I was sick pretty much consistently for 10 years, even though I was “healthy” and fit. Mono and hepatitis at college; severe unrelenting IBS and depression through my blasé but-I-was-excellent-at-it-and-thus-successful career. But to make a real point, Uni (the universe: we were well-familiar by now) threw in a stalker complete with gun, a boss on the FBI’s most wanted list (for real!), an apartment fire (lost half my stuff), and another semi-serious car accident that gifted me 4 years of excruciating back pain and even more excruciating lawyers. Was I sensing that maybe I’m not fully grasping this game of life yet? Though there were contented and fun times in there too: “suitable” relationships, travel… there was nothing truly filling up my soul anywhere near the pace that things were sucking me dry. Mini-wins on the work-front and the unconditional love of my newborn niece Sam were the only things keeping my jar from empty.
We’re mid-show now… A good dose of shingles- AT AGE 33! – was chalked up to a relationship breakup. The antidote: hey, let’s jump another rung on the career-ladder-to-hell, not “hmmmm… perhaps we should rest and regroup”. Breakups were just another one-of-those-things that I funneled into the “that’s life, get on with it” file deep inside: the one that was blasting out its seams… via my health. IBS and depression continued, but Uni finally threw me a lifeline by way of an abusive and alcoholic manager. Seriously. The job change gave me just enough empowering energy to stand up to the bully-boss right away… paving the cliché path of an abusive relationship… which eventually pushed my internal ENOUGH!!! radar to EXPLOSIVE levels.
Relax, I didn’t go postal! I’ll briefly explain: My boss was a master manipulator and I very much parallel my experience with that of the battered wife*: the more I controlled my environment at work, the more he calculatingly offered up “roses” via accolades and promotions (i.e. distraction and stress) to keep me thinking my world was safe. Truth be known, I had a great job with optimum terms due to his brown-nosing. What I didn’t quite get was that his pandering kept me pre-occupied from taking any further workplace action: the others protecting his secret were already broken and no longer a threat. The toxicity was palpable, literally: our hearts raced and 16 auto-pilot switches kicked in whenever this narcissist entered the office.
[Okay… I SO want to elaborate here on how/why 16 folks could be so duped… it was an office of highly talented people, surely we all can’t be that oblivious!! But such is the nature of abuse: slow, sneaky…exhausting! And also, this office was high prestige: if “the Board” of highly respected individuals thought everything was okay… then maybe this management style was – – normal??! Alas, this is not totally relevant to my story today, so…]
Even though I’d built somewhat of a fortress around my job, the subtly caustic environment compounded the combustibility of my stress-driven internal fire. With my intuition and instinct literally SCREAMING at me, and with the guidance of a good therapist: I saw the light… and got the hell out of my life.
That exit took six years to come to fruition, SIX YEARS! – so utterly weird to comprehend when I’m a smart, strong, no b.s. kinda gal… and had clues of workplace dysfunction before my probationary period even lapsed. I am so over ANY confusion as to why it takes so long for abused women to leave!! They, like I, quite likely had a pre-programmed view of how success and happiness were made, and it included trusting bosses and husbands. I didn’t yet have a frame of reference that others in this world might operate from a different manual, one that didn’t include checkboxes: one that gave people permission to be themselves – good or evil. That workplace departure was accompanied by legal challenges, mental exhaustion, anger, fear and a few more years of deep depression, but I could feel – even during the depression, that it was all good. The high level at which I was coerced to work at within that job had enabled me to identify what my true gifts to the world are; the happy little sprite inside was coming out! It also shattered some old beliefs and behaviour patterns that, with the help of talk-therapy and mentors, were traced to their roots, forgiven and given guidance to follow my bliss. That abusive situation was the best thing that ever happened to me: BUT… I wish I had had the right tribesmen in my life guiding me to switch gears ten years earlier when I only had diarrhea!!
Man, do you know how many stories, elaborations and editorials exist behind EVERY SENTENCE of those paragraphs above: thousands!! Truly thousands. Each health issue has a corresponding belief at it’s core- I am quite convinced that paying more conscious attention to my life and thoughts would have eliminated or at least minimized each of my ailments. Even the car accident: it took me a few years to understand why a portion of the pain in my back disappeared within days of my accident trial ending – especially when I took a lot of time – A LOT of time – examining if any of my back pain was “psychosomatic” as of course, the insurance company claimed. I would have loved it to be psychosomatic: that would imply that I could make it go away, but alas, the pain was DEFINITIVELY real. And it was, now that I understand the thought-biochemistry connection and the foundation of functional medicine: my thoughts were keeping my stress, therefore pain, alive; and when my attention was no longer 24/7 on my trial, accident and back, the body could relax into its natural healing and the pain reduced. Go figure.
And I really want to be clear on the whole “the universe did it” reference- it’s not that “fate”, ethereal, universey thing completely out of your control:
I believe that our core being, the spirit that you know you can feel deep inside, is the real you: the one that does that thing you do in the middle of the living room when no one else can see or hear you; the one that knows exactly what makes you happy, what your gifts are and how sharing those gifts are going to make you feel and thus affect every other aspect of your life in a joyous way. The longer that you is starved of fuel, the more dysfunctional life becomes. Your body rebels, your mind rebels, your mood rebels: it’s not getting the Essential- capital E happy-chemicals (the inbred kind!) that joy and good thoughts supply your entire being. That in turn starts a ripple effect that leads who knows where. For instance, it affects your food choices, therefore your GI system, therefore your muscles, therefore your activity level… It would have affected how I chose to spend my time at 16, with uninspiring friends contributing perhaps to a mind not sharp enough to drive… so on and so forth. Your brain learns patterns that lead to healthy function or dysfunction, and can repeat them your whole life through. Uni is simply representative of the connection between all things, within you and without; and both the vitalness and vitality of consciousness. And living consciously is well within your control.
Conscious living is the ultimate message here, and through future posts, I’ll pull out smaller pieces of my story that will offer a more intimate look at the facts, feelings, challenges, outcomes, changes, wishes and actions that have taken my experiences from obliviousness and/or confusion to my current state of presence; and gratitude for the overt form that some of my life-lessons needed to take in order for me to re-authenticate me. My story has some great insight into seeing life more simply, more peacefully, more intentionally and naturally: in joy. By sharing openly, I offer raw wisdom, context, empathy, relatability and strategies to effectively mentor you. Maybe a book will come, who knows! Emma Stone will play me in the movie adaptation!
Ready to face your own reality?? This author takes no prisoners! Not sure exactly who wrote it, I found it reproduced on mdjunction.com (March 8, 2012):
The Real Reason
Your Life Sucks
This article is to help you get rid of the ‘victim’ mentality. To help you get rid of the fact that you think that your life sucks because other people make your life suck. That you’re overweight because you don’t have time to go to the gym or that your supermarket doesn’t sell vegetables. That you haven’t gotten laid in a year because nobody has approached you and asked you out.
Do you get the point…?
I used to have this ‘victim’ mentality too. I used to blame others for my unhappiness and the areas of my life that were way below average. It’s just the easy way out. It’s far too easy to say…”My life sucks because my parents, my boss, my friends and my boss driver make all my decisions for me and they are no good.”.
Do you want to hear the REAL reason that your life sucks?
No, I bet you don’t, but I’ll tell you anyway:
Next: Your life sucks because… (page 3)