Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sunday Fresh Take: We need a healing!

How many of us have heard or said the following:  "I kind of hope that the doctor finds something wrong with me...that way I know I'm not crazy!"

When I was pregnant with my first son, I had terrible heartburn all the time.  I always assumed that it just came with the territory.  After he was born, I began having severe esophageal spasms--though it got diagnosed as gallstones and was followed by an unfortunately unnecessary surgery.  My problems got better after the surgery, but wouldn't stay better forever.  When I was pregnant with my second son, I began eating small, frequent meals in an effort to control my weight, control my heartburn, and eat healthier.  Generally speaking, it worked.  However after my son was born, I began again to have these very severe esophageal spasms, to the point where they were causing me to throw up.  This time I had an upper endoscopy and got put on an extra strength proton-pump inhibitor (acid reducer) in addition to nyastatin for the yeast that was found in my esophagus; this time the treatment didn't work.  For months on and off I battled with heartburn and stomach pains and found very little that gave me any amount of relief.  Then I finally had enough.  I found myself getting angry--about life in general, really--and I knew that I needed to take action.

I could have followed this all up with more useless doctors appointments, more unhelpful online research, or more medication.  Instead, I turned to the idea that my mind was causing more of this problem than I realized.  I won't say that diet didn't have anything to do with it--I've certainly eaten my fair share of junk since I graduated high school--but I do believe that it was mostly my own inner turmoil that caused this problem.

What?  Inner turmoil?  But you seem to have it all together!  I believe that we ALL have inner turmoil.  Our spirits are often being weighed down by baggage that we carry around for ourselves and others.  Our mental self recognizes these feelings of hurt, fear, frustration, and anger and it says, "I don't like this...I don't want to be thought of as a nut-job!" and if our mental self succeeds at getting across that message, than our emotional self will just stay quiet and conceal all of this heavy, heavy baggage.  Since we have no emotional outlet at this point, our physical self needs to let it out in some way.  That could be heartburn.  It could be cancer.  It could be back pain or failing vision or chronic migraines.  Are these physical symptoms real?  Absolutely!  And if you go to your doc, he'll probably be able to give you something for it.  And it might even work...if you want it to.

The problem is that when we acknowledge our physical symptoms (which likely showed up as a result of baggage) as nothing more than a physical symptom, then it is unlikely that the symptom will ever really go away.  We'll always rely on that medication and underneath that thing that covers up this physical symptom, we're still in pain.  If it does go away, you can bet your bottom dollar that it will come back in some other form!  What's more, when we injure ourselves it becomes an easy outlet for that emotional baggage.  What if instead when we felt some sort of physical symptom, we stopped to take note about whether or not there was an accompanying emotional inclination?  If you see a link, then you can take it back another step and try to release any spiritual baggage that might be weighing you down.

I don't believe that this means we need to live in the past and uncover every little horrible thing that's ever happened to us.  But when you do stop to think about the many, many hurtful things that have happened to all of us over the course of our lives--things that most of us have just sloughed off!--there sure is an accumulation of damage.  And when that accumulation just continues to get buried within ourselves, it's bound to surface in some way at some point.

Society definitely wants us to have physical problems and definitely doesn't accept us being "crazy".  If you're in therapy, you're a loony.  If you're on medication, you're some kind of victim.  Human nature tends to lead us to side with the victim instead of the loony (of course that's perfectly appropriate in some circumstances).  Our mind finds it more socially acceptable--because everybody has it--to have heartburn, or migraines, or even cancer than we do to say, "I'm a spiritually hurting individual."  I have news for you; we're all hurting!

Start acknowledging your problems.  That shouldn't imply that you need to start complaining about everything, but try getting to the root of the problem and admit what's been bothering you.  Furthermore, figure out WHY it bothers you (i.e. control issues, acceptance issues, abandonment issues).  If you can start addressing these things to yourself and to those you love the most, I would be willing to bet that most of your physical ailments will start vanishing.  Give the process some time and expect that you might unearth some rather unpleasant things.  But stay diligent and just remind yourself that you are replacing your mind's need for a physical ailment by releasing the baggage that you've been carrying for so long.

I'll end this by giving a brief detail of the things I discovered about myself.  After my battles with heartburn and esophageal spasms, I turned to the idea that I had issues I didn't want to deal with.  Then I started making a list of things that were hurting me:  loneliness from staying at home, resentment that my husband got to escape the difficulties of parenthood for a little while every day, frustration that I couldn't seem to control the household followed by frustration that I felt the need to control everything, anger at my dad for my compulsion to want to please everyone (and control everything), doubt that I would really be able to make it through life on top, etc, etc.  The list literally goes on (and yes, those mentioned in my list had been confronted about these things a while back).  It took a little bit of time to let go of these things, and sometimes these feelings do sneak back in again, but in less than a month I was feeling better than I had ever felt in my life.  I felt like I was back to 100% in my spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical self.  The best news of all is that I never had any issues with heartburn or esophageal spasms during or after my third pregnancy.  Now I know that when these physical issues start to creep in I can just take a "time-out" and remind myself of what I've learned and what's been bothering me.  Sometimes all it takes is saying, "My mind has decided that it is more socially acceptable to have heartburn than to be a crazy person!"

Please consider this idea.  I've always considered myself very blessed and I don't care to complain a lot about what I've been dealt, but this idea really freed me and let me see that I didn't need to always work so hard to make my life seem great.  Stress is the ONLY link that all physical ailments have in common!  We should want to physically take care of ourselves, but our physical self is only part of the equation.  Stop wanting your physical self to have a problem.  Start wanting your whole self to be healed.

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