Identity Confusion

Identity Confusion

The strangeness surrounding the CoVID19 Pandemic stole my identity.

At present, my inability to do the job I love to do, has me feeling like someone robbed me of who I am at my core.

 

There’s a mental/emotional roller coaster to grief.

To change.

To face yourself everyday in the same situation, one you resent, one you despise.

 

Part of me died when this pandemic hit. At least that’s how it’s felt. The part that’s been running with a lit torch of my own truth and knowledge for years. 

In my late 20s, I sunk my teeth into the holistic world and became a bodyworker and practitioner of movement to aid in pain relief. This became the forefront of my life. 

I believed I had purpose. To heal myself. To heal other people of chronic, debilitating pain. If I had this path and a calling, all my suffering had a purpose too, bringing me into a holistic world to what I've found to be true with others. If I could even change the life of one other person for the better, using my knowledge and skills to help stretch people out of pain, any suffering I experienced that led me to this road was worth it. If I could help other people out of their pain, chronic and acute, I believed I could better cope with my own pain. It didn’t matter how I felt, if I could put all of my efforts and energy into helping others. I consider this one job, helping people out of pain, my universal calling. Or at least I had, until April of 2020. 

Healing. Connection. Purpose. 

These three aspects of my everyday where the foundation I’d built my self worth on. Through Connective Tissue bodywork I was able to find a way to use my time with meaning and help others. One solitary goal, filled my vision - to help people feel better in their bodies (through touch.) 

As an extrovert, I loved the everyday conversations and raport I built with people. Through my career as a bodyworker, I’ve cultivated more meaningful relationships and a vast network of trustworthy natural healers.

However, the past month has me feeling like I don’t know who I am anymore. I have been forced to take a break from bodywork, both giving and receiving a regular dose of healing. Any practitioner who works face to face with clients was put on pause for the month of April in Colorado. I know I wasn’t then, and am not now, alone. 

As I head back into the workplace in a trickle, like the drip of a faucet, to avoid stirring the pot further, I am feeling my own thoughts and energy with unobstructed time. 

The past month has shown me how much I relied on the approval and validation of others to get through my every day. Why I worked tirelessly 6 days a week to feel worthy of the praise I’d received for working hard as an employee, or studying to find the best movements for my clients.

I’m not as kind to myself as I am to other people. I do believe you should treat others how you want to be treated, no matter what monsters live inside your own head. I try to treat each person I come in contact with like a dear relative or my best friend’s mother. I want to approach them with love and reverence for where they are in their journey. It’s an insane struggle to do the same for myself, but why? Am I constantly over producing in productivity simply to feel like enough? What does it mean to be enough just as I am? Once I’ve stripped away career titles, sarcasm, and the fact faucet that is my brain’s ability to retain knowledge. This break from me constantly using other people’s praise as validation has given me space to ask these questions.

Storms, voices, doubt, fear all swirl inside me and meld with my vision to cloud what I see.

I’ve had instances of reverting to old patterns of useless beliefs that I thought I’d worked through and I know are tied to trauma from my past. Feelings of worthlessness, unwantedness, being burdensome, and loneliness. Without the constant trickle of praise from others, I began to believe the formerly hushed voices that now seem louder than the outside world. 

I’m grateful my journey has allowed me enough self awareness to be able to label my current state of being. 

I am grieving. As are we all. 

I know I will work through the confusion in my psyche without a complete meltdown, but the potential is there. Some days I have a hard time getting out of bed. Some days the heaviness of the entire experience weigh so much that I cry for hours. The negative effects of being upset in addition to exponential stress have me spiking in my interstitial cystitis like symptoms, new and old alike. I must admit that even with the stress, it’s been worse. Which means I’m still healing. If I can be healing from that, there’s still hope

How to move forward? I have to find solace in myself. I have to believe I’m enough, simply being. Trust me, I know how hard this is. Even typing that out my brain wants to pick it apart and fight the very notion.

I don’t have the answers apples. I only have my own experience and the challenges that threaten to break me. Writing “I am resilient” on a sticky note and placing it on my bathroom mirror is my first step in reclaiming my mind as my own space. It’s a journey toward creating a sanctuary within myself.

Soon, I’ll return to the workplace. It will be different. It feels scary. All I can do is trust that I’ll keep breathing. Trust that my life still has value and meaning. Trust that I have the knowledge I need to take care of my immune system, my mental health and my body. I have worth. I am enough.

Apple Out,

K Sullivan



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