Monday, October 13, 2008

Stigmata, Mind Body Connection

Mr. Curry has no work today, so we are both home. He's eating Organic Maple Oatmeal and I'm here, clacking away. I take Zoloft for anxiety and have been feeling a little dull lately. It makes me sad to feel a little dulled, but not. even. close. to as sad as I feel when I'm panicking. * I tried natural methods, I really, really really did. They didn't work well enough. *And that's nooo good for a Mommy of three, nietha. I have been incredibly anxious since childhood, because of the state of my family. There were a few good years, Mom tells me, but I only have glimpses of them, that always resolutely remind me of the way sunlight slips in and out of the clouds on an overcast day. Mostly I remember the sadness and the lonliness and the fear. I feel terrible about this for my Mother. Every single good memory I have revolves around her, and I can't imagine how hard it must be to have both of your children remember their childhood with such sadness.
I love my Mother.

It's amazing how much the body/mind connection has influenced my life. My parents took me to see some wildly inappropriate movies at the drive-in growing up, and one of them revolved around a young nun who had convinced herself that Christ had impregnated her at the nunnery, when indeed a man had raped her. She bled from her hands and feet. On the way home I asked about this. I was eight? Maybe nine? My parents explained stigmata to me, how a person's own will and mind creates the bleeding of Christ from their ankles, hands or feet, how some believe stigmata is a sign of God's hand.

Well I was fascinated. Dumbstruck with awe and horror. Not only did I have to deal with what was brutal, I could create brutality with my own mind? Did this mean that if i was afraid of something, I could make it real?

I have thought about this ever since.

life Pictures, Images and Photos

My anxiety has created a whole host of physical symptoms at times, ranging from tics to pain, from cold and hot patches of skin to a numb crawling of the nerves. Telling the difference between anxiety and a real symptom is impossible, especially since I do have endometriosis and hypothyroidism, both of which are autoimmune and come with a host of symptoms. I seem to have a particular genius for this kind of creation: I can fall asleep thinking of a toothache and wake up with throbbing molars. I can worry I'm pregnant and my breasts swell and throb. A young hypochondriac wrote a book about this phenom, and an article here at Salon.com.

On the other hand, I can use this power for good. When I was in the 5th grade, we had moved back from Jackson, Mississippi to San Diego, and I attended school in Pacific Beach, not knowing anyone, intimidated. However, I decided firmly that not only would I be the most popular girl at school that year, I would get straight A's.
Guess what happened? I was the most popular girl, and I got straight A's.

The problem is that I am full of fear. It ebbs, it flows, sometimes I feel I have won, but it lurks in my cells. My family history is one of brilliant alcoholic manic-depressive anxiety ridden men and women who have great accomplishments ( My Grandfather Ethridge was the Supreme Court Judge in Mississippi, for example, and wrote THIS ) but serious mental undoings. There is schizophrenia on BOTH sides of my family. Take this soup and mix in a scary childhood- and you get Me.

I like to think I've done an amazing job with this history. I found a therapist who saved my life, and saw her for years. I worked DAMN HARD, let me be sure to say, I hurt badly and struggled and made mistakes, but I never gave up. I had my son, and I knew the road ahead of me was hard, but I had to make it my own.

However, the fear lurks. I have a stronghold of weapons against it, most of all, greatest of all, Love. Not the idea of love, the actuality of it- Mr. Curry, holding me through hours of panic years ago, my daughter, falling asleep with her hand in her brother's, Dakota whispering to me in the late hours in his bed 'Mom I always know I"ll be OK, because you always believe in me. If you believe in me, I'll never give up' , Mr. Curry, changing diapers, walking crying babies, forcing himself to listen to his exhausted and frustrated wife at night when he should be sleeping, all the years of our marriage, the day in and day out of never. giving. up.

What we get from that struggle to rise above is pictures like the ones in the last post. We get the breath and smile and eyes of our children rising in front of our eyes when the skies go dark and that dull, sharp pain or hollowness threatens to consume: I know these are the things that will comfort and staid me in any darkness, illness or death....

I am hungry for information on the mind body connection; I want to know how to control my mind. There is a fantastic book, ' The Body Never Lies ' that is all about this, written by, I think, a British woman who is famous for her theories. She uses examples of famous men and women who suffered during childhood and then were very ill in adulthood, or died from their illness, as proof of her theory that holding down emotion, forcing forgiveness, muting pain, creates disease.

I am looking to create life. Life Pictures, Images and Photos

So here's to the praying (to a God I don't know is there or not), the exercise, the writing, the reading, the healthy eating, the vitamens, the talk therapy, the day to day doings, all that I gather to my chest, press into my body, to clear the past from my cells and create a mind-body at peace at last.
mind_bodyshop said...

Happiness is not a matter of events, it depends upon the tides of the mind.

melissa c said...

I really felt this post. There are 9 kids in my family. The older ones don't seem to have many good memories of their childhoods. It is sad. I saw thing I wish I hadn't but it was no where near the older kid's experiences.

I am so sorry to hear about your uphill battle with anxiety. It does sound like you are taking care of it as best you can. I believe there is a connection between the mind and body. It's no surprise you have the problems you do with what you have experienced. I am so proud of you for what you have accomplished so far. It sounds like you have the man of the century. That IS true love. Love is a verb in my opinion.

Keep praying. I truly believe in God. I know he's real and there. I have had too many experiences to say otherwise. I believe he is a loving Heavenly Father who grieves when we do. I also think he allows us to go through the hard times. I don't believe he causes them or makes bad things happen but he is governed by the law of free agency.

I think he has stepped in and causes miracles to happen but those are far and few between. He uses us to make miracles happen most of the time.

Remember, you are a beautiful chunk of gold that is being refined. He'll let you go back into the fire over and over until the gold is pure.

Think of it this way. When we suffer and go through trials, we grow the most. But I believe he is right there with us if we want him to be. If I really try to listen, I'll hear a small, quiet voice whisper. Maybe I'm psycho but I don't think so! he he

This may sound corny to some, but I also think Satan is as real as God is. There are opposites in all things. He certainly doesn't want you to be happy or successful. Don't listen to his stupid discouraging diatribes! He's insane and doesn't know what he's talking about! he he

Anyway, love you! Have a good day.

steenky bee said...

OMG. (and that's coming from someone who hates to type that) I have this irrationall fear that if I imagine something too vividly, it will happen, but in a twisted, monkey paw-like way. Somtimes, I find myself day dreaming and I'll have to reverse it almost exactly opposite so it doesn't happen. My brain knows these events are just coincidence, but my mind doesn't. It's difficult to explain, but it scares me sometimes.

Jen said...

you are am amazing writer. I really enjoyed that post. I could just feel that emotional struggle that you have. I really do hope that you find that mind body peace.

Annie King said...

Love is definitely the key, the love we express to other humans, and for ourselves. As a child, I dreaded my father and I loved my mother. My father fed my anger. My mother fed my self-confidence. I feel like her love is what saved my self-esteem.

The simple things, like eating reasonably well and getting regular sleep, go a long way toward peace of mind. I agree we need to process our pain, rather than bury it, but we can coax it to recede into the background, and pull it out when we feel the need to examine it, or to cry.

I personally believe that praying is optional, but for every person, whatever works, what ever feels right. There’s a stock phrase: What can I do at this moment to make myself feel better? Good luck with everything, and don't pile too many "shoulds" on yourself!

Steph said...

Thank you for this post.

Lorie said...

I also struggle with anxiety in my everyday life. Some days, I am (as fine as) I can be and then suddenly, it hits me like a ton of bricks.

I have lost my faith in God and in myself. As corny as that might said, I am trying everyday to forgive myself, and allow him back into my life.

You are an amazing writer, I have spent the good chunk of my morning reading your blog. Truly gifted and surrounded by love. You are quite lucky =)

Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Lola said...

I truly believe that you can think yourself into pain and sickness. I'm just not convinced that you can always think your way out of it. Sometimes you just need help.

There is a disconnect for me there. I want it to be true. I want to believe that you can change your life by changing your thinking, but...

I was challenged on my way of thinking when a friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer that had spread all over her body. She basically declared that she would be fine, and she went through a double mastectomy, chemo, radiation, the whole miserable deal with nothing more than a great attitude and a lot of weed.

It was amazing to watch. She never complained and never once believed that she would not be okay. Seven years later, she's going strong cancer-free.

I'm not so sure I could be that strong.

Maggie May said...

oh my God Lola that is an amazing story. do you think your friend would be interested in doing an interview? with me, i mean.

Lola said...

She's pretty private and doesn't believe that what she's been through is anything worth talking about, but I'll ask her if you want.

I'm not kidding you that to her it was just like having a really bad cold. She volunteered at school and took her daughters to dance with her bald head and never ever showed an ounce of fear to any of us. She even kept going to the gym through it all, except when she wasn't supposed to be around anyone during the radiation.

Then when they found it in her thyroid a year later and had to take that out, she almost died during surgery. I got ten urgent phone calls, saying she might never wake up. The next day, when I called her room in the hospital expecting to get her husband, she answered and told me she was scrapbooking. WTF?

We all just sat back and watched with our mouths hanging open the whole time.

shauna said...

I found you through NieNie and can completely relate with this post (and much of what you write about on your blog). For about four months I've awakened to just how much of my life has been lived in fear with the acute understanding that if I don't reverse it, I'm literally going to make myself sick. So I, like you, have hungered for anything connecting that mind/body connection and I've had to work really hard to think more positively and feel happy, joyous emotions (who would think that could be so hard?). If it helps, here's some books I found:

1. The Miracle of Change by Mirriam Williamson (it's about replacing the fear in our lives with love).

2. The Anatomy of the Spirit (talks about how toxic thoughts and emotions lead to an ailing body)

3. Remembering Wholeness by Carroll Tuttle

4. And you've probably already heard about You Can Heal Your Life by Louis Hay--it's fabulous.

Good luck! I'll return often...

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