I have been struggling with body image issues since I was a little girl. I always remember my mom saying things like, “I am not skinny enough” and “This dress makes me look fat.” I grew up trying to make myself skinny enough and not […]
A Tale Of Self Destruction
Emotion. I eat.
Boredom. I eat.
Denial. I eat.
A web of inflammation weaves its way through my tissue connections, starting viscerally and ever expanding.
Pain. I eat.
Sorrow. I eat.
Stress. I eat.
Joy. I eat.
As night drags on, I thrash around my bed, unable to calm the ever growing bloated belly.
Fear. I eat.
Desire. I eat.
Disappointment. I eat.
Envy. I eat.
Disconnection. I eat.
I swear to myself I will never do this again, as I use visualization to push past the anxious thoughts of my insides exploding from the food trauma I've caused.
Awake. I eat.
Avoid. I eat.
The cycle begins again. A failed experiment in will power each and every time. By the end of every day, my will power battery has drained and the "fuck it, just one more bite" monster resumes his control of my hand to mouth.
Fullness. I eat.
Side effects include: gut pain, indigestion, bloating, gas, a sharp drop in self esteem, and a gradual uptick on the scale. There was a time I had this situation under better control. I loved myself enough to know when to stop. I wasn't ruled by hand to mouth. The more disappointed I am in myself, the more the cycle repeats.
I know what I must do. Power through and rewrite the hand to mouth montage I let myself revert too. This year's been extra challenging when it comes to self care. I've been more successful at self destruction and slipping into old patterns.
I know it's not about being perfect all the time, but boy oh boy do I struggle at giving myself grace when I fall off that "I'm going places and accomplishing my goals wagon."
I rolled around in self pity and denial long enough. Time to chase that sucker down and take over the drive seat.
What cycles of over indulgence are you trying to break?
For me, this is one of many, but I know when I regain my self control over food I feel better and it's one that really affects me negatively physically and mentally. If I tackle this, it frees up bandwidth for me to address other points where I'm lacking adequate self love and need better habits.
I think my whole system is in shock.
I know in some crevice of myself I need to talk about what’s happening to our world with this COVID19 "panic" pandemic, however “where to start” and “what to say” feels like speaking a foreign language.
I’m no expert on viruses, their impact, or the human immune system. I’m just a lady with a history of trying to heal myself from autoimmune chronic illness, integrate years of trauma, and discover comfort in my only body. I’m capable of research and I spend my time learning how to heal these different aspects of myself and other people.
That being said, an area I obsess about is language. I’m also driven by perfectionism, anxiety, and OCD. How to cope with who I am in the midst of so much global turmoil, has me reverting back to a very distant land of dissociation. I’m clawing my way back to my body, refueling on my purpose, and trying not to be absorbed into the panic of a pandemic.
What I’ve noticed most is the seemingly vague, ambiguous wording surrounding the current state of our health crisis. Working in a natural healing public sphere, I don’t know how to talk to my clients about what we are all going through. I’ve noticed others as well dancing around terminology in regards to our current circumstances.
“What strange times...”
“Interesting human experience...”
“Our current, unique health situation...”
How do we discern the severity of a matter with watered down descriptions as our guide?
We are at war with something we cannot see and we cannot touch, and it’s killing members of the human community.
To me, it feels like nobody is calling it what it is, and it’s absolutely terrifying. Our lack of understanding about viruses in the lay population, combined with our middle class or impoverished population, meets the “I’m gonna do me” mental state so many of us have adapted as a culture. We are left with confusion, fear and isolation; all together -forced by our current crisis and our own self-imposed, pre-crisis, ‘yolo’ mindset.
It certainly is strange, not the crisis I mean, calling it that because that is exactly how I see it. It is strange how we’re reacting to a global health pandemic we’ve never seen before. You can almost see the black and deep purple edging of PTSD blanketing the world and all of our psyches. We are going to come out of this experience changed, permanently.
What really revs my engine is the fact that it took this for us to have awareness of how an illness can affect the entire world. Going to work, events, and other outings sick - no matter what level or type of sick - puts everyone at risk, including ourselves. There’s plenty of people in our population that require special treatment due to their weakened system. How many people have already been labeled diseased? If each of us owned caring for each of our individual body as a number one priority, my how the world would change. My hope would be that we change for the better. Maybe we can learn to respect ourselves, love our bodies and nourish them in healthy ways.
Maybe we can de-clutter our personal lives and our relationships and our self loathing tendencies.
Maybe we can reconnect with old friends and virtually engage with family near and far.
Maybe we can rethink our health for our mental and physical selves.
Maybe we can find our individual purposes in new light, allowing each of us to impact and uplift humanity.
Maybe we will revisit this “I’m going to do me, and shit on everybody else mindset.”
Lets get to a place where we understand that we are all humans. We all have needs for safety, security, shelter, community, and love. We are designed for connection, I hope we can cultivate more of what that means during this trying time.
The only honest thing I hear from everyone consistently right now, as of March 29th, 2020, is this:
“It’s going to get worse, before it gets better.”
Maybe the “gets better” starts now, with each of us choosing to do what we can to shed light back into our individual selves and immediate communities.
I spent too much time numb to this experience already. I am afraid, but more than afraid, I’m determined. I want to be smart with my time. I want to honor my purpose and paint it in new colors. I want to wash away what’s nagging and dragging me down. I am steadfast in my decision to be more creative and further develop my skills as well as understanding of how to heal a human.
We are a resilient species. We will win this war on COVID19.
You could ask almost any dietitians, nutritionists, naturopaths, urologists, doctors, and other holistic healers what their number one recommendation would be for combating any auto-immune disease and most would recommend a clean lifestyle to optimize health. By that I mean eating fruits, veggies and meats […]
Stress can be the catalyst that breaks you. How do you check yours?
I thought I had it under control. I didn’t think I was letting it take over my body or my life. Turns out I was stifling and stuffing all along.
Stress will kill you much faster than you’d choose to die.
I see it in my work and in myself. July of 2018 was hell for me. My significant other was out of town and our home had an infestation of bed bugs. I didn’t cry or have a melt down; I did however crash with a weird visual migraine half blind, half aching, that numbed my entire left arm - it lasted 24 hours.
There are always physical implications of unchecked stress.
Seeking a source of chronic pain in the body can be like sifting through sand looking for a flawed grain. How do you know what the problem causers are? Is it habits? Repetitive motion? Injury? Illness? Food? Lifestyle choices? Relationships? Not having boundaries?
It’s all of the above and more. It’s Stress. The hormones that are released into our systems in times of high stress can help us overcome it, in acute situations. Chronic stress has physical implications on the body. It can affect the body systematically and bring with it havoc and mayhem in the form of discomfort or pain. It’s a tool that if left unchecked can create a toxic reaction. At the wrong time with too much stress it can change your chemistry, for our tiny humans - this can be detrimental to their growth but for those of us who are grown, it can leave you in a place of chronic pain or diseases.
For me, anxiety builds stress, and vice versa. I've spent years stuck in a cycle of stress that I'm finally working towards breaking.
How I combat Stress and Anxiety:
- Self care is important. I act like my own parent(which can lead to arguing with myself), if I would want my spouse or child to behave in a certain way, that is exactly how I tell myself to do something. I focus on building good habits and the long term reward over instant gratification.
- Goal setting, I stick with priorities and adjust as needed. It’s always a challenge to hold myself accountable. Maybe it is strong will power, but I believe that to be a limited resource. It’s more about revisiting the goal and keeping it top of mind. I allow myself to want it more than I'm scared of it so it's a driving factor not an inhibitor.
- Breathing; we all need air! Breath in long, deep diaphragmatic breaths daily. Hold breath for a few seconds, ¼ length of the inhale, then exhale twice the length of the inhale. I know I need to work on this more, because oxygen is necessary; however, sometimes breathing brings awareness to an area that needs work and that can be frustrating. There's lots of breath work options available. Try out priming (it's helping me overcome anxiety surrounding exercise).
- Acupuncture, acupressure, massage, Rossiter stretching, Yamuna body rolling, functional fitness training, bodywork, tension release, fascia management, infrared sauna, detox bathing, journaling...(ect). These tools are not used daily, but as often as I can remember to use them depending on where I’m at in my cycle, my autoimmune flares, and my mental state.
- Meditation - to adjust the mental state and not just mindfulness, find the type that works for you. I like autogenic training because to me it works like self hypnosis, where I found myself fighting, judging, and loathing mindfulness or breathing meditation, something about autogenic seems to work best for my mind. I also focus on thought fasting, what's one thought or belief I'd like to instill, I set a timer and continue to bring my awareness to that one thing for a short duration, 5-10 minutes.
- Exercise - though difficult with chronic pain or mental barriers, still doable. Try something new until you find something you like and believe you can be successful at. Find a trainer to check into your body and form. I am a fitness trainer and yet I still have a professional train me on functional movement. I’d encourage everyone to try functional training as it’s injury prevention. I built up core strength and stability using foam rolling actively. Yamuna body rolling allows me to stretch like yoga while participating in weight bearing exercise. Running had to go because it had a negative impact on my pelvic floor, my gait and my joints but walking is magic.
- Realistic to do lists and expectations. SMART goal setting is crucial. Time blocking is necessary. This one is the most challenging. I try to meet myself where I’m at. Meaning, if it’s a high pain day, the bare minimum for survival is necessary. Know you’re not where you want to be and that’s okay. Everything in life is a practice and any task you take on doesn’t get easier, you get better at it with continual practice and time. If you maintain a beginner's mindset and choose the life of a learner there’s always answers to seek, solutions available and avenues unexplored. Stress is inevitable, how you cope and react can change.
- I'm also working on cultivating a better spiritual practice. For me that means finding people to discuss my concerns and ideas with as well as reading literature that supports my pursuits for head space and a religious purpose.
Growth is hard, and effort doesn’t come easy.
I always believe in each human and their potential.
The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity
by Burke Harris, Nadine