Pain in your body? Understand the mind body connection. I want to share a CRAZY personal experience about the mind body connection that happened the other day. I hope you can relate to parts of it and apply it to YOUR life. We are all work in progress. So please apply this to YOU as you read (even though it’s my story).
Mind body connection as a child
The body has memory too; not just the mind. Let me start with a little background. My grandmother, who raised me, had a horrendous childhood. Of course born in 1919, there was no talk of mind body connections and her generation never sought therapy. She was in pain for as long as I can remember and no doctors ever found anything wrong with her. Even as a teenager, I understood the mind body connection of her depression and aliments.
She also complained about a painful acidic stomach. By the time I was in middle school, I had the same problem. I never told anyone until today and assumed it’s just genetics. In my 30s, the doctor prescribed acid reflux medication which I didn’t take because it didn’t help. Instead, I worked on my breathing and had forgotten about this for the last 15 years or so.
Well, it came back the other day!!! How? Why? And along came 24-7 of nausea for 2 weeks. What is wrong with me??!!! Am I pregnant (not possible!)? I tried to cut out certain foods thinking I may have developed an allergy. Have you experienced sudden and chronic changes in your body?
Mind body connection and symptoms
Due to circumstances as a child, I suffered from a lot of depression, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, etc. unbeknownst to anyone in my family. I have worked on my growth for decades and life is so good now. Sadly, something happened with a family member that was very hurtful and brought me right back to my abandonment issues from childhood. All those childhood physical symptoms came back seemingly out of my control. The body has memory and there’s a mind body connection.
I used everything in my toolkit from compassion to empathy, gratitude, changing mindset, reframing, positive thinking, distraction, “it’s not about me”, I breathed and told myself I am safe, loved, and just about everything. Nothing worked. I didn’t talk to anyone about this but my acidic stomach came back like that scared little 4th grader (my first memory of all this), my chest was constricted, and it felt like someone was chocking my throat. And of course, I had many sleepless nights for at least 2 weeks. Do you share similar symptoms?
My mind is safe and my body is healed
I finally called a therapist, and she said something that never occurred to me. Working in this field, I felt like I have plenty of tools to get me through this but we all need external perspective. Like night and day, my acidic stomach and nausea disappeared. My body must have been in fight-or-flight mood.
I’ve heard it said that “being clear is kind; being unclear is unkind.” It’s scary to be vulnerable, and most of us choose to hurt others instead of being vulnerable. I commend you on your search for growth amongst the discomfort. That is the first step ALL my clients take – bravery. It’s NOT easy, so give yourself a pat on the back for welcoming change; it is the only constant after all. Plus, know that change does not have to be chaotic. “Growth happens at the end of your comfort zone,” and this looks very different for all of us from nutrition to weight loss, exercise, boundaries, pain relief, digestion, self-care, etc.
My demons still upraise from time to time. We all have negative emotions to varying degrees and that’s normal. You and I can take charge of what we CAN CONTROL, overwhelm our system with GRATITUDE, and focus on the PRESENT.
Support is the key to success.
What aliments do you have? The body keeps score and it speaks to us, at times through pain/disease. Can you make the mind-body connection? What stories do you tell yourself that may not be completely true?
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~ Samantha Hua, Online Nutrition Coach & Holistic Health Coach, San Diego, CA