TW: This is the beginning of the most authentic and intimate series I have ever shared. There will be discussion of abuse, suicidal ideations, narcotic medication & familial trauma.
My 32nd birthday was at the end of August. By all means this has not been a good year for my life. I bottomed out emotionally at the end of May, and it took a series of ketamine treatments this summer to convince me to take another trip around the sun.
As a person who is DBT trained, there is shame in admitting my mental health got this bad after all these years of being actively engaged on my healing journey. The dialectic is the pandemic had taken a toll on our collective psyche that is unprecedented.
The way capitalism has performed in the last 18 months to allow billionaires to race to space while the average American took a step down on quality of life and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs sickens me. My heart breaks for humanity and the fact that at a time when we have unprecedented technology we continue to allow unprecedented suffering.
I also live in a state that has actively attacked my rights this year. #Fuckyougregg I have less autonomy over my body than at any time preceding in my life due to the religious belief of elected officials who in no way represent me or the tax dollars I contribute as a member of this society. This is trauma – and anybody who wants to deny this is gaslighting.
All that being said, the ketamine did work and I entered this new cycle of my life determined to find more happiness in an unhappy world. I had recently finished reading Dr. Nicole LePera’s How to Do the Work. I think it’s a great book and I highly recommend. It’s the closest thing I have seen published to my beliefs about healing and psychological wellness. It gives me HOPE that other professionals are thinking and writing about the same changes I wish to see in how we approach mental health.
One of the exercises I began incorporating from her book is future self journaling. Each day starting with my birthday, I wrote the sentence “I am grateful to have a body that is strong enough to heal itself.” I’ve had some health struggles the past year and a half and with the deterioration of my mental health I have been well aware of the physical impacts as well. I do believe our bodies are strong with unlimited capacity to heal.
On September 17, I woke up with a terrible knot in my shoulder. I get knots in my neck & shoulders fairly often; in fact I have sense early adolescence. We had spent the week working on fence repairs – so I had been lifting 2×4 and panels. The day before my trainer had incorporated weights into our session (not atypical). Plus my body doesn’t seem to adjust itself when I sleep – so sometimes my dreads get knotted in one spot and flare up one of these.
At the time, it didn’t seem out of place or that big of a deal. Boy was I wrong. It has been 38 days of excruciating pain.
During this time I have done everything in my power to alleviate the pain:
-Deep tissue massage
– Rapid Tension Release
– Float therapy
– GP visits
– Steroids, steroid injection, muscle relaxers, pain medication & ambien
-Turmeric & black pepper supplements
– Ice bath
-Biofreeze & THC infused salve
(I will admit I did avoid going to the actual GP for 3+ weeks – the consensus of multiple professionals was there was nothing structurally wrong. My beef with the major medical establishment a post for another day).
For 38 days my body has felt like my enemy. The first 34 there was not a single minute that I was not in pain. Not a second of relief of comfort. I’ve gotten less than 1/3 of the normal amount of sleep my body needs for homeostasis. There were so many nights where I saw every single hour pass by on the clock.
I did get a diagnosis of bursitis last week. Makes sense, inflammation and all. (Shame on me for doctor avoiding, it could have been addressed much quicker). I’ve done a steroid blister pack and shot and for now the pain is residing. I’m hopeful that I am on the path to being fully healed. I’d really like to get back to working out – theres some stuck emotions that I’d like to move through my body. Plus the steroids (combined with lack of sleep and PMSing) have left me a complete emotional wreck. I’m so ready to flush all this shit out of my system.
This has been one of the most trying periods of my life. The constant stimuli of pain, mixed with the mental impact of sleep deprivation – it’s brought me back to dark places at times.
As truly crap-tastic and painful and sucky as this has been, it has also been a period of very clear lessons and messages from the universe. I have close to a dozen posts to share with y’all over the next couple of weeks with reflections triggered by this pain. I believe this period of suffering can be a catalyst for great change for me. It solidified so many things that I KNEW intellectually, but for one reason or another struggled to live in alignment with.
There’s always a flip side to the coin. That is the simplest way to describe dialectics. There is always a different way we can choose to perceive things. It’s easy to focus on the negative. Especially when things are TRULY Bad. There were days when I was so angry. It’s my favorite time of the year, the heat had finally broke in Houston, and instead of hiking with my dog – I was propped up in pain and miserable from lack of sleep. It would be real easy to write this whole period off as a loss.
When we focus on one perspective, we often miss out on the bigger picture. Dialectics encourages us to look beyond our own limited scope and strive to incorporate additional viewpoints. The more we practice this, the more flexible we become in our thoughts. This allows us to be more adaptable in our behaviors (a necessary skill for survival in the ever changing world that is 2021).
There is potential for growth in all situations. I am choosing to focus on the gift of this pain.
Check back throughout October and November as I share 9 additional lessons from Bursitis Diaries.