you know how when you decide you finally want to work out and get in shape, you dedicate like 3 days of hard work and think you should have abs already? (ha, well i did) i finally realized that this is what i was doing with my healing journey for a long time. knowing what I needed to do and actually DOING it are two very different things. we are SO stuck in our ways, comfortable (even with our pain), that we continue our patterns and behaviors year after year, over and over8230;frustrated when we receive the same outcome. until we finally decide we are exhausted. and only WE can decide when that time is. someone can recommend all the books, podcasts, workouts, diets8230;and you still might not be ready. you might read this, and it might not resonate, and that8217;s ok! i just hope it helps even one person feel less alone.
the problem is, we have to get comfortable with the UNCOMFORTABLE. accepting parts of ourselves we have tried so desperately to stuff down and hide. we have to actually feel the pain that we8217;ve experienced in our lives, that we don8217;t even realize are completely running the show. we have to start to listen to our bodies when we get overwhelmed with emotion and we feel tense and scared and anxious and sad8230;instead of just numbing those with food, alcohol, shopping, working, relationships8230;really feeling it fully. that8217;s the only way they will go away for good.
it8217;s uncomfortable (VERY), and people have a hard time with that. i know i did! but there was a little voice inside of me that started to become stronger. i started to finally see results, and was able to experience real JOY. and after a lot of hurt, anxiety, trauma, resentment, shame, and guilt8230;JOY is something you do not want to stop searching for. get addicted to joy! once you commit yourself to actually healing those dark corners and really living your life with more peace (and i really think i am only 50% there!) it all feels so much easier. lighter. more manageable. because life is already hard, but it doesn8217;t have to be that hard.
i wrote this first post a few months ago when i started to truly break through and find my true self. (which you will see feels a lot like a younger, innocent you. for me that was building forts with so much excitement, climbing trees without a worry in the world, picking cherries off the tree at my grandparent8217;s farm, riding my bike to school and feeling the warm wind rushing over my body.)
now i feel excited to share PART 2 (and it8217;s LONG but stick with me, ok?). i want these posts to be a place you can come back to if you are on that edge with yourself and need support, need resources, need to feel understood. a place that will inspire people, encourage healing, and ultimately bring people back to their own pure joy (because i really believe we all have that inside of us! it just feels harder to access the more pain you have endured).
last note before i start. sometimes it can feel over the top (i have struggled with it feeling self indulgent) to read all these books, spend time and money going to therapy and meditation and working out. it can feel endless and exhausting when framed the wrong way. i want to remind you that even the smallest changes (cooking a meal and focusing on mindfulness, or meditating 5 mins in the morning, or quickly writing down something you are grateful for that day) will start to SHIFT your mind. out of your old patterns and into a new place. don8217;t allow that part of yourself that wants to keep you in pain to discourage you.
believe me, i was a person that watched tons of reality tv, never read books, didn8217;t really workout, ate badly, drank too many nights a week, had co-dependent relationships, had little boundaries, avoidance issues, i was a workaholic8230;.i tried all the ways to hide from my pain. it was a slow shift, and will probably change for the rest of my life, but i promise if you start small you will see results!! haha, man, i sound like a motivational speaker, but i guess i just have to be ok with that.
and remember, this is just MY journey. we all have such different lives. we all feel and experience pain differently. i never want to come off as a know it all, or arrogant, or like i have it all figured out. because i most certainly don8217;t. but i also know the changes i have felt are too big not to share and start concersations around! nothing but love for you all!!!
ok let8217;s start with a helpful tip that changed the game for me. having a library card allows you to use apps like Libby, Hoopla and Kanopy to rent FREE books, audio books, and movies. you can literally take yourself back to school, for free! (my husband calls my kindle my pacifier haha) i really encourage this because something that i want to address is that sometimes it can feel really overwhelming and EXPENSIVE to do all of this. but it really doesn8217;t have to be. and resources like this really take away our own excuses. they are free and available to everyone. if you don8217;t have time to read a book? listen to an audio book while you drive to work. you will want to start prioritizing your time to feel better. because when we feel better, everyone around us benefits too.
a few months ago i finally had the guts to talk about my own PTSD experience (i have a highlight called PTSD on my profile if you want to check it out) in short, i was sexually abused as a 3 year old. i told my mom and she reported it. unfortunately i had to go to a hospital for a week by myself. i wasn8217;t allowed to have my parents there (i guess to encourage my opinion? i still don8217;t really understand how that was allowed) so although i don8217;t remember being there, my body does. around 12 years old i started getting flashbacks of the abuse. little flashes that didn8217;t make sense. they felt like sexual dreams that i couldn8217;t understand. after a while, i was able to ask my mom one day 8220;did something bad happen to me when i was younger?8221; i remember her shocked face i don8217;t think my mom wanted any of it to be true, and obviously it8217;s too difficult to explain to a 3 year old what was going on. so it was just not discussed, until then. and even then, she didn8217;t have all the facts, she had a very disturbing memory of what i told her, i had my own blurry memories of sexual boundaries being crossed. and i had a ton of fear STUCK in my body.
i spent a LOT of years trying to push that away, telling myself things like 8220;well, you don8217;t really know if it happened so just forget it.8221; or 8220;people have had waaaay worse, they remember their experience fully!8221; or 8220;it8217;s in the past, move on.8221; as nice as that would be, it doesn8217;t really work like that. as i got older i developed a HUGE fear of any doctor. i didn8217;t want to be around anyone in scrubs, if there wasn8217;t a window in the office i felt like my skin was crawling, even the cotton balls would send my heart rate over the edge. a simple checkup became something that i was so deathly afraid of. and mostly, i could avoid the doctor! but i couldn8217;t avoid how my wrists felt sensitive and i felt the need to hide them, or how someone brushing their teeth aggressively reminded me of that time. the mind is WILD. it stores it all.
finally i started to inform myself. instead of continuing to invalidate myself and try to white knuckle through life, i wanted to learn why i was feeling this way, my whole life. these 4 books were INCREDIBLY HELPFUL. they gave me science, research, FACTS. they taught me about how our brain develops as a young child and finally i felt goosebumps all over while reading it. each page was resonating with me, and it was amazing.
i started EMDR therapy around the same time. somatic experiencing and EMDR is basically about FEELING those body sensations that come up when you are triggered and rewiring your behavior in the present. rewiring your brain and your reactions to fit the present moment. reminding yourself that you are safe NOW and that these are old sensations. these are old survival/coping mechanisms that your body is using, that may not be necessary anymore. they might even be creating more problems. but it8217;s all about really learning to thank your body. be grateful for these 8220;tips.8221; learn from them where you need to focus on healing. now when i feel that terrified/stuck/can8217;t breathe/hot/rushing feeling, i just say 8220;thank you8221;. i say 8220;thank you for trying to protect me, and sending me a signal. i don8217;t need it right now, but i appreciate the help.8221; and knowing that if you DO need it, it will be right there for you. this is pure science, and once i read these books and started doing this, WOWOWOWOW, was i blown away!
DOCTOR PHOBIAS: as someone who couldn8217;t step foot in the doctor/dentist/gyno office without having a complete emotional meltdown. i didn8217;t even get my blood drawn until two years ago. i can proudly say that i8217;ve had an IV, i8217;ve gone to the dentist twice, i8217;ve scheduled regualr checkups for moles, gyno etc. i am a freaking champion now! do i still worry? yes, and that8217;s ok. but i was level 10000 and now it8217;s 10% and manageable. i take myself out for ice cream after it8217;s so liberating to not feel that anxiety anymore.
TRAVEL ANXIETY: i also had divorced parents (from birth) who lived across the country and i frequently flew by myself, on standby, from a very young age. i have a lot of memories of being in the airport alone feeling scared or like i wouldn8217;t hear my name being called. or like i was going to get lost or in trouble. this caused me to become hyper vigilant as an adult. i had to show up very early to the airport. hold the boarding pass tightly. check gate 50 times. not calm until i landed at my destination. constantly scanning for danger of strangers. i was zero chill (and that8217;s not fun to travel with) i also didn8217;t want to make others uncomfortable so i would stuff it all in and try as hard as i could to put on a happy face. it was a nightmare! and i traveled all the time! i have started to understand that while traveling is stressful for most people, it didn8217;t have to be like THAT. i needed to unload those old feelings.
HEALING GENERATIONAL TRAUMA: this one is a bit tricky because i want to protect the feelings of people in my family. but it8217;s also an important topic. once i started to uncover this stuff and become more aware of where my pain was stemming from, i realized where all of my anger was coming from. the anger then turned into sadness and mourning. and then, shifted slowly to compassion and forgiveness. this is BIG and i am just at the beginning of it all in the past year. i remember last year justin said to me as we hiked machu picchu, 8220;i feel like you need to work on forgiving your parents.8221; i was so PISSED that he would say that. he didn8217;t know how i felt. where is the justice in forgiving someone that isn8217;t sorry?! i couldn8217;t grasp it. and somedays i still can8217;t, but i am getting there.
i started to see patterns in my family. pain and strict beliefs that were recycled through generations. i started to look at my parents as humans. i started to be able to enjoy their positive qualities and not focus as much on my pain. i shifted my perspective. just because you8217;re a parent, doesn8217;t mean you KNOW IT ALL. my parents and grandparents (and i am sure beyond that) had wounds that weren8217;t properly dealt with or healed, i believe. in their needs not being met, i think there were some of mine that were neglected entirely.
there is a group of people that have this mentality of 8220;oh get over it, you had food and a home and you8217;re fine.8221; i don8217;t agree at all. feeling unseen as a sensitive child can have lasting effects on your self worth and self esteem. parents that project their own pain onto their children and don8217;t have boundaries can do a lot of damage. parents that don8217;t really LISTEN to what their kids are feeling and just assume they know best, are hurting their children. we look up to our parents for guidance and safety, and sometimes they are just not the ones that know HOW to provide that.
but i8217;m on the other end of that, and starting to see8230;people are doing their best, with the level of awareness they have. and sometimes they fail. although certain things weren8217;t fair or deserved8230;i can8217;t let them run my life anymore. i can find friends, partners, community and myself to make me feel validated and heard. i can heal those wounds on my own and do my BEST to not pass on the pain i felt as a child with severe anxiety/anger/fear. breaking generational trauma, i believe in it, and i think we are moving in that direction as a collective and that gives me a lot of hope for the future.
we can hear the words 8220;live in the present8221; a million times, and still not do it. i know i was completely stuck in the pain of the past (depression) and the worry of the future (anxiety). the present moment would peek through here and there, briefly. i could feel it when i was laughing hysterically with a close friend. when i was traveling and exploring and seeing new things all around me. when i saw a pretty flower. when i was laying on the couch with justin watching a movie, safe and at peace. when my surroundings were so good, that i couldn8217;t deny the feeling of the present moment. that8217;s joy, that8217;s life! that8217;s consciousness.
eckhart tolle speaks directly to my soul. the power of now i talked about in my first post is amazing and a new earth is my new favorite. life changing actually!!! teach yourself to get out of your own way. ram dass is also so cool and so right on track!
what i didn8217;t realize was that we have sooooooo much more access to that amazing joy feeling than we think. we get caught up in naming ourselves 8220;i8217;m just an anxious person.8221; or 8220;this is just who i am.8221; it really is my belief now that yes, we may have predispositions, chemical imbalances or mental illness that run in our family. these can make this process of becoming present (conscious) more difficult for us or require more 8220;maintenance8221; such as a healthy diet, less caffeine or alcohol, regular exercise, or blood sugar regulation. (all things that work well for me and are proven to help stabilize. this is a good listen on that) but the core of it, i think, is pain. these trapped emotions can cause illness, chronic pain, 8220;disorders8221; and a lot of hurt feelings.
and i promise, i am not against medication either. i recently went on prozac for a year and a half when i first started all of this and it was a huge factor of change. it basically helped me with my tolerance for pain. as a very sensitive person, it was really really hard for me to face the facts, it was hard to be honest with myself, it felt like pure suffering. the medicine helped me get there. but it also took away some of my feelings (good and bad). it wasn8217;t until a month or so ago i decided i felt stronger and i wanted to put my tools fully to the test. coming off of it hasn8217;t been easy (especially because i unearthed a lot of this ON the medication) but it8217;s worth it i think, and i can always go back on if i want. while it8217;s difficult at times, it8217;s also the happiest i8217;ve ever been. and i8217;m dedicated to finding what works for me to maintain this feeling.
no shame in medication! none. do what works for you. but just be aware of why you are doing something and how long you want to do that for.
this part makes me nervous, which means i still have some work to do. since january of this year i have been focused on my intuition and my newfound spiritual path. i feel like i trust myself more now to guide my way through life with better choices. i believe in all those little signs that pop up. one book leads me to another, one new friend introduces us to a new practice8230;it8217;s all there for a reason, if we are listening and have the courage to try new things. i don8217;t want to get TOO into all of this because it8217;s all very new to me and i don8217;t want to sound like any sort of authority, but i will give it my best shot.
basically i grew up in a very strict christian home. i went to the bible camps where people were speaking in tongues. i remember feeling scared that i was going to hell if i didn8217;t say the prayer right. that god could hear my doubt and i was doomed. i just didn8217;t resonate with the 8220;it has to be this way, or else8221; mentality of it. this may be a controversial topic, but it8217;s my story. i didn8217;t want to believe that just because my uncle was gay, he was going to hell. i didn8217;t want to believe that a friend of mine at school with a different religion was going to hell. that didn8217;t sit well with me at all. of course there were some positives to being raised with this background, certain morals and an overall lesson of spreading love and forgiveness. but again, there was a hole for me.
so after high school i just shut it all off. i chose not to think about religion, and i definitely didn8217;t think about spirituality because honestly i was taught that wasn8217;t good/right. i felt shame, confusion, guilt, and pure terror that hell was in my future, and i didn8217;t want to think about that at all. so i didn8217;t talk about it, and i didn8217;t explore what DID feel right for me, until recently.
honestly, i am not against any religion. the only thing i am against is anything that involves hate and causing people fear. what works for you, is completely your choice! everyone deserves that. i8217;ve actually come back around to the idea of God, and that Jesus was an amazing man with a message and that the bible has a lot of truths. i just think there are some miscommunications throughout the years that cannot be proven.
now, i8217;m forming what i do believe in. what resonates with me. the power of love and compassion. that we have the ability to heal ourselves through mindfulness and connection and self acceptance. that nature feels good for my soul. that positive mindsets lead to positive results. that raising consciousness is the key to happiness. that we all have an energy that we are putting out in the world and receiving back that same energy in return. simple truths that feel right for me. it has led me to seek purpose!
on that Kanopy app i was telling you about there are soooo many cool documentaries, art movies and information for every genre. i love to geek out on the science/psychology/health stuff because the mind really intrigues me.
this AWAKE documentary is so cool and i was so excited to watch it! same with the E-MOTION documentary about the connection to our mind and body. i really like all of the smart scientists and doctors that how data to why this stuff is true. it8217;s not just a made up thing, that helped me feel more confident in exploring it (with my religious background).
instead of endless reality tv (and believe me i still watch teen mom and vanderpump rules)8230;it8217;s ok if you are choosing to 8220;check out8221; and watch something that takes you out of your own reality. i just didn8217;t like that i was doing it constantly so i didn8217;t have to feel my feelings. i was watching the real housewives even though it started to really bore me, just because i was used to watching it. that8217;s just not smart. i started to value my time a little more and find a better balance.
conversation with alanis morissette (one of my very first CDs!) is an incredible podcast! her interviews with peter levine, sue johnson, and dan seigel are some of my favorites, but i honestly like all of them. she has brought my awareness and knowledge up 10 levels!
oprah8217;s super soul sunday also has some real good ones. creating harmony with deepak chopra, a new earth with eckhart tolle on the pain body, mindful eating with michael pollan, tara westover who wrote 8220;educated8221;, anything with brene brown8230;there are so many gems!
i was also spending a loooooot of time on social media. i could justify that it was 8220;my job!8221; but if i was being honest with myself, i was just wasting time and addicted to it. i was taking in too much information that made me feel all sorts of things, and mindlessly scrolling anytime i had a free moment. the stillness made me so uncomfortable (and still working on that a lot) so i decided, if i am not going to completely stop using instagram (since it is a big part of my job that i love), i am at LEAST going to change what i am looking at. mute the accounts that triggered feelings of inadequacy or inauthenticity, and start following accounts that made me feel GOOD. beautiful photos and accounts that inspire me creatively, those can stay. then i started adding a lot of positive mindset accounts that are daily reminders that keep me on track.
the holistic psychologist is constantly giving me that 8220;YES!!!!8221; feeling. that feeling that i am doing this journey for a reason, and it matters, and i can help others heal too! she taught me a trick, to keep ONE promise to myself daily. doesn8217;t matter how small. something like, i am going to pay that bill i8217;ve been avoiding. and then having the discipline to do it. you will feel proud and start to trust yourself more. trust that you can rely on YOU. seems simple, but man does it work.
i try to post a lot of inspiring accounts in my instagram stories now if you want to learn some new accounts you might be into too! i am actually figuring out a way that i can make my account and blog more into what feels real to me right now, but it8217;s a process and i want to be very intentional about it. instagram stories is a little corner of the internet where i can express freely and be myself. i love it.
so now that i8217;ve explained where the heck my head has been at this year, and why i8217;ve been more quiet on this blog, here are the actual ways i8217;ve been implementing changes into my life. hopefully some of them work for you too!
after listening to michael pollan8217;s episode about mindful eating, something just clicked. i used to stuff myself. i felt so excited when i was eating. so delicious! so fun! nothing hurts! so distracting! and then i started realizing i can love food and not overeat. i can treat myself without binging. i can be healthy without depriving myself. it8217;s all about mindset. WHY are we going to the fridge late at night. WHY do we keep eating even when we are full. i was creating more shame and body issues because i wasn8217;t aware of my emotional eating. i still get sidetracked and order too much on postmates and eat it all 8220;because i don8217;t want to waste it.8221; but at least i can be honest with myself and cut myself some slack now. when you are aware, you won8217;t attach shame as much.
not only has acupuncture helped with my constant aching knees, hips and ankles (which i think are due to stuck emotions, and not moving my body enough) but it has given me emotional relief. it8217;s subtle and requires a little more effort than one session. i was skeptical for a long time but couldn8217;t ignore that my pain was actually going away after. these are ancient practices that have been around forever for a reason! reach out if you would like a recommendation.
because of my resistance to moving my body, i began isolating myself. staying indoors, avoiding people and staying on the couch. (the body keeps score book talks a lot about how our body gets stuck in either fight, flight or frozen mode. mine felt frozen)
recently i have been pushing past these mental limits. go to yoga, try a new hike, stretch in the mornings, walk with a friend for 30 mins. start SMALL and build confidence. you will never ever regret moving your body. it eases your mind and relaxes your nervous system. joanie has been a huge motivator for me for many years and i am so grateful for her!
but also be EASY on yourself. if i even walk in the door to a yoga class that day, that8217;s a win. if i want to sit in child8217;s pose half the class, that8217;s ok too. you went, you can try again, no need to shame yourself.
and sunshine! give yourself a solid dose of 10 minutes a day. it8217;s proven to make you happier. i know SO MUCH the feeling of wanting to stay inside, hide, hibernate, be under the covers. i promise you can do it. little steps each day, remember.
i created a little space outside where i can get sunshine, relax, and meditate. i use the Headspace app, which is free, for 10 minutes a day. i decided to buy the annual pass after doing 30 days in a row because they offer a lot more meditations, but the free one is a great resource. Calm is a great app too.
because of my past, i have an issue with emotional regulation. i get anxious easily and i would tend to lash out, isolate, cry8230;i didn8217;t know what to do with those feelings. now when i feel this way, i meditate, i go in the other room. i listen to my body. i feel and say to myself 8220;where does it feel bad?8221; and 8220;what does it feel like?8221; or 8220;what does this feeling remind you of?8221; and then just sit with it. feel it. watch it move and change and eventually feel lighter. i show myself compassion like i would for a friend. i nurture that younger part of myself that feels so overloaded. this works!!!
busy hands, calm mind. it8217;s true, for sure. i took up cooking and it gave me a new sense of accomplishment to get good at something from scratch. now i love trying new things and pushing past that uncomfortable feeling of not being 8220;good enough.8221; when you are learning something new you are going to make mistakes. as a perfectionist, this is freaking hard. but the more you try the easier it gets! justin has pushed me a lot in this way. now i want to try it all!
now that i actually LIKE myself more, spending time alone is fun. i used to dread it. i would fill my time with work, best friends, romantic relationships, phone time, tv8230;i would freak out if i had to sit with my own painful thoughts. now, i love my alone time. i am realizing that i8217;ve always been an introvert too.
it8217;s a place for me to read, recharge, think, rest. i try to book myself 1-2 nights a month somewhere that makes me happy, maybe a short drive away, so i can chill and reflect during this time of so much change. i always come back better. i know that before i have kids this solo time is really important to grow and evolve.
through allllll of this, i am finally landing on my purpose. why am i on this planet? what do i believe in and care about? it hit me one day that my love of children, and my desire to help heal others with beauty and awareness is something that i really wanted to focus on. i wanted to take my love of art and show kids how to use it for relief.
i jumped right into signing up for CASA. it8217;s a program where i can advocate for children who were abused and neglected. i want to give a child a loving safe space, i want to give them healthy tools and a listening ear. i just finished my 6 week training and i will be assigned to my child or youth in a few weeks. the excitement i feel is BIG. i know this is going to teach me so much and add so much value to my life. i can8217;t wait to see how it all unfolds and where it leads me next.
gratitude, it8217;s a big one. i was stuck in the feeling of 8220;injustice8221; for a long time. the victim role. i just couldn8217;t see all that i had, because i didn8217;t feel good with myself. it8217;s been so nice to take time out of my day each day and show gratitude for the things that i have. the loving people in my life, the freedom to do what i love, the roof over my head, my health8230;focusing on those things more have only brought more of them. it8217;s really amazing. try this little 5 min gratitude journal or just make a note in your phone.
Original source: http://www.designlovefest.com/2019/08/my-healing-resources-part-2/