspects to healing outside of the actual healing part, and stigma is literally everywhere because hurt people hurt people!
My condition has been diagnosed as Centralized Sensitization Syndrome and complex PTSD I also manage chronic pain as a result. The condition itself is a hybrid of symptoms stemming from central nervous system dysfunctions, and adrenal issues that follow the dysfunctional hormone exchanges.
Since hormones are controlled in the brain, and the central nervous system is controlled by the brain; it made sense to me very quickly that it is largely a brain problem.
This made even more sense the more I understood about my conditions and how they connect.
Then I learned about the trauma link and the mind- body connection as I was learning about the central nervous system.
This solidified my understanding of my situation and condition, and allowed me to release the stigma for myself because it was out of my control, and I just needed to put in the work.
To be really really honest I was just elated that I was curable. I was worried before my diagnosis that is was going to end up being something terrible. The big c was a very serious consideration for how I was feeling.
I didn’t care that I had to travel the mental health path to get better.
I thought we had made some progress in removing the stigma of mental health.
I was very wrong when it comes to people in our day to day life.
I had a false sense of the progress, in a real way.
The stigma might be worse now than before in some ways, and in other ways there have been improvements… but many more improvements need to be made.
I had no shame about it at first with my false sense of stigma free ideas of how healing could go for me… I was wild and free and figuring it out.
I was excited- ultra extra excited about the fact that I was curable. I was elated. literally floating!
I was so elated that I was having cognitive malfunctions, illusions and hallucinations because my adrenals could not keep up to the cascade of hormones pulsing through my body.
And so the pendulum swung. The polarity that I experienced was confusing for others, hell it was confusing for me too, and in hindsight, it is perfectly logical for what I was medically experiencing, psychologically experiencing, and socially experiencing combined. “Right on schedule” one therapist said to me! And we laughed because I know logically that if you lose balance in all three areas something is likely to snap in a human. Add a stigmatizing society, and this is where we lose people to self sabotage or suicide.
I held on to my emotions in for so long that when they came out it was like a flood gate had been opened up.
When I finally got my diagnosis all of the fear came out of me at once, in the most bizarre ways; and for this I was stigmatized and removed from my community of friends. My whole family was.
I partially blame the meds I was on for some of the extra issues that just made everything “extra” anxiety, and obsessiveness and a desire to be understood by any means possible. Those are the side effects that amplify the worst in me. I’m a lot for people to handle on a good day sometimes, these were not good days.
In the months preceding the existential crisis I had I was depressed, anxious and living in constant fear.
I was trying to figure out how to build my life back up from my bed, keep my marriage alive, make sure my kids feel my presence, and figure out how to get better while I wait for the system to call my number to meet my medical needs. All while living my life in adrenal fatigue living like a zombie, unable to shower or go to the grocery store without a special band around my waist. Agoraphobia was not far off, and the pain kept me close to my bed. The cancelled plans piled up.
Figuring my life out was chaos, and it required my full attention, and energy that I didn’t have. I gave finding out the solutions to my problems every ounce of my heart and soul.
Because of this I lost connections and friendships, attention was given to my health over spending time with my kiddos (the mom guilt!!) my marriage struggled because I was lost in finding myself and then I was stigmatized and abandoned by everyone but like three people for surviving it all the only ways I knew how.
And in the end, I offered apologies for any disrespect and opportunities for each person I love to meet the new me along the way and find restitution.
The people that love me and respect my journey celebrate my accomplishments with me; and those that don’t, don’t.
That’s what the stigma highlighted for me who has my back, and who really doesn’t.
The actions (or inactions) that people take with you will speak very clearly to you.
I noticed that people would rather see you “go away” then ever have to deal with acknowledging that they were shitty to you, or even to have to witness your struggle is too challenging for some.
If you are being stigmatized just know that it’s only hurt people who hurt people. Being stigmatized is equal to being abused and if someone is trying to hurt you like that… they must really be hurting inside.
Hurt people hurt people, that’s just a truth. I hurt people when I was hurting, we all do on some level- that’s why it is true.
Keep going on your journey, even if there is stigma, it will likely always be there… the world holds many hurt people.
Keep your chin up.
Don’t hurt people with your hurt, and move forward through all of the stigma and lack of understanding that the world has to offer.
Start looking at those who stigmatize you like bullies… hurting bullies and adjust your attitude and responses to that behaviour accordingly. Bullies often need boundaries.
Through the stigma, through it all… Love yourself first!
The exchange of vulnerability that I have to endure due to the current structure of the medical system is trauma inducing for me; every single time.
Every resource I need access to requires me to exchange vulnerable pieces of information in hopes of receiving the help that I have been begging the last year and a half to have access to might be what is hiding on the other side of this practitioner.
Its a referral gauntlet, an endless exchange of dignity for access to services.
As I alone, literally, dove into what my diagnosis meant for me and navigated my rights to choose the care I want to receive. I faced so many challenges and systematic obstacles to care. I fought them every way I knew how. Then when I was put down for fighting for my life I learned new ways to fight harder, louder and with more courage.
I had put the need to heal ahead of my former need to please everyone else first. I didn’t care what people thought of me anymore; I found the determination I needed when my health threatened my life.
I did the best, most self-defining, awakening work from the rock bottom of my “highly functioning” life.
I still have to exchange myself in unimaginable ways to obtain access to the care that I need to put my life back together to achieve full time health.
The emotional impact of needing this exchange has been devastating to my self worth- it was the high functioning part of me that actually saved my life.
It was my practiced ability to make sense of the nonsense and bring logic to the table as an option that many don’t even consider an option anymore that actually saved my life. Many people get caught up in the irony of ego and systematic structures rules for the sake of rules and traumatic intake processes for the sake of gaining access.
In the face of all of that I bring logic. Structured, fully processed logic as a personality trait and a trained trauma response all in one.
I can imagine what prostitution feels like, as I can liken the emotional process of giving over intimate pieces of yourself in exchange for something you absolutely need to survive.
Helplessness is the underlying feeling.
I have to give over every piece of me, endure emotionally invasive conversations that devastate me to the point of inducing my complex ptsd.
I am left alone after each encounter to pick up the pieces and reconcile the cost benefit of the exchange; which always feels like I get the short end of the stick when I spend the days after the appointments in a CPTSD fawning/ processing zone out from the adrenal crash coming down from the stress of the traumatizing interaction in my damaged adrenal processes.
What happens during these very vulnerable interactions is that I am forced to condense my very complex conditions into a 15 minute appointment that is mostly taken up with the practitioners questions. I leave feeling unheard, unseen and unable to access the abundance of care I need; due to structural reasons or staffing or wait times etc.
I have been a product of a series of unfortunate events, made more complex by the circumstances I endured rather that enhanced on the other side of the spectrum with the advantage of having parents who are healed or at least had found love for themselves as a baseline.
Following these very intense and often harmful conversations there is always a physical exam of some sort, and due to the nature of my pain and the condition of my body- it is often a thorough examination of my whole physical body including the inside of my vagina with poking and prodding at pain points in my uterus and around my ovaries from the inside of me; as they go through their trained modalities of intake for me to gain access to their care.
I exchange telling my trauma stories and full access to my body in exchange for access to care; then am left to process that emotional piece as well as the endurance of a breach of physical and emotional boundaries while I sit and wait for more access to the same kind of care often because the person I just saw needs to pass me along because I am so “complex”… so I get to wait for a specialist.
Or if I am really lucky, they do decide to take me on as a patient as part of my network of practitioners… So in order to follow this path with this specific practitioner I have do further exchange dignity for help. There is testing that they want done, or additional things that they would like from me to aide them in assisting me. It is its own form of torture and it becomes really challenging for me.
It initiates a trauma response for me on some level, every single time.
I exchange access to my whole being- emotionally and physically for access to care that I need to help myself save my life.
Talk about vulnerability.
This is the reality for people facing chronic illness. This is my reality as I attempt to gain access to medical support.
We exchange vulnerability for access, and get abused by the process along the way.
As I wait for the answer to the results of the meeting that determines if the medical care and treatment that was previously approved just in December is “still” approved and available to me I pick up the pieces of myself that are devastated that I am still having to beg for help from my insurance company at this stage of my healing process.
It has been a month since I have requested access to an approved practitioner to continue my care and continue to manage my medical conditions, and I am still waiting for another round of formal approval.
This is the way that people who live through insurance are forced to operate. It is absolutely cruel.
In order to get formal approval I have to exchange more personal information including them having access to my pelvic floor physiotherapist for her reports too- so they can read all about the progress my pelvic floor is experiencing get them a really clear picture of everything that is not really their business as insurance case managers who lack medical training or trauma informed training. Doctors are barely able to follow the complexity of my medical conditions with my help!!! But sure- here’s another form signing over access to every single piece of me…. Anything else I can do for YOU before you can open the gate to the care I need to survive?
Imagine as an adult having to ask permission to see your doctor, I don’t even have the right to book appointments with the practitioners that are part of my network of care without permission- Then being made to beg again for access to resources essential to my healing- that I had already fought for and had approved.
Help is on the way- but only once the process of me exchanging more dignity and allowing the insurance company that has the vice grip on the neck of my life even MORE access to the practitioners that I have been seeing on my own, and now the insurance company wants access to those practitioners too… the ones we pay for with everything we can spare (or sacrifice other things for) the ones that I have been waiting for independently for over a year- I have to fork over access to all of that too.
I have to jump through hoops and give over every single ounce of dignity and privacy that I have in order to continue to be approved. All while I suffer from the affects of the CPTSD and chronic pain that this type of fighting for my life create for me.
Then on top of it all; I have to have additional appointments with these valuable practitioners for paperwork before I can have access to them for my medical needs- it is absolutely a waste of my very precious energy, and theirs as well being inundated with paperwork for the sake of a process rather than using their time to help patients; seems a lot backwards to me.
It seems like the process’s needs go way before the patients needs here- and the process wins every single time- no matter what the known cost is to me and my body.
At what point do I get the grace to heal in safety with resources around me secure and available to me without me having to even ask?
When can I stop begging for access long enough to actually make progress?
How is it that I have to explain to the groups of people that are supporting me through this mess that I need to feel safe in order to continue healing, that when I don’t feel like I have authority over my life, or access to having my basic needs met as a human on an emotional level that I don’t really have a chance at getting better?
What does it take to survive this all?
Everything that I have. That is what I have given this battle.
Every ounce of energy. Every spare moment. Everything that I had at any given moment is given to this battle to survive.
I have spent nearly two years now figuring this all out. The progress I have seen for myself through this journey has been something that moves me to tears every single time I allow myself to think about the magnitude of my progress.
I am so grateful for my stubborn, or some might say determined nature.
I am grateful for the skills and education that my previous careers and life experiences have afforded me- because it was with those skills that I was able to find my way at least up from the rock bottom place I was left before all of this “help” arrived for me.
There were many many many days, weeks months of my life where it was only me who had me. I was the only one in my corner.
I think we all get like that sometimes, and it is in those moments that we are refined.
Those moments refine us; because they make us ask ourselves what it is that we really want.
What are you going to live for, like really live?
What does that look like for me?
From my bed I contemplated the answers, the real answers to all of these questions and any other questions that I had for myself.
This was the beginning of my journey to healing all of myself.
Prior to being forcibly removed from my life I had just been living in the façade that people are passing off as life these days. I was doing it, unconsciously and it took my life looking real bedridden-like for me to decide that I was going to be a more active part of my own solution.
I started to learn about myself in ways that I hadn’t really thought to learn about myself before.
Some might call it an existential crisis, and by definition they would be absolutely correct… but as far as existential crisis go, I faired pretty good, not bad… if I do say so myself. Considering of course that I like to expedite things, and the universe thinks she is funny- I got to do the existential crisis brought on my surgical medical trauma that triggered CPTSD from my childhood traumas all at once.
I decided I would live. Long before I knew I was curable, before I knew that I had a syndrome and not a disease.
When I found out I was curable was when I really took an even deeper dive into how to heal, what to do for myself as a whole to start seeing real tangible results in my healing progress.
I started with asking what and how I wanted to live the rest of my life.
Then I learned how to do each step as I went.
I did not know what I was doing, really. Only that I knew that I needed to wait, and that I was determined to make my waiting time as bed ridded free as I could. If I have the choice I will not spend the rest of my life in my bed.
It took me a long time to have enough energy to make it through the day without needing to rest. I still need to rest on really bad pain days- and I am even learning that if I rest BEFORE the point of exhaustion it serves me better than being totally depleted and trying to rejuvenate.
I had to learn about pacing for adrenal fatigue in order to learn how to exercise without hurting my body by putting it into an adrenal fatigue cycle.
I had to learn pain science to understand my diagnosis.
I had to learn about embodied trauma, generational trauma and Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in order to manage my medical conditions.
I had to learn about the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems to understand the central nervous system better to help me manage my conditions.
I have to understand biology enough to advocate for the areas that have been abused, I need to protect my organs that have been riddled with damage from over processing.
Turning ptsd into post traumatic growth is a battle that I will choose to stand for every single day.
I chose growth a long time ago, and now I have progress that looks and feels like a post traumatic life is mine for the living!
The endless practitioners, the appointments and the bullshit will always come and go. Focus on progress, and you’ll win every time!
The worlds’ population is unfortunately now experiencing what it is like to be in a consistent state of trauma, chaos and structural obstacles where they didn’t exist before.
Trauma is the true gateway to literally every choice we make. Many of us are making choices for ourselves based on old outdated information and ideas given to us by other people. Or there are also limits that we have created for ourselves out of traumatic experiences we have had.
The ways in which people have been limited and restricted in their lives as a result of covid or any other fear, produce the same feelings of isolation and abandonment grief and guilt or shame that all coincide with being chronically ill.
Navigating emotional growth is one of those things that isn’t typically taken very seriously by anyone; until it is part of saving themselves.
It is often a medical scare or some other form of near-miss or trauma that finally wakes a person up.
That’s how the story goes for me, and the majority of people that I talk to, and read about that have begun “the work”.
In the past, I had created amazing ways to manage my life and ensure that many things could happen simultaneously. Chaos of life; organized to “perfection”.
Looking back over the last few years of my life, and having made significant progress with “the work” … I can say with absolute confidence that my journey from trauma to post traumatic growth is worth every ounce of energy and effort it required.
There are many times where my trauma brain tried to convince me that I wasn’t worth the effort, and that I now know, is also part of the journey.
It’s being able to move through what used to take you down at the knees, that is post traumatic growth.
Anything that you are doing that helps is progress, and any progress at all contributes to post traumatic growth.
There is no room for self sabotage in post traumatic growth, old habits become used to’s and we learn to take comfort in newer healthier things that nourish our needs now, in this moment.
I keep finding these amazing beautiful pieces of myself pieces that I have always kept a little hidden in the shadows because I was told over and over in my life that I was too much.
I have been patiently working on myself and learning that being authentically me is the only way to bring to the feelings to the surface to heal and let healthy me shine through.
The thousands of pieces of myself that felt shattered on the floor have all turned into lessons that I have found and turned into wisdom. These pieces are profound for me as I have been successfully navigating post traumatic growth for some time now.
One piece at a time.
Over and over again; daily, for years, forever, as a lifestyle.
I created a post traumatic growth lifestyle for myself by picking up each piece of me, one by one by one, then utilizing every single skill and resource that I had available to me to put myself back together. I figured it out!
It’s rather complex to articulate, but here is my best effort.
The path to healing is through all of the things you are currently afraid of.
There is no magic pill, or anything like that. So if that is what you are after I will save you my wordy explanations and tell you sorry, this ain’t that.
This isn’t going to be easy. It wasn’t easy for me, my family or those I had to leave behind to grow.
It is hard, but well worth every ounce of effort, paid back to you in the fulfillment feeling you can achieve for your life, loves and legacy you are probably scared to create. I was!
I was scared of losing everything we had worked for. I even wrote it somewhere a thousand times or so in a journal. I was scared of the reality that I was creating right before my eyes.
When I began to observe myself I began to take note of the pieces of me that were facing the most obstacles.
It’s not until I recognized the patterns that I could trace them back to what I believed could be the why for those thoughts, feelings and experiences I was cycling within those patterns.
Once I had the observation I was able to then take a corrective action with myself by using my concept of helping vs hurting.
I observed and judged my situation based on my values, applied what I wanted to do better at, and made my trauma informed decision with all of the facts that I had, plus some research to make sure that I didn’t miss anything. (My ocd is so prominent when I write it out like this… superpower ocd!) I like to be super informed as the CEO of my life.
I make an excellent case for ocd because I over think for the purpose of over-delivery.
My pieces shattered all over the floor it provided opportunity. My life had already kind of imploded all over. My Symptoms were at an all time high due to the stresses that my medical issues placed on every relationship in my life, but most importantly the one I had with myself.
Things were not working so I decided to square one myself in lots of ways. It may have been over-whatever, that’s my style of chaos. I was comfortable there. With everything a mess I started from scratch, and stepped back on square one. I learned about emotions and energy, I learned until I felt confident again.
With all of this I was able to clearly see that I was having altered thought patterns and I shared all of this with people I loved.
As I began to do my work and shift for myself the people that I love were triggered by my trauma healing attempts in whatever ways my journey affected them.
Unfortunately it is often only when people feel triggered themselves that they feel any urgency around cleaning the air about the “pieces of you” that are bothering them.
When someone feels victimized they are unable to actually see that the “pieces of me” that they believe are about me that bother them are actually about the “pieces of them” that they need to bring the light to and find their own lessons. Anytime someone is triggered by you it is a reflection of a hurt inside of them; not you.
I was triggered by a plethora of scenarios that would have seemingly “rolled off my back” but the reality for me is that I hid lots of me to be accepted. I people pleased and left myself last in line for the love that I give so freely to everyone else.
I’ve been traumatized my whole life, and been learning ways to live with it in peace, and love.
We as a society do not respect mental health like we should and trauma is largely ignored, even though it is the root cause of nearly every single disease or syndrome of the central nervous system/ autoimmune system.
There has been no real education or advice that has become a known productive best practice for mental health support of loved ones who are attempting to navigate mental health, let alone getting them safely to post traumatic growth.
But there does come a point when you can start to blame someone for “trying” especially when their trying is blatantly ignorant to your expressed needs. Because no matter what as a human we need to have our expressed needs respected as a baseline. If someone doesn’t have the capacity to respect your needs they do not deserve space in your life. Every human deserves respect as a baseline no matter the relationship, anything less is hurting not helping.
It is when we start to love and respect our authentic selves that we can begin to look at those pieces and turn them into the wisdom that they are intended to be.
Those pieces that you are afraid to look at do not have to have control anymore fear doesn’t have power if you are not afraid. Those pieces only have power because they keep you afraid.
Everyone has pieces, let them be the lessons that turn into the wisdom that propel you forward.
People that I love screamed it at me “you need medication”. They voiced their personal opinions and shoulds that I should, in their opinions, adopt largely because they said so and not derived from anything except their personal opinion… relevant or not.
All while I was physically and emotionally slapping against the rockiest bottom that was my life because of the hormonal impacts my body was already facing because of the medicines I had been on for years.
Everyone has a plethora of unsolicited advice for you, then they typically ask if you are taking medicine, and suggest that you should.
No attempt at understanding but with conditions applied to unconditional love; spoiling it entirely. Followed by judgment and even more unsolicited advice and a reinforcement that I should consider medicine.
I have said this before, but I started my removal of Rx medicines when I was offered another Rx for the symptoms of the one I was on. Ummmm… I’m trying to get off of these it didn’t make sense to me that I was adding more.
Instead of taking a few moments to just be present, people provide unsolicited and really terrible mental health advice, or truly horrible advice that is not helpful and causes more emotional uncertainty for the person struggling.
I speak from personal experience when I say that this is hard to tolerate, especially from the people that you love.
This conversation makes the one struggling feel provoked, manipulated, and then being judged for “over” reacting when someone steps way out of their lane like that.
That is gaslighting in a nutshell. We live in a gaslighting society. Shame and gaslighting are common things people use on other people to try to control someone else’s behaviour.
People that I love tried to use gaslighting and manipulation tactics like isolation (abandonment, avoidance and a lack of inclusion) to try to manage me, like a child.
Have you ever felt “managed” by a group of people who don’t have a clue what you need?
That’s what managing a chronic illness feels like with everyone’s shitty advice about what you should be doing with zero regard for what you want or even need for that matter.
Take a moment to try out some empathy and try feeling how it might feel to receive those words when your body doesn’t give you that option.
I tried these medications; and they created the worst months of my life, the worst most horrific of my ptsd symptoms were when I was on medications. Those medications turned me into a walking zombie. I was the most unsure of myself physically and mentally ON those medications. So having people try and tell me that is the “way”, and argue without understanding is something that I didn’t realize I would need to navigate until I was already in it.
A piece of advice if you are supporting someone with Anything, but especially emotionally, before you make any suggestions, make sure you have taken the time to understand the facts of the situations that the person is facing.
In order to counsel someone; they must first WANT your advice. When I was talking to my friends, or my family was not seeking advice unless I directly ASKED for advice.
Any other time I was seeking comfort, support, and a witness to some anecdotes I found along the way. That is all. Support. Not advice! Definitely not prescription advice from someone who has never lived in a sensitive body or not taken a biology course since high school.
Since doctors aren’t trained in nutrition needs at all unless they decide to take the training, they didn’t know how to direct me to nutrition for my body to support my needs. None of them could! I asked every doctor I encountered.
I was shocked!
Are you taking your medicine? what medicines are you taking? those are always the first or near first questions on a medical intake form. All about Rx. Because your body becomes a lab for them to play with and adjust.
This is where me and my ultra sensitive traumatized body bowed out of the Rx experience. I had too much going on. I had to start fresh.
When I made that decision, I was not regarded as an adult. I was treated like a child by my peers and my family.
I had to learn to make my own “medicine” out of combining everything that made the most sense in chaos. I’ve been doing it for two years now and I think I have found the sweet spot for me. I like it here! I have my routine, and I use my routine to schedule my intentional healing practices and tasks.
I took webinars, online courses, attended summits, did my own internet research, talked to professionals, had group medical visits with pain specialists and chronic disease specialists, tried hundreds of brain exercises and mindfulness tools. And from my knowledge I gathered I created my personal healing journey framework.
I call them the daily 5. They are the things that you accomplish every single day for yourself and your life that fulfil your purpose and intentions.
Are you doing YOUR daily 5?
Are you meeting your baselines? Have you even established them for yourself?
Everyone wants to feel better but no one wants to put in the actual effort to account their goals.
I dug deep into the why of this whole scenario that people often find themselves replicating…. literally everyone finds ways to self sabotage. And we aren’t dumb… we are elaborate when it comes to hiding this truth from ourselves.
If I could rewind I would start asking people way earlier to let ME be the expert on me, so I would advocate for myself harder and with more authority even sooner.
I would also give myself this advice: Just love yourself first and meet in the middle with good intentions and less expectations all around… this is what cultivates love. ❤️
It was hard to acknowledge that my combined and complex traumatic lived experiences were the root causes of the issues that I was facing with my overall health today. That notion nearly broke me, and then became my greatest motivation.
This has been one of the most challenging parts of the journey for me. Being vulnerable enough to allow my emotions; even though those around me don’t understand and judge me. Stigmatize me, and even isolate me from community or family. Shame me for not choosing medicine, because the hard road is hard. It is the truth of it all for me at least.
My intention from the beginning was always to heal and grow, and I was blessed to find gratitude and to have the courage to peer into my own darkness to find the lessons to move forward.
The lesson that helped me recognize the level of participation required from me was when the medicine made me worse. Everything that is supposed to help made me worse.
So no; I am not taking your medicine!
My lifestyle changes have been solving my medical problems.
The healthiest thing is to live without prescriptions, especially neurological altering ones. An excellent doctor will use them only as a short term tool to help someone through the darkest of their darkness. They aren’t intended for long term use!
I chose lifestyle changes first, steady progress for the win!
Self love is the best medicine, it’s potent too… I’ve been dosing myself with acceptance and love.
It sounds a little off-putting, and it should, because it is and the worst part is that it is true.
This is a truth that we all have a difficult time accepting. We are all modified by lived our lives experiences, both good and bad and this does affect us on a genetic level. It affects our health and our overall wellness, cognitive functioning capacity… just your whole existence! It’s a big flipping deal!
If our lived experiences are mostly healthy our cells will have the ability to function properly.
But… If our lives experiences are riddled with trauma and adversity and left untouched it creates larger issues for people.
Unhealed Trauma and unprocessed emotions are energies that get trapped, and become stagnant. The chaos of it all closes down cells, and stops the regeneration of the cells; creating physical and mental health ailments.
How we experience the world has an impact on how our bodies regulate themselves, and what regulation is required, this information is given to us by the people that raised us. Then we don’t typically do anything with this information until we find ourselves in a pickle.
If you were taught that there wasn’t emotional comfort available, you may have been led to believe that it isn’t even possible in places where it is possible and even probably to create a healthy emotional connection.
This is all missed because of a belief that someone else gave you about the possibilities of your emotional expansion due to their own lack of emotional intelligence. You don’t know what you don’t know is what my coach says.
This belief that you create about the “impossibility” of anything being different than it was for you is quite limiting.
Quite frankly, it is probably sucking the life right out of your life.
You are just telling yourself that you “can’t”because you don’t want to learn something new. Or you are scared. That’s the truth of it.
Can you see the cycles that we keep ourselves in just because the people that raise us didn’t know any better?
It’s not your fault, but it is your responsibility to educate yourself beyond what your parents believed to be true. Reparenting yourself is the gateway to emotional adulthood, and if you haven’t done this work, you are probably missing opportunities to connect with people in meaningful ways… or feeling depressed, anxious or lonely. All of these emotional circumstances pile on and add stress to your body.
We as humans don’t learn our way out of an established habit, unless we have really good reason to. My reason was not wanting to live in my bed from this chronic pain / central nervous system condition I am facing- I want to be present for my children and husband, not from my bed.
The habits and things that we do for our existence every single day matter to your long term health. I’ve been learning and breaking cycles for years now.
Over time our cells change, for better or for worse. It is biology. But we can impact our cellular structures by changing our daily habits. You can remove trauma from running in the background of your body and then shift to a healthier state on a cellular level, which obviously translates to a healthier mind and body.
So, at the beginning of my journey with my naturopathic doctor we did some testing to give her the information she needs to help me best. We did two forms of testing, one lifestyle genetics, and one adrenal functions test.
Both show damage from stress hormones and the combination of medical issues I have encountered.
Both show that I am genetically modified by the combined affects of trauma as well as the circumstances derived from the coping mechanisms I used to get myself through stress.
My body has been genetically modified by trauma, and it is my job to regenerate my way back to health with my daily routines and habits and all of the knowledge behind it all I have been collecting for two years now. I’m excited to re-take these tests in a year to see the improvements I’ve made on a cellular level!
Compounding all of the good, and acceleration towards post traumatic growth as my lifestyle is the goal I have in mind.
Then I can genetically modify my cells back to healthy and functioning for as long as I can.
One body, one life, a million opportunities to do better today with a better tomorrow in mind.
Know better, do better… don’t stop that cycle of learning and you will find yourself, literally.
A routine that goes beyond the food and shelter necessities of life and extends into the purposeful use of creating whatever you desire for your life. For me, I wanted chronic wellness but I was “too busy”.
Most people stop at busy and just live there. Which is fine, if you are happily busy.
But when I think about how busy feels, I know that it is also unhealthy. This is because busy “controls” you. Because you are “busy” you allow more bad choices for yourself. Tell me I am wrong… those were EXACTLY my actions when I was letting busy control me.
Nothing to be ashamed of, nearly all people use busy as a reason to stay “stuck” unhealthy. The truth was though, that I lacked routine, on top of having underlying emotional issues and an eating disorder as well as my medical conditions on top of those things!
Once I established healthy routine for myself I began to see the changes more consistently because well… I was using my routine.
I needed some structure while being on disability to keep my mental health progress from slipping, and taking my physical health with it. Or vice versa depending on the hormone situation.
Routine kept me at least with intentions and learning focus for days when bed was my only option. My rest became active and purposeful with the routine I created.
This is what I came up with to keep it simple but effective for ME and my big plans for chronic wellness!
Set up Sunday. It is self explanatory. I set myself up for the week on Sundays. Meal planning, I check our family calendar and school emails to make sure that I plan my energy for extra activities. This 10-30 minutes saves hours of energy. Something as simple as just knowing what is coming helps eliminate energy obstacles.
My suggestion is to set yourself up for a better week with a little forethought.
I use Monday’s to take care of appointments and errands. If I have a project or a desire to do a “me” thing for my self care journey. I typically plan it for Monday. Me Monday is about taking time to appreciate yourself, in ways that you have been too busy to try before. Self care is not selfish. I have spent many Monday’s working through that lesson for myself by practicing and getting to know ME. Me Monday has been so helpful to my growth.
Hahaha! Yep that says see you next Tuesday well because it is true, and funny at the same time. Tuesday’s are for goal setting/ progress check in for me.
On this journey, you inevitably set goals and rise to challenges. Tuesday’s for me are the day that I take a few moments to review where I am at with progress and add any to -do’s to my weekly list.
Every Tuesday I check in, and my goals are achieved faster than ever with this practice!
Water Wednesday is the day where I typically get lazy with the fatigue of the mid week energy crash.
I give myself a break here on the physical output and just go back to basics. Water consumption is my focus on Wednesday.
Thorough Thursday is the day I tidy my house for the weekend, as well as attempt to tie up any loose ends from goal setting Tuesday for the week.
Fun Friday. Friday has always been my favourite day. So I like to make it fun. We typically will do date nights or mini adventures.
Adventure Saturday. Self explanatory. We try to have some kind of adventure on Saturday. Typically outside. Our family favourites include hiking, paddle boarding, cliff jumping and camping. We are all outdoor lovers!
Your story might not fall down the trauma rabbit hole as far as some do, and that is good news; and it doesn’t make your trauma or emotional hurt any less or be any less valid than anyone else’s.
Part of my journey has been figuring out how to articulate my lessons back to people struggling and this is what I developed so far as a starting point for anyone.
I set my intentions, ground and centre myself, look at my position and goals, make sure I am nourishing my body, complete a secondary check in, release it all with love, play and adventure before starting right back at setting intentions. That is the routine to follow for your own self love journey!
Love yourself first, establish a routine that encourages you to grow forward!
You need to make a choice first and foremost. Do you want to change? Or do you want to stay the same?
Uncertainty breeds anxiety and anxiety creates fear that isn’t helpful.
Make a choice.
Do you want to really live?
Do you want to breed anxiety and CREATE fear in yourself until you eventually die?
The choice is obvious to me, I want to live!
I had the advantage of having already been in a deep dive of my mental health; a forensic examination of myself when the pandemic was first announced.
I had already decided that I was going to live!!! Especially IF (it was an if when I began) I was going to be made to live most of my life from my bed… I was going to live!
I was going to figure out how to live whatever I have left happy- because I knew that I needed nothing more than was available to me in my four walls! More than anything else I want to be an amazing mama!
I was angry and pissed off at the world for taking my life as I knew it from me at first..,, but by the time the pandemic started I was already in it and learning… and in many ways the pandemic has afforded me the opportunity to see the broad scale of human emotions and how everyone’s capabilities are affected in crisis in others on a larger scale.
It made me feel less alone. My awareness of my own processing has literally what helped me adapt as I went.
I adopted the concept of asking myself if actions I was about to take were serving me.
For a while, while I was first learning my way through living alongside my CPTSD, I was using a forced thinking pattern to “watch” my thoughts.
What I would do is: at a decision point I would consciously stop and ask myself… “is this hurting or helping?”
That was the language I used with myself. “Is this hurting or helping?” Just that question. Is this hurting or helping?
Then I would decide what service the action was taking, if any.
Then, from there I would decide what action I was taking; with all of the information.
If I made an informed decision to do something I acknowledged was harmful- I acknowledged that it was a coping behaviour and allowed some of it at first while I was first navigating. It’s amazing how much simply being aware of coping behaviours makes them so much less desirable!
I began to find more ways to help than to hurt- and I had the benefit of feeling the difference of what a lack of self sabotage can feel like.
I actually got to witness in the world around me, in real time the shift in the people around me from their own personal “balanced” demeanour; to one filled with fear however fear presented for them as the pandemic wave of fear overtook many anxiety sufferers, and created new anxieties for those who haven’t experienced it before.
It was informative to experience people around me experiencing and coping with post trauma/ active trauma stress cycles.
I experienced in myself the benefits of the self help/ health work I had already started.
During change or uncertainty there will be instability during calibration of the new circumstances always.
Change feels unsafe. Any kind of change. The brain is wired to resist change and find comfort because change is “scary”. The human brain can make anything scary!
Agoraphobia is a real thing that affects humans! It is the fear of being unsafe outside of the home- and resisting leaving home for any reason. To the majority of the population, this seems silly and irrational, but to a person with this condition- outside is life threatening. They believe it so much that dressing to go out can give them physical illness symptoms from the anxiety alone. Agoraphobia is an extreme example of an anxiety- but anxiety does create physical symptoms.
Physical symptoms created by anxiety/ depression cause real chemical reactions with real hormones being released into your system. Your physical body can not always tell what is anxiety and what is real – a stress hormone cascade is a stress hormone cascade. Same adrenal impact! Same emotional responses.
The mind is a powerful tool that impacts how the body responds. Awareness is the first secret to learning the craft of the tool. Mindfulness is the craft.
Mindfulness practices reduce anxiety and depression- which lightens the load of any illness and can heal central nervous system related symptoms.
I brought awareness first. Spent some time asking myself if things were hurting or helping me. Introduced more mindfulness techniques as I went, but in the beginning I really focused on my helping or hurting concept.
What I noticed as I was climbing out from rock bottom, is that the more awareness I found for myself…. the more I realized that people in general are not aware of themselves.
The pandemic has been a time of growth and reflection for me personally… but so was the year leading up to it and every year of my life preceding these ones. I am a growth focused individual. Progress and growth drive me, always has. (I’ve sloughed off the need for perfection so progress comes faster than ever)!
I have learned that people who have never chosen any form of self help are not even aware of their thoughts. They don’t recognize the patterns that they live in that are not helping or serving them in any way!
The choice is yours to make. Change or stay the same. The simple act of allowing awareness of your thoughts, and asking if your actions are hurting or helping you will bring you awareness of your thoughts.
I needed to change to stay out of my bed. You can choose to change and not do the whole rock bottom thing.
Awareness is where you begin, and hurting or helping was how I expedited understanding what I was doing and how it impacted my life.
What I noticed so much about myself by doing this, I simply welcomed awareness.