Although this is my first actual published blog post under this name, I’ve logged into WordPress a total of 68 times in the last two months. I started and stopped, doubted and lamented, feared and cried, and would eventually log off without saving what I wrote. I instead shoved all of it back down deep inside of me to remain hidden from the world.
About a year ago I made a decision to write a book. I started and stopped and started and stopped and couldn’t figure out why it never felt quite right to me. I worked with an editor who would make suggestions about how to rework a particular chapter or how to infuse some humor into an otherwise intense topic. All the editing would prove to be helpful for book sales, but the editing process was stifling my authentic voice and leaving me feeling unfulfilled.
I am at a point in my life in which I need to express my truth completely and unapologetically. I don’t want to be censored. I don’t want to be directed. I don’t want suggestions, advice, or commentary. I don’t care who judges me or approves of what I say or don’t say. I just want to speak, or write, without any reservations or hesitation. I don’t want to edit my thoughts, or proofread my sentences, or make sure my grammar is correct. I just need to express myself. It’s my time now. I know that there is someone out there who is going to read what I write and for the first time in that person’s life, will feel connected to someone else, will not feel alone, and my words will resonate so powerfully that they feel a sense of hope. Nobody wants to feel alone. Everyone is seeking understanding and connection.
For some reason today is the day. Today is the day that feels right to share my story. Today is the day in which I connected with the fierce tiger inside of me who bravely roared at the top of her lungs after having been silenced for far too long. So today I begin the journey of exposing myself for all to see. Today feels like the right time to express my truth with the intention of inspiring others like myself to find their voice and express their inner truth and authentic selves. Today feels like the day to let others know that they aren’t alone.
Although I am a Clinical Child and Family Psychologist, and my life’s passion and purpose is to empower others to soar in life, this blog isn’t meant to be “clinical” in nature. No jargon or fancy language. No advice or suggestions or prescriptions. The truth is that this writing is for me. As a healer, I am a conduit through which energy flows from the universe through me and to my clients. I know that what I have experienced is not just a teacher for me, but a teacher for my clients as well. And I also know that I cannot heal them without healing myself first, or at least simultaneously. I simply intend to let my words flow from a stream of consciousness that is ready to emerge. I want it to be accessible to anyone and everyone. I want it to be raw and genuine. I just want to be me.
About 8 months ago I became very ill. The truth is that the “dis-ease” started long before that, early in my life in fact (more on this in future writings). It was a slow progression and although I was experiencing symptoms, I ignored those signs from the Universe and just plugged along on autopilot continuing to help and heal everyone else. And then one day the Universe literally knocked me on my ass and stopped me.
I have come to learn something that I have told clients for years: illness is an invitation. An invitation to pause, look within, listen to what is being revealed, and take action toward rebuilding or reinventing or changing course.
It is estimated that about 125 million Americans have at least one chronic condition whose symptoms are not visible to an onlooker. Chronic conditions are defined as those lasting a year or longer, limiting activity and impacting lifestyle, and requiring of ongoing care. Invisible or hidden illnesses are defined as those whose symptoms may not always be visible to others. Examples of such chronic invisible illnesses include allergies and food intolerances, depression, diabetes, digestive disorders (IBS, Crohns, Celiac, SIBO, etc), migraines, Lupus, Lyme disease, multiple sclerosis, Sjogren’s Syndrome, autoimmune thyroiditis, and more. On the surface, for the most part, individuals suffering with one or more of these conditions look fine. They may even look good, in fact. But in reality they are suffering and hurting so deeply.
The truth is that we are all ill and wounded and scarred in some way, and we all try to hide it shamefully because we are afraid of being viewed as damaged or crazy. We think our shit is worse than everyone else’s. So we put on a mask and that is what we show to the world. Some days its easy to wear the mask. But other days applying the mask feels like too much, and on those days we lay in bed and hide in shame. Life just feels too hard.
I am grateful for a day in June in which I hit bottom. I can vividly recall crawling from my bed to the bathroom because it hurt too much to walk. I was inflamed, depressed, overweight, nauseous, anxious, and exhausted. I cried and crawled and when I eventually arrived in the bathroom, I pulled myself up to the vanity to look in the mirror, and I decided I didn’t want to live anymore. I wanted to end my life. I didn’t want to suffer any longer. I was barely surviving, and I felt completely dead inside. after deciding that would be the day to end it, I caught a glimpse of a sticky note from one of my sons that read, “I love you Mommy. You are the best mom in the world.” I cried as I read that note and decided that it represented an invitation from the Universe to live. Even though I was not motivated for myself, I knew I owed it to my children to get help and heal.
Eight months, many doctor appointments and treatments, and tons of money spent later, I am finally motivated to live for me and I have learned so much. My journey has taught me that illness is an outer representation of an inner process. The process of longing for what makes your soul sing. When we become disconnected from who we are–who we TRULY are–when we veer off course and become what everyone else needs us to be. When our spirit has unfulfilled longings. When we have been running like mad away from our fears. When we have lost our sense of purpose. When we are so disconnected from our creative life force energy. Illness emerges and carries with it a message of invitation. The illness is inviting you on a transformative journey to reclaim your power and birth your soul’s deepest desires into life.
The illness is a teacher who delivers its lessons via symptoms. For me, my teachers went by the names of SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth), MCAS (Mast Cell Activation Syndrome), EBV (Epstein Barr Virus), LUPUS/currently ruling out Sjogren’s Syndrome, Candida, and several others. And these are just a few of the lessons that I was taught:
Severely and dangerously depleted of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients
Treatment required IV Infusions to get nutrients into my body
The lesson: I was a dead soul in a broken vessel, starving for new and creative experiences to revive me, fill me up, and make me feel whole and alive.
Imbalances–sluggish at times (hypothyroid) and extremely overactive (hyperactive) at other times.
Palpitations, hair loss, weight gain, issues with body temperature regulation, severe leg cramps, severe potassium deficiency, and much more.
The lesson: I was completely imbalanced in the area of my body associated with self-expression, communication, and soul releasing. Most of the time I swallowed my truth so far deep, failed to recognize or communicate my own needs, and felt a huge responsibility to care for others. I would give and give without receiving, as that is how I thought I was needed and what gave me value as a person. Then I would have moments in which my inner soul screamed “what about me?” and I screamed and yelled with complete reckless abandon because I had stifled myself for so long.
Inability to digest any food that was ingested.
Inability of my body to extrapolate and absorb nutrients from food
The lesson: What was I trying to digest and absorb in my life, heart, or mind that I couldn’t? Digestion represents the body’s assimilation process and I was not able to assimilate and incorporate certain energies emotions, thoughts, and experiences. That my body wouldn’t allow itself to metabolize. Everything I swallowed became a potential threat that my body rejected.
Leaky gut/intestinal permeability
The lining of the small intestine becomes damaged causing undigested food, waste products, and bacteria to “leak” through the intestines and in to the bloodstream.
Creates a variety of painful symptoms including stomach pain and bloat, irritable bowel, Candida, psychological and hormonal issues, and more.
One of the main causes is inflammatory foods
The lesson: What was I taking in that was toxic and eroding my system? Where was I giving away too much of myself and my energy? Where were my energy leaks —slow leaks that allow my energy to drain and allows for openings to take in what is toxic.
Autoimmune diseases result from the body turning on itself.
Chronic pain, hormonal issues, and more.
The lesson: I was responding to people and to life differently than how I really wanted to, essentially sending mixed messages within my body, confusing my body neurobiologically. I was unauthentic, not acting in consistent with my own inner desires, needs, and values; not feeling good enough or worthy, and believing limiting beliefs that reinforced guilt, shame, and self-loathing. As a result, my body believed it needed to punish itself. My immune system started to fight itself. Because it couldn’t trust —every thing I was exposed to was treated as a potential foreign invader. So my immune system flared to protect me and keep me safe. That meant that every experience, food, person, etc became incredibly fear -inducing and plummeted me immediately into flight or flight, a constant fight for survival.
Illness and disease are an invitation to make the changes necessary to heal–in mind, body, and spirit. An invitation to look at oneself in order to learn, grow, shift, and transform. Illness provides fertile ground for healing to take place. Each symptom represents a part of the landscape of the self that requires attention. If you ignore each symptom until it’s too late, death is imminent. It’s a metaphorical death in that you die so that you can be reborn into the person who you were always supposed to be. Something inside must die, or something must be given up. Maybe a lifestyle change or finally releasing old ways of thinking or interacting. We are confronted with the choice–continue in the same way and die …or make a change and be reborn.
I’m grateful for this second chance at life. And as I lean in to the process of healing and learn to cultivate gratitude for this opportunity for rebirth, I vow to love myself so fiercely and make myself the epicenter of my world. I will continue to honor my body as a sacred teacher and will create intentional mindful moments to listen to all the lessons that it has for me. That’s the only way that I can truly be the change I wish to see in the world.
If you have made it this far in the blog, thank you, and please join me in congratulating myself for taking the first step in accepting the invitation, and unveiling my new life. I hope that something in this post–even just one word or phrase–has inspired you to befriend yourself and honor your own healer within.