It Is In the Darkest Night We Truly See

Being in the wellness profession, I feel like people hold you at a higher standard. They expect you to be the picture of health. Good diet, physically fit, positive and calming personality, and a generally healthy person. You are not just a source of information and treatment you are a model for the lifestyle you promote. I think I fit that mold pretty well. People trust what I say because they see me living it.

  So imagine the emotional struggle I had a few months when I realized I was not healthy. I woke up the Saturday before Christmas in excruciating pain. My hands and arms were so inflamed they were near immovable. I couldn’t open the door to get out of our bedroom, I could barely hold a glass of water or change my shirt. Even breathing was difficult. As much as I know about the human body, in that moment I knew nothing except that something was wrong. So what did I do?

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  I took an epsom salt bath, and then I cried. I cried for at least an hour. I cried because of the pain. I cried because I felt like a fraud, because I didn’t know how to make myself better. I held onto that for a few days and wallowed in it. But then I started taking some good supplements, cleaned up my diet a little, and got a ton of body work thinking that would do the trick.

  But after month or so I realized that I wasn’t getting better. Despite all the changes I made I still couldn’t open a water bottle, and barely had enough energy to get through the day. So I took a step back and thought “What would I say to a patient?” And in that moment I knew what I was missing. I wasn't listening to what my heart was telling me. Yes my body hurt, but because it was the only way my heart could get me to sit still long enough to hear what it was trying to say. At this point it wasn’t just talking to me it was screaming “I’m not okay”.

I had no choice but to listen and come to terms with the fact that no amount of diet changes or stretching were going to make me better. I had to work on the real stuff. The “real stuff” are those emotions that we swallow everyday, the memories we shove into the back of our minds until we think we have forgotten them. It’s easier to hide them away then to deal with them, because then you might have to admit “Im scared”. More than that you may have to practice forgiveness and accountability.  

And then you have to let it go. Believe it or not most of us don’t want to let our stories go, because most of us don’t know who we are without that scar. On some level we don’t know if we can stand without that crutch. What’s the excuse for not being able to have a successful relationship if not the ex who cheated on you? Why can’t you be happy if not for that job that you are overworked and underappreciated at? Because if it isn’t someone else’s fault, it’s ours, and that is a tough pill to swallow.

But I did. And it turns out it’s the best medicine. I was overworking myself and not taking time for me because owning a business is time consuming. I was constantly defining myself by my past and not taking responsibility for any part of it. So it was time to put on my big girl pants and face facts.

First, there is time for anything that you decide is a priority, so I made me a priority. From more acupuncture treatments to not answering my phone on my days off. Second, I let all the emotions come up that I had been hiding away about my past. The fear, the anger, the sadness, and regret. And then I did something that I never had before. I forgave myself. I forgave myself for not walking away from that man sooner, for settling for that kind of attention because I didn’t love myself enough. Most importantly, I forgave myself for still needing to heal from it.

And things started to get better. I can’t say I am 100% but I am getting there. And to be honest as hard as these last few months have been, I am so grateful for them. Besides the healing I have done, I learned that being in the wellness field is not about portraying the image of perfect health so people will listen to you, it’s about showing them the path you’ve walked on and guiding them along it too. So remember, maybe your back pain that isn’t going away is more than just back pain. It may seem like a long dark road, but take that first step, I'll show you the way. And always remember that it is in the darkest nights, we truly see.

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anna mahoney6 Comments