I carry stress in my body like deadweight. When I go to the chiropractor, my neck and shoulders crack like they’re made of concrete. I have slight pain in my upper body almost all of the time. It is, in part, 27 years of poor alignment habits that my healthy moving yoga classes are starting to undo. It is, in part, a physical problem, but there’s another aspect that I have overlooked.
As I have overhauled my mental health to overcome depression, I’ve worked on nutrition, movement, meditation, rest and community connections. In my experience, anxiety and depression cannot be fully managed with medications alone. The chemicals in my brain from the medication might be at a therapeutic level, but if my heart is in knots, I’m in trouble.
I’ve made progress. I’ve lost 10 unhealthy pounds by changing my eating habits, working healthy movement into the course of my day, reducing my stress levels and resting more. I research holistic health topics constantly. I’ve made positive change.
With all of the good that has come from my efforts, I have inadvertently neglected my emotional health from a psychological standpoint. I am just beginning to realize the wreck I am in emotionally. This was brought to my attention on Tuesday night.
We had just returned from a drive near Atlanta to meet with a holistic health psychiatrist. We were hoping she could shed some light on my previous two weeks of persistent nausea and fatigue. She told us that we were doing the right things nutritionally, which is her main focus, and she didn’t think she could help us further. She recommended that I see a therapist for emotional support.
That evening, a counselor friend called and offered to spend some time with us. It turned into almost 2 hours of us expressing the anger, grief and exhaustion that we have been feeling ever since I lapsed into depression last October. Our friend listened without judgment and helped us to feel, affirm and listen to each other as never before. It was one of the most healing experiences I have ever had.
I came to realize that, contrary to my belief, I am not fully integrated in the way that I process emotions. I carry deadweight in my body because I am riddled with anxiety on an ongoing basis. I also easily create a hostile environment where David feels unsafe expressing his feelings.
It sobers me to think about how much I have hurt him, myself and others. I am certain there are hurts within and outside of myself that have shaped who I am emotionally. Some of these hurts may never fully heal. But our counselor friend has shown me hope for restoration.
I see it on the horizon.