How can we avoid upheaval and challenges? We can’t. No one is immune to stress. Each of us faces the ups and downs, the yin and yang of life. Some of us, however, seem to handle pressures, worries and anxieties better than others.
Like everyone I had my share of stress, a lifetime of stress—from school, jobs, relationships and loss. Along with the pressures came aches and pains of varying intensity. Then after years of trying to juggle a teaching career and the loss of my husband while helping to care for my bedridden mother in a nursing home the pain became chronic. I searched for an answer, which finally came, mainly through the process of eliminating all other possible causes. At last the medical profession stopped suggesting my condition was “in my head, hormonal, a woman thing.” Apparently I was suffering with fibromyalgia. And suffering I was. I hurt everywhere—muscles, tissues, back, head, neck… It felt as if my tissue was being ripped from my bones. The pain was intense and getting worse, as was the insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome, confusion and other assorted symptoms.
I tried all manner of treatments, both medical and holistic—general practitioners, rheumatologists, neurologists, an orthopedic surgeon, a neurosurgeon, psychologists and psychiatrists, physiotherapists, chiropractors and acupuncturists. Along with them, I worked with massage therapists, nutritionists and personal trainers; tried qi gong, tai chi, Pilates and yoga; body talk, reiki and healing touch; supplements and special diets; joint injections, magnetic therapy, self-hypnosis and tapping. Even support groups. If I knew of it, I tried it. I was poked and prodded, X-rayed and scanned. Nothing worked, not the drugs, drugs and more drugs that filled my medicine cabinet to overflowing, or the countless other treatments. Unable to look after my home, my beloved dogs or myself I was scared to death, afraid of what the future held.
Just as I was ready to give up and spend my remaining days in agony in a nursing home, my uncle, a firm believer in metaphysics, phoned. He recommended that I try Joy of Healing—the unique mind, body, spirit wellness work that helped him, his family and friends with all manner of illness and discord. “If anyone can help you Joy of Healing can,” he assured me.
Desperate and fearing for my very life I contacted the Joy of Healing founders: Andrew Overlee, a medium and healer, and his wife Tamara, a spiritual counselor and author.
From Joy of Healing I learned about the layers of stress and unresolved issues that were primary drivers of my chronic pain. Together we worked with my issues:
Conflict – Each of us experiences disharmony, but I didn’t realize that much of that discord lies within—harmony of the mind and soul. All too often, I struggled with head versus heart. I felt the disharmony between what I really wanted to do and all of my made up reasons why I shouldn’t follow my heartfelt desires. I was often a follower, a people pleaser doing what I believed others wanted me to do rather than being my own person.
Now I listen to my intuition, the inner voice that guides me on my journey.
Hoarding – I hoarded my thoughts and feelings, just as I hoarded my possessions. I was secretive, living a lie, not sharing my true self. My lack of self-esteem and self-confidence kept me from believing that others valued me or my opinions. How could others know me? How could I know and trust myself if I never revealed who I was?
I value honesty and no longer hide. I freely show others who I really am and I stand up for what I believe.
Me Me – I spent so much time and energy thinking about myself and how everything impacted me that my life was a grand pity party.
Finally I look beyond myself, really seeing and valuing others. I appreciate how fortunate I am, and I am truly grateful for my many blessings.
Control – How I struggled to control and manipulate people and situations beyond my control.
I realize and accept that the only one I can control is me. My free will and choice enable me to be the person I want to be, ever learning, ever growing.
Being in the moment – I obsessed, reliving my past, pondering over decisions I had made, and conversations I had—ruminating endlessly over what I would’ve, could’ve and should’ve done.
I am aware and live in the moment. Having learned from the past, I work hard to change the behaviors I do not wish to repeat.
These were some of my issues that I chose to ignore and bury deep within where they festered and grew. No wonder I became ill.
Each of us has our own issues and stressors that cause physical, emotional and spiritual discord when ignored.
Thanks to Joy of Healing I have been both pain and prescription free for more than thirteen years. My fibromyalgia is in remission. And I am forever grateful.
I continue to eat well, exercise daily, get necessary restorative sleep and reveal who I am at all times without hiding and trying to be someone I am not.
Never minimize the effects of stress. Identify and work to resolve troublesome issues for they are serious and can lead to severe and even life-threatening health concerns. Trust in yourself and use your intuition to guide you as your explore medical, holistic, complementary and alternative approaches to your physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.