A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a blog https://luxestatements.com/blogs/pay-it-forward/pay-it-forward, where I spoke about being inspired enough to begin releasing some of the tools that have helped me during my pilgrimage. My goal was hoping others found value in my experience.
A couple of years ago I was perusing the shelves at Barnes and Noble and I stumbled upon an amazing read. The book is called The Body Keeps Score: Brain, Mind, and Body In The Healing of Trauma, written by Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D. This is one of those finds that requires you to be in a receptive, open, and ready to conquer state of mind. In other words, the content is personal and will require intense reflection to unearth and dispose of the baggage.
In order for me to best describe the data in this book, I will have to borrow a quote from his accomplished peers. The following was plucked from the early pages by Alicia Lieberman, Ph.D. and professor of medical psychology at UCSF. She states:
“The Body Keeps the Score is masterful in bringing together science and humanism to clearly explain how trauma affects the whole person. Bessel van der Kolk brings deep understanding to the pain and chaos of the trauma experience. The treatment approaches he recommends heal the body and the mind, restoring hope, and the possibility of joy. One reads this book with profound gratitude for its wisdom.”
The author states very clearly how our experiences, good or bad, not only affect us on a psychological level, but also on a physical level unbeknownst to me. To demonstrate the aforementioned phenomenon, in chapter 5 Body-Brain Connections (p.83) the author mentions the following regarding the nervous system:
“The many-branched vagus. The vagus nerve (which Darwin called the pneumogastric nerve) registers heartbreak and gut-wrenching feelings. When a person becomes upset, the throat gets dry, the voice becomes tense, and the heart speeds up, and respiration becomes rapid and shallow.”
Please be patient with the technical speak for just a moment. Now, really consider just how intertwined our physical reality stems from what is going on inside of our heads! Just as traumatic events trigger emotional stimuli that trickle down into the body, your image about you also coordinates your performance. I’ve learned people in general will conduct themselves at the level in which they believe, not so much in their ability to achieve.
Upon reading this book I began to take a long look back during the tough times to try and make a correlation to any physical maladies I may have had. There were several, though not as intense as the individuals in Kolk’s research, however I will only share one for time’s sake.
During the aftermath of dealing with a potentially sociopathic individual, I learned I’d momentarily lost my empathetic abilities. This is normal after a run in with these people. The physical manifestation of this debacle was a complete lack of desire for intimacy that went on for several years. It was repugnant to me! I would curl up into a ball at the slightest touch because the sensation was similar to being jolted with electricity! At the time, I wasn’t aware enough to link the two happenings together.
This author and the years of research put into this book helped make sense of those moments, and was a key component of getting my life back on track. I am eternally thankful!
So what I am ultimately saying here is to do whatever it takes to heal you! Do whatever it takes to fix you! Do whatever it takes! For me it was a combination of books, intense self-reflection, expressions through tears, and a dogged determination to feel better! Some may choose counseling, support groups, etc. – whatever it is please do it for you! There is NO better investment than investing in you! And there’s no better investment for the world than a whole, healthy, empowered woman!
Until next week – Feel Good. Look Good. Be Good.