“I Couldn’t help it”

Have you ever said this to yourself, after maybe eating too much, picking at your skin, biting your nails, sleeping with your ex, sleeping in, compulsively waking up at 5am again to jump on your bike (I know this isn’t just me), drinking that extra glass of wine, smoking that doobie?

Maybe it’s not your fault. Maybe it’s not my fucking fault.

I think that through running away and distracting our(my)selves, we lose our connection with our own needs.  We run around, work late, “forget to eat”, get neck spasms from being glued to the screen.  We lose ourselves.

Then, when our body comes back to yell at us, we’re fucking famished, we’re thawing from numbness and itchy.  Itchy and unconscious.

Itchy and unconscious.

Itchy and unconscious. I’ll say it again.  When we feel depleted, unknowing as to why or what we need, we cope.  We need to fill again that void, a seemingly sourceless void that is hungry.  Hungry for nourishment.

  • Love
  • Connection
  • Some mother fucking nutrients
  • Support
  • Creative expression
  • Outlet for release
  • TO FEEL

(Wo)man, doesn’t it feel somewhat comforting and safe to be numb?

Parts of me feel like it’s a warm blanket.
♬ I wrap my fear around me like a blanket
I sailed my ship of safety ’til I sank it ♬

Hey Amelia Boone if you ever read this #jahbless firstly, secondly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUgwM1Ky228

These lyrics are so damn good and bang:

We go to the doctor, we go to the mountains
We look to the children, we drink from the fountain
Yeah, we go to the Bible, we go through the work out
We read up on revival, we stand up for the lookout
There’s more than one answer to these questions
Pointing me in a crooked line
And the less I seek my source for some definitive
The closer I am to fine

So, back to when it hits us, the body no longer will be silenced.  So, we eat too much, we cope with whatever drug we choose: a cig, a J, a beer or 5, a run or 5, etcetcetc.  And for me, when I get to this state, the yuck scary space of overwhelm with feelings, they rush in unsilenceable, like when you cut yourself shaving and the bleeding just doesn’t stop.  Fuck, you are on a ride of pain and it doesn’t end till it does.  You gotta ride it out, one giant wave of overwhelm.

The jump from numb to being overflowing is huge, and it’s terrifying.

This is when the excess asks for dissipation through whatever accessible means we can grab.  ANYTHING.

Ok, so now what?  Left bloated, drunk, high, bloody, now what?

Enter guilt and shame.  The worst.  These two are also scary emotions.  So, the innate thing to do for us to feel safe again is to disconnect further, to numb because these are scary and unpleasant feels.

I don’t know about you, but when I skin pick, or eat brussels sprouts (and aioli) till I’m 16 weeks preggers, I am definitely not interested to sit with myself, gently, compassionately.  Ho wanna run, (wo)man!

img_8244And this has been my cycle for a hell of a long time.  And it’s exhausting.  And the thing is, behind the pain and noise, is my soul’s voice, quietly and ever-presently there telling me to come back to myself.

Image result for after all this time always gif

The cycle breaks eventually.
That’s it that’s all.
“To sit with the shit”, as say the yogis and #Bae Pema Chodron, that’s eventually what we learn, when numbing no longer works.  When our bodies say “No”.

And, sweetheart, also: it’s not your fault.

Namaste.

“I’m an MD/RHN/RN, here’s what I eat in a day”

I call this bullshit.

In a world already so disconnected from ourselves, these tempting motives to “solve our own routine conundrum” serve as confusing AF.  It’s like stevia: sweet, but the body is like “well shit, can I eat more now because that was calorie-free?” (you know? How many times have you tried to “trick” your body into thinking it’s satiated, and then the #headinfridge nighttime syndrome hits? And, sweetheart, when you say “I couldn’t help it”, that is OK.  It’s not lack of willpower.  It’s physiology, and it’s OK.)

Confusion.  Tempting at first, but also like the Finnish education system: it works for them, but you can’t take Des Linden’s stride, put her in a pool, and expect a Phelps #nahmean?

This is why I think “diets” in their very essence are dangerous to fall into.  Rules, rules rules rules, stress me out, and also calm parts of me.  It is so nice to think of a specific way of doing things that leads to health and is relatively simple to emulate.  But that’s the easy way out.  The way that calms the overwhelmed and fearful parts of us that are at a loss of what to do, and then just doesn’t serve the soul part that is all like “but listen to me, I know what’s best for Me!”

Like, side-note.  Is it just me, or is Intermittent Fasting the way of like 90% of Tinder dates right now?

Intermittent Fasting: can certainly serve some people, at some times.  But I’m fearful of the idea that it enables addiction.

I feel like I am straight up addicted to sensation from controlling all aspects of nourishment from food.  I’m using Food control and restriction and “allowing” bits of treats as a way to fuel my nourishment needs that I’m lacking in other aspects of my life.

Similarly, like Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, I am keeping myself stuck in the lower pyramid

Image result for maslow's hierarchy of need

This blah blah blah goes back to me not feeling “safe” in the world so I’m keeping myself “safe” #traumashit through physiological preoccupation.

Blah blah blah.

On this level, it’s simply a way to keep myself outside of myself.  Which is why it’s so tempting to look more outside of Me at what other people are doing, what helps them, the scared parts of myself think “Let’s do that!”  While inspiration is great, what if by listening in, checking in, the answers come to me.  What if by creating pathways of outer-dependency, I disconnect myself from the umbilical cord that’s like the cup-string telephone to the soul, (remember?)

Image result for cup string phone

Image result for cup string phone

Now back to the really somehow fascinating phenomenon that is looking at what people are eating on social media.  Enter hashtags:

#WIAW
#Paleo
#Keto
#IF
#cleaneats
#cheatday
#ifitfitsmymacros

ETCETCETC.

Image result for people must know what i am eating before instagram

#amiright?  What about “Fear of Finished Meal Syndrome”?  Do the RHN’s, RN’s, RD’s, MD’s get this, too?  (Do hooman’s breathe?)

Maybe we think that the hidden mind’s of these people are pristine such that they have not the pains we have?  Maybe they poop better?  Like,

“hey, she’s got toned-ass arms, her diet must be soooo perfect!! I will get arms and poops clean as hers if I eat exactly what she eats!”

Bullshit.

But also,  compassionate bullshit.  I hear this, I also feel this.  But I know my soul is calling out this human ego temptation because #slowcarb #fatfree #LCHF #vegan etcetcetc seems easy, but doesn’t work.  It only worked for me to get me more aware of the need to connect with myself more deeply.  So in this way, and in celebrating the idea that “the only way out is through”, I’m grateful.

I’ve been on a ride through Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia (no blaming here, but the “cheat day” from Tim Ferriss’s (sexiest bald man I know) #4HourBody fuckkked me up hard), Vegetarianism, Paleo, Anxiety, and has truly winded my path around like a rollercoaster.  Right now, my gut is speaking to me.  The powerful, resilient body perseveres through all the confusion, which is so damn beautiful.  Throughout all the ignoring, all the pain, all the anxiety, the body is here.  Not without scars, inside and outside, but it’s here.  It’s always here.  That’s what we’re born with.  We’re actually born with exactly all we need to thrive on this earth.

Similar to plants in nature, they use whatever is available near them at the time, in order to survive.  Each plant uses its own individual programming to absorb from the Earth what it possibly can to life the longest and most robust life.  Maybe a plant is healthier in different soils, but the internal ability for it to hear its needs are just that: internal.  So, an onion will need different things than it’s tomato neighbour.  Likewise, one onion might need different things than the onion beside it, that is closer to the cuke which changes its constituency.

So fuck, please, be wary of outside noise.  Just because an MD eats avo-toast erryday, doesn’t mean it’ll give you better poops.  I mean, it may; that shit’s great.  But listen in.  Get inspired, and then take the language outside and translate it into your own Mother Tongue for your individually resplendent body.  And also, listen to the whispers coming from your SOUL!

Fuck, it’s beautiful (thank you).

Love,
Mel

Stress-addiction

When do you experience these?

  • high heart rate
  • thinking about the next thing to do
  • frenzied rushing
  • furrowed brow
  • night sweats
  • “stuck” breathing
  • overwhelm
  • frequent peeing
  • immobilization, feeling like you’re moving through a barricade of peanut butter
  • indigestion
  • picking your nails, skin, scalp, toes, body
  • indecision

I feel these things daily.  I have become normalized to them.  Habituated to the extent that I seek them out, and feel very uncomfortable if I am comfortable.

This brings comfortably numb to a whole new level.

I honestly believe that along the lines of survival coping through trauma, my mind has created and implemented ways to disconnect from presence (from myself) so that I could continue surviving.  Past-trauma-shit.

These states listed above serve to disconnect me further, keep me numb.  When last week my body said “NO” in halting me with an ingrown toenail so painful that I had been taking advil nightly and resorted to antibiotics due to infection after a month of sleepless cold-sweats and throbbing, I was so full of feelings that I didn’t know what to do.  I still don’t know what to do, and so I am still waking up to do a bike ride then a hike after breakfast every single day.

I further it with now for the past 3 Squamish Chief hikes, timing myself from the start of the stairs to the metal staircase before the summit (34mins/ 31:45/ 30:34 <– #hadmelike holy fuck.).  It’s a catch-22 because there’s ying and yang to it; after the yang of the hike, I can exhale at the top of the Chief and cry a little as I observe, just observe the world up there.

orendawellness May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkeys howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across the white sand beaches, where storms come and go as lightning clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you — beyond that next turning of the canyon walls.
– Edward Abbey

And so, it’s tough because I haven’t had my period due to Hypothalamic Amenorrhea for 12 years.  Because my body is protecting itself for life because my stress and cortisol level allostatically is too high such that it attempts to preserve physiological functions to minimize peripheral energy, and the risk of bringing a child into an unsafe and subjectively perceived, threatening environment.

Fuck.

Also fuck: gut-brain connection is reflected in me being 3-days off the high dose of antibiotics now for my toe, and I’m pooping like 10x a day…this is bullshit.  Literally and figuratively.  I’m taking a high dose of probiotics now, but feel the effects of a sad gut microbiome as it depletedly, defeatedly attempts to digest food.   Maybe my life brought me to this to learn to adapt and listen to what my body is actually craving in terms of nourishment; maybe Ho can’t do all those Brussels sprouts anymore….time for Sattvic dal? But aha, the stress addiction cycles because again, part of me doesn’t want calm-inducing foods – it craves the coffee, the acidic, the olives salsa wasabi Sriracha etc.  Whoa.

Where to go from here?
I feel like I’ve been aware for so long, but theory only takes a body so far.  Then to feel, holy shit, to feel, that’s a whole new kind of Next Level Shit.

Anyone feel me?

Why even Relax, Though?

S’Ho moved to Squamish.  I feel much better here than on the island.  It’s a different vibe here.  It was a really easy transition minus the actual move: I just truly put the intention out there, and a lovely little suite of my own surfaced.  It was right.

I’m in a space of working with compassion. Compassion for parts of me that trauma has led to feel really unsafe.  Somatic Experiencing is the therapy I’m doing which is basically a way for me to slowly reconnect with the parts of myself that I basically unplugged from the umbilical cord of my own prana, my own life force energy.

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You know when you’re in just like, a haze of feels, and can’t find a release? Man it’s tough; the face of the Human Condition.  Somatic Experiencing is a therapy modality that recognizes that through trauma, the young parts of ourselves that experienced the pain that was too much for our current coping abilities at that time in our lives, those parts learn to cope through fight, freeze or flight, so that they are able to survive.  They cannot handle the stimulation because it feels like a threat to survival, so they build an armour around those parts to shield, to blunt the blow.

I realized that the state of utter terror that I felt growing up, I still feel that during everyday life.  It was a big realization, not one for words.  It’s been a journey with the therapy, to experience a state of functioning that wasn’t the modality of terror; and in that space I could come outside of my habitual state of functioning to see just how frightened and threatened those parts of me still feel.  They still feel very threatened, and haven’t been taught how to feel safe and nurtured in the world.  The somatic, the bodily feeling that I was able to see outside of myself was a feeling like I was going to be beaten, physically, it was terrifying and terribly insightful.  WHOA.

They have begun to relearn how to feel safe in the world, this is what I’m teaching them, teaching parts of myself.  It doesn’t work to “suck it up” and “just do the things” that terrify me, and to name a few;

  • abiding by authority
  • rules
  • restrictions
  • control
  • time constraints

The way my little soldiers fight back when threatened show in the following fight/flight/flee ways;

  • skin picking
  • terrible gut pains and digestion
  • exercise
  • restriction of food
  • restriction of nurturing (in all senses of the world)
  • somatically by thumping heart
  • migraine
  • depression
  • indecision
  • mean self-talk
  • rushing like a chicken without a head

So this therapy is to begin by identifying when these soldiers are mobilizing; basically anytime the above presents itself.  Those are survival-mode soldiers.  The process is slow AF. And it’s supposed to be.  Because the moment I go too fast for my parts to feel safe, they latch onto a coping strategy.  This is where a quote sums this shit up eloquently:

I don’t “let go” of my thoughts.  I meet them with understanding, and then my thoughts “let go” of me. – Byron Katie

Beautiful description.  An explanation of why “ripping the bandaid off” won’t work.

I often forget why I’m changing, though, because this way of life has become so normal and change is fucking hard.  And parodies have showed up to reinforce the need for this shift; the need to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system– the relaxation response (that sweet spot that basically initiates our own knowledge of how to heal ourselves);

(in jot dots because Ho’s tired):

  • in physio for alignment while running; tight hip, tight glute, literally stemming from tension and stress where I am not belly-breathing, such that a rib isn’t aligned in my thoracic/lumbar spine area.  why breathe deep?  whoa this is why…body is so wise.
  • gut health: shits on run, shits all damn day, gut = second brain = depression and incomplete poops. worst. feeling. ever #amirighttho?  Relax, tune into my soul; make different food choices, or at least begin by watching and observing my choices and how they’re affecting my body.  Further than that- when eating in a relaxed state, food can actually digest better.
  • Cramp on run: alltheabove

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So the body is telling me and I’m actually beginning to watch myself, and am slowly actually becoming open and even able to feel that I want to relax.  This is so new.  Some things I’m doing:

  • child’s pose
  • letting my belly go out to breathe
  • unstructured meditation nightly
  • legs up the wall (did this once, forces body to belly breathe literally because the chest and shoulder muscles aren’t physically able to fire)
  • physio to flex at hip while breathing with full belly breaths, which actually disinhibits the response of my hip flexor firing in place of my glute

Ok, that’s it.

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A “Human” Professional

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Hi, my name is Melanie, and I’m a recovered Bulimic, and recovering Anorexia Nervosa monkey-minded human being.
I’ve sat with crippling depression, anxiety, and taken laxatives while scared shitless of the idea of imperfection.
I’ve run trails in a healthy state, and I’ve also gone to morning swim practice in Uni while probs still drunk from the bar having come home a couple hours before.
I’ve aced papers, and I’ve also retaken courses.
I’ve googled ways to purge, tried many, and I’ve searched the shit out of the internet about how to heal.
I’ve gone to India to become a certified Yoga instructor, and I’ve pranayama’d the shit out of datstuff.
I’ve traveled across the world to New Zealand and am now a certified Holistic Nutritionist.
I’ve been a vegetarian, I’ve done Paleo, I’ve hashtagged #lchf like it’s going out of style, and I’ve been a devout “I Quit Sugar” spokesperson.
I’ve gone from eating full tubs of sugar-free/fat-free yogurts with 8 packets of TwinSugar in one sitting, to beef jerky.
I’ve found that food isn’t as important as the emotions behind it, and that sugar is OK.
My beliefs have changed more times than pugs fart (and they fart a lot….#teamantipugs).
I’ve learned that you can’t hate yourself into a version of yourself you can love, and that you can’t find yourself in New Zealand, or anywhere other than inside yourself, for that matter.
I’ve learned that happiness has no correlation to your pants size, bra size, or bathing suit size.
I’ve learned that being present is the most important part of life, and that awareness brings solace in darkest of times.
I’ve observed myself self-numbing, escaping, and also sitting right with pain; a bloated belly post-binge, an emotional smack in the face after a sexual abuse, a stress fracture from literally running away from myself.
I’ve honoured and dishonoured myself, and I’ve fluxed the shit out of life.
And through it all, I am exactly where I am today, flawed as ever, and loving myself anyways and always.

No one is perfect, and no one will ever be a “certified perfect professional”, in my humble opinion.

I’m certainly not, and this by no means takes away from the ability for someone to have a gift to help, myself, or anyone else.  In fact, the warriors with battle wounds, healed and healing are the ones I connect with and trust the most.

I’ve been afraid of sharing my story lately, uncensored, because of the stigma of mental health shame, and the thought of being unhirable in flaw.

Fuck.
That.
Shit.

This is me, there’s you, let’s do this shift.

Comparative Suffering

“Let’s compare scars and see who’s is worse.”

That’s a song lyric I remember.  I’ve been humming on this for some time, especially in this stage of accepting trauma.

A couple of trauma definitions:

Trauma:  any situation that overwhelms a person’s ability to cope.

“Trauma is a breach in the protective barrier against stimulation leading to feelings of overwhelming helplessness.” – Sigmund Freud 

I love the above definition that I heard while watching a podcast from Molly Boeder Harris because it can relate to any barrier; emotional, physical, mental, that makes us feel like we’ve been robbed of our sense of safety within ourselves.  It’s a breach into our sacred space that people shouldn’t be coming into.   This breach affects the brain and leads to a specific set of symptoms: trauma.

These definition encompasses so many things; from sexual abuse (a subjective experience), to surgery, to parents who weren’t able to attend to their child’s needs, to bullying, emotional abuse, emotional neglect, birth trauma (for both baby and parents), loss, a physical injury, natural disaster, witnessing horrific events/violence (often invalidated by the person experiencing, because they justify that it didn’t happen to them), etc.

What is especially important here is that the physiological response is very real, and the experience is subjective.  Molly talks about a book called “The Body Keeps the Score”, and the title in itself is enough to explain how the body keeps in it the trauma, muscle memory is so real (ever get some kind of massage, or move in a certain way, go in a stretch, and have “a case of the feels”?).  The body remembers trauma, deep in our tissues, whether we know it or not, it stores it inside our subconscious.

Did you know that it wasn’t until up until the 80/90’s that babies weren’t administered anaesthesia because it was believed that they didn’t feel pain?  The body remembers that.

One of the questions answered in this podcast was about whether there was a gage of trauma severity: to see if one traumatic experience was worse than another.  (to which Molly applauded and expressed was a passionate topic of hers to discuss).

Trauma is trauma: Molly explains, “We’ve created a hierarchy within our understanding of trauma which has neglected a lot of people’s needs and leads to a lot of self-blame, shame, of  ‘Well, I didn’t go to war…all I did was have a really terrible surgery, so why am I so messed up, it could’ve been so much worse, what happened to me!?'”

Or with sexual abuse, maybe there was only verbal harassment not contact, but the person has all of the symptoms of someone who was raped.

With trauma, it’s not about the event, but how the person experienced the event, what resources were or were not available after the event, what was the relationship to the person or the environment.  All these factors matter, not only the main traumatic event.

One trauma is not comparable to another.  One is not “worse” than another.  It’s so unique to each person’s experience.

This is big for me because I often invalidate my own experience of trauma, and so many other people do too.  This is why we get stuck inside the trauma and this is why I’m having a time moving forward: it’s hard to acknowledge my trauma (I’m having a hard time even writing this.)  But it’s time.

So that’s that.  No trauma is worse than another; the physiological and psychological expressions in the body are the same.  So here’s a cheers to compassion for all.

Myself included.

 

I’m allowed to BE (and so are you)

I had an interaction yesterday with my brother that left me feeling sad, hurt, frustrated, and my innate need was to internalize it and restrict and stay SMALL.

Bitch please.

No more.

I am a professional fucked up Human Being.

–and I’m evolving mannnn, I’m sharing my story and I’m healing.  I sat in the pain, I looked at it.  I’m processing it.

Basically, his words left me feeling like I’m such a fuck up, that I’ve ruined his life, and that I should never have been born.  That I don’t deserve to be alive, healthy, thriving.  Innately, it made me crave my escapist self-punitive coping mechanisms; restriction and self-deprecation.  I felt guilty, ashamed. Honestly, whether or not his implications were that, IT IS HOW I FELT, and that is TOTALLY ok!

Instead of doing any of the above self-punishment, I sat, I called my dad and used his loving space as a place to express my feelings. I journalled.  I ATE. I made this video today to process the emotion and share my current insight from the feels.

Here it is:

“Ever feel like an imposition?
I’ve realized I don’t need to validate my needs to feel. I was born dis way, already allowed to BE. No need to justify BEING!”

Namasthe, motherlovers.