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What does the beginning of the healing journey look like?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Ann Miller, Jan 20, 2022.

  1. Ann Miller

    Ann Miller Well known member

    You’ve read the books and heard it said that “everyone heals differently.” Still, as you start on your own path toward healing, you can’t help wondering…is this right? Is this how it’s supposed to go? Wait, my symptoms are getting worse; am I on the wrong path?

    Those of us who have been pain free for a period of time tend to forget or gloss over the beginning of the journey, those first few months of diving into a recovery program. When we tell our stories, we tend to focus on all the horrible symptoms and diagnoses that we have had through the years and then how great it is to be free from chronic pain without a lot of talk about what we were experiencing in the middle. It’s like a set of “before” and “after” photos with no record of all the steps in between. Let me rectify this by sharing my first year or so with you, as best as I remember it. And yes, I will remind you that everyone is different. However, I think my experience is illustrative.

    Let me begin by saying that I employed two methods to get out of pain. I journaled/meditated daily and I did somatic tracking. At first, my symptoms went absolutely bananas. Moving all around, firing old spots, creating new ones. It was NOT pleasant. I absolutely did not like the symptoms. I absolutely wanted them gone. AND it was absolutely proof that EMOTIONS were at the root of all my many symptoms, because it was when I started the emotional excavation that they flared up and shifted. While I was sad that I was seeing old annoying symptoms, it was actually really great to have such concrete proof. This stage of shifting symptoms lasted several months… that’s right…several months of DAILY journaling/meditating and somatic tracking. Some days were quite good symptom wise, others were not. I had a pretty good attitude as I look back. Yes, I was anxious to get out of pain. But I also admitted to myself that I had been stuffing my emotions for YEARS! It was going to take a while to unravel them. I continued with the energy of wanting it to work but patiently waiting. Not frantic…patient.

    Depression. About six months in I hit a depressive stage. I remember a particularly dark day when my husband called me “to check in,” and asked me what I was doing that day. You know, small talk. And instead of answering in a breezy, business way, I said the truth as I saw it. “I'm going to feel my feelings, cry, stare out the window, try to work, cry some more, and realize how small I am.” He didn’t quite know what to say to that. Here’s the thing, though, somewhere in me, I realized that I had a lot of tears stored up. I had been betrayed as a child and again as an adult and I had forced myself to get “over it.” Perhaps, I just needed to be sad. For days. And so I was. For once in my life, I just sat where I was and didn’t move to fix it or change it. The depressive stage lasted a couple of months, and then, just as it had descended, it lifted. I have had no other depression in doing this work. The episode has made me a more compassionate person to those who suffer the depression of trapped tears daily.

    During the depression, my physical symptoms were getting progressively better. I remember thinking that it was a horrible trade off. And wondering if I’d ever be both pain free and joyful. I kept going with my journaling, but I consulted a mind/body coach. She was so helpful in putting patterns together for me and it was great to just share what I was going through with another soul who had been there. I made great leaps in my emotional world after coming through the depressive stage, and it quite literally felt like pieces to my inner puzzle were just falling into place. Sometimes, randomly, out of the blue, I would just get an “ah-ha” moment. They took my breath away. I started to really appreciate the incredible human that I am. It sounds so corny, but I started to see myself differently…with more compassion, yes, but also with admiration. I started to view myself as three dimensional, a woman capable of great love, fierce protectiveness, and complicated passionate emotions. (Quite a stretch from the stoic, always calm, sort of flat woman who started this work) By this time my symptoms were nearly completely resolved.

    Nine months and later. During this time, I started to back off journaling, only using it a couple of times a week. I started to look at stressful relationships that kept popping up in the journal and worked to change them. I’m a people pleaser (also known as co-dependent) so work around that and boundary setting entered into my realm. The more often I set a reasonable boundary and showed up FOR myself, instead of betraying myself, the better I physically felt. This period of self discovery continues to present day, 3+ years later. I hope that I never lose this self-reflecting, self-knowing, self-loving super power. My brain is utterly fascinating and I’m never bored with life. Yes, I’m one of those people who can honestly say that I am grateful for the pain. You can be too!
    Cactusflower and hawaii_five0 like this.
  2. fridaynotes

    fridaynotes Well known member

    Thank you~ this was just the right medicine to read today!
  3. Ann Miller

    Ann Miller Well known member

    You’re very welcome!

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