Have you ever wanted something so bad that it hurt?
Yeah... me too. I've been trying to heal my body for the past 5 years, one might say to the point of obsession. I've come so far, but DAMN it's been a long road. Holy crap. When I look back I almost can't believe how much I've gone through. At the beginning of this journey I believed I could get better, but I didn't really know how much better. Today I can actually envision myself totally healthy and I would really like to achieve this like, ya know, yesterday. But I'm just not there yet, so I'm learning to practice patience. It's like planting a seed and expecting it to flower overnight - not gonna happen.
Through the process of healing my physical body I discovered that emotional and spiritual health cannot be ignored, and this deep dive has been pretty intense, too. I learned that past traumas are embedded in our cells and a "perfect diet" doesn't touch this stuff. I started journaling exactly one year ago when I was so super sick and couldn't get out of bed for 6 weeks. Journaling saved my life, and I'm not just being dramatic here. I literally don't know how I would have gotten through it otherwise. I wrote about my physical symptoms, my fears, frustrations, random thoughts, memories - anything and everything cuz I just didn't know what else to do. And it helped. All of my thoughts flowed from my brain, through my arm, through my hand, into the pen, mixed with the ink and took shape as each letter flowed into the next on my paper. As I wrote, the stuck emotions and traumatic memories left my body on a cellular level. I honestly think everyone should do it. Everyone. By the way, the book Journaling Power * by Mari L. McCarthy is a fantastic resource for exploring its healing potential.
The deeper I go into healing my whole self, the more I realize how important it is to be able to sit with and process uncomfortable emotions. Many of us grow up ashamed to feel strongly about anything because it makes other people uncomfortable. Friends and family minimize our feelings or brush them aside in an attempt to help us feel better. Brené Brown describes this as "flipping on the light switch instead of sitting in the dark with the person in pain." It's been said that we are spiritual beings having a human experience, and a wide range of emotions goes with the territory - it's normal and necessary and takes a certain amount of bravery. When you have negative emotions you've got to acknowledge them and allow them to move through you, otherwise they seem to get stuck.
Sometimes my emotions feel so big and so uncomfortable, like a hard-hitting tsunami, and I think I might drown. Whether it's sadness, fear, frustration, disappointment, hope or excitement I reach for numbing foods like bread or cookies or potato chips so that I won’t feel quite so much. The physical sensations I have in my body overwhelm my system. I imagine it to be like a tripped circuit breaker or blown fuse. The electrical impulses are ridiculously strong - I guess this is where the term "emotionally charged" comes from.
I never really considered myself an emotional eater until recently and now I totally understand what it means to self-medicate. I'd argue that millions of highly sensitive people are walking around feeling these same intense electrical impulses without any internal mechanism for grounding. And without understanding where all of the overwhelming energy is coming from, what's a person to do?
... Journal, of course! Continue to explore and learn as much as possible about yourself. You are writing your own story, so you you better do the research (and avoid the Fake News Police). Who are you? What do you desire? What brings you joy? What do you fear? Write in your journal every day. And when the tsunami hits, ask for courage.
* This blog post includes an affiliate link to Amazon.com. When used, I may earn a small commission. I do not recommend anything that I haven't used myself.