Month: March 2014

Holistic Detoxification Process w/ Crystal Honeycutt

Holistic Detoxification Process w/ Crystal Honeycutt

Last week I asked Crystal if she would be willing to write a few words about the detox and wellness program I’m following from her viewpoint as an expert. She went above and beyond and created this great video. I know you’ll enjoy it! If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in a comment and one of us will try to answer them.

 

Day #1 – I’m a Coward

Day #2 – The Morning after the Night Before

Day #3 – There are No Words

Day #4 – Coming Full Circle

Day #5 & #6 – Hyped Up and Nowhere to Go

Day #7 – The Body, Mind, Spirit Connection

Day #8 & #9 – A Word About Trauma

Day #10 – Food for Fun

We All Need Support

 

We All Need Support

We All Need Support

Anna Ravera WATERCOLOR
Anna Ravera WATERCOLOR

It took far longer than I would like it to have taken, for me to understand what real “support” looks like. I’m a rebellious sort, by  nature or nurture it’s hard to say, and I have never liked people telling me what to do, think, or say. It’s one of the primary reasons I did not pursue ordination after I graduated from seminary.  I couldn’t buy into any one denomination so completely that I felt I could follow their rules and dictates, nor did I want someone telling me how, when and where  to live out my faith. (I was ever so idealistic and naive!)

Instead of living under the umbrella of organized religion, I chose as soon as possible to become self-employed.  Sometimes I envied people who could cozy up to a group, business or organization and make it their life. It provided structure, guidance, answers to questions that required no thought, or questioning, or finding one’s way through the dark. Going it alone can mean little if any support, unless you make a conscious effort to seek it. As an introvert, I did not and I rarely had time.

Years ago I believed that a “supportive friend” was one with whom I could commiserate; someone who would rally behind me in my anger and frustrations with life. Of course, I would return the favor. I remember the exact day I decided I was done with that kind of support.

In my late twenties, I was working for a small non-profit organization, drowning in politics and drama. Caught in the middle of the fray, I was fired. Understandably stunned, upset and angry,  I went home and started calling whoever I thought would understand and see things my way.

After several days on the phone with various friends and co-workers, I came to the conclusion I was not getting what I wanted. In fact,  it was making matters worse. Some of the people I was “sharing” with weren’t even really on my side.  In fact, I was drowning in pity, judgement and platitudes, and feeling more and more inadequate and flawed by the minute.  In that moment, I decided I would never again share my problems with anyone, especially in that way.  I was on to something, but it took me many more years to take the step I really needed to take.

I went on to use a different flawed approach, going it alone. Except for my husband, I shared my personal life with no one, unless I was paying for the privilege. That didn’t stop me from listening, supporting and empathizing with the few  friends that I did have over the years.  By the time I reached fifty, I was crumbling fast. I was burned out. I was carrying a weight so heavy I was practically crawling on my knees.

It wasn’t until the accident, that I finally stumbled upon the real solution. I was no longer on my hands and knees, I was flat-out, face first in the mud. I couldn’t breathe or move, let alone think or feel my way out of the place I was in. Every ounce of security I had once felt, and I admit it was not a ton, had evaporated through my fingers. I could trust no one and nothing, most especially  myself.

Immediately after the accident my focus was on my hand. Several times a week my husband drove me to rehab, as I could not drive, and there I received loving care and emotional support from Jane, the physical therapist who worked with me. As look back on it, she did as much for my emotional state as she did my hand; helped me find the courage to keep going and to believe in a positive outcome.

It took two years for my hand to heal enough that I no longer was constantly reminded of the injury by my difficulties with typing, removing jar or gripping the steering wheel of the car.  The stiffness and pain was also within an acceptable range. Now, I’ve gotten used to the scars and the way my pinky turns under. I didn’t know that I had yet to face the bigger challenge of PTSD.

Unable to think clearly, leave the house, drive a car, or return to my writing with any sense of purpose or direction, I began to consider seeking help. For what, I really didn’t know.  What I knew was that I was terrified to go to sleep at night; that I could not “feel” my feelings; that I was not “in” my body; that I had panic attacks regularly and often over little things. During the day I was riveted to my chair in the living room by fear and immobility. At night, I managed to get myself to sleep by listening to ebooks by such life savers as Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Byron Katie, Brene Brown and so many others. That was my first step in find support and comfort.

As I look back on it now, getting back on my feet has been a step by step process that absolutely required the support of friends and professionals, but friends and professionals who “got me”, who did not offer me platitudes,  pity,  judgment,  opinions, or unasked for advice. What I needed, and what I’ve come to believe everyone needs, is understanding, compassion, wisdom and a willingness to believe in us, when we no longer believe in ourselves. We need people in our lives who reflect back to us our truest self, with love.

What I have also come to accept about myself is that I need support from people who can go deep; who can speak to me in the symbolic language of soul and spirit where I live. Traditional therapy, while I have spent more hours and days engaged in such over my lifetime, has never been particularly helpful, or healing. When I turned to Crystal for help, I turned in the right direction. I’ve learned so incredibly much from working with her and it was possible because she has always seen me as a whole person, body, mind and spirit. She addresses all of my needs while challenging me to step up to the plate.

My dear, wonderful friend Jill also has the capacity to listen to my heart, to challenge my mind and to encourage me to grow and stretch into the center of me. She reflects back to me my real self.  These two people, their advice, guidance and counsel provided the foundation for my growing understanding of support.  It doesn’t take a dozen friends, it just takes one or two of the right ones and then choosing bit by bit to make oneself vulnerable and open to their love and care.

When you are looking support, look for someone who listens carefully to what you are saying, who can empathize with you and validate your experiences, all the while maintaining enough distance and perspective to offer insight and perspective when asked.  Sounds easy and sensible, but hard to find, even in therapists and especially in healthcare professionals.  Above all else, TRUST OUR INTUITION.

Often the hardest part about getting back on our feet is taking the first step when we’d rather curl up in a ball and die, to muster up the courage and strength to risk again and again until a support system is established. Not to risk is to stay broken, to continue to hurt, to give up and give in to despair and defeat. The only way out is through, and no one else can do it for us.

Dorothy Sander 2014 copyright

 

Day #1 – I’m a Coward

Day #2 – The Morning after the Night Before

Day #3 – There are No Words

Day #4 – Coming Full Circle

Day #5 & #6 – Hyped Up and Nowhere to Go

Day #7 – The Body, Mind, Spirit Connection

Day #8 & #9 – A Word About Trauma

Day #10 – Food for Fun

We All Need Support

Holistic Detoxification Process

 

 

Food for Fun – Day #10

Food for Fun – Day #10

Durham BullsToday I woke up more clear-headed than I have in centuries! The ebb and flow of anxiety and depression has become less severe. I feel fatigued at times if I try to do too much, or don’t keep my food intake up. While all is not perfect, I am feeling better and better each day. In fact, I felt so much better last night I had an overwhelming desire to go to Tutti Fruiti’s for a big cup of frozen yogurt to celebrate! How else does one celebrate….anything!

Food as a form of celebration, fun, reward, and relaxation is deeply ingrained in my body, mind and spirit. My husband and I always plan where we will eat whenever we do anything for enjoyment. It’s part of the outing.

He loves to cook and loves to eat and his favorite pastime is planning our meals, in or out. Whether it’s a picnic on a trip or going out to a nice restaurant, it’s a central focus. Fortunately, we eat fairly well most of the time and our finances have never allowed us to indulge in dining out on a regular basis, but a change in perspective will have to be made for me to hold fast to this new lifestyle.

Finding ways to enjoy time together, without food as a significant part of the experience, will be a challenge. Every year we go to opening night at the Durham Bull’s. It’s coming up in a couple of weeks, and while the game and ambiance is always enjoyable, ballpark food is part of the fun. It’s something we only do once or twice a year. Much of it I could do with out, and usually do, but there are a few items….well, I’m just going to miss. I do not want to slip into deprivation mode on such occasions, especially if my husband chooses to indulge.

Scott has been cooking up a storm for me and helping in every way he can. Still, I know he is struggling with deprivation. He wants to support me, but he wants his pasta! I keep telling him to cook and eat what he wants, and I will take care of me, but I think he’s trying to eat healthier, and for the moment is sticking with it .  It’s made cooking more challenging for him,  allowing for fewer opportunities for creative expression.

These are all things to sort out and it will take time to do so.  Change is never easy. Even if it’s entirely worth it!

Day #1 – I’m a Coward

Day #2 – The Morning after the Night Before

Day #3 – There are No Words

Day #4 – Coming Full Circle

Day #5 & #6 – Hyped Up and Nowhere to Go

Day #7 – The Body, Mind, Spirit Connection

Day #8 & #9 – A Word About Trauma

Day #10 – Food for Fun

We All Need Support

Holistic Detoxification Process

Along the Path of Healing

A Word About Trauma – Day #8 & #9

A Word About Trauma – Day #8 & #9

lotus light

Three years ago, I was involved in a car accident that changed my life  forever. Driving 65 mph on a heavily traveled highway,  pelted by the torrential rain of a tropical storm that was moving up the northeast coast,  a pickup truck pulling a trailer entered the highway from a rest stop on the opposite side of the highway from where we were traveling. Driving at excessive speeds, he lost control, crossed the highway, and after one near miss ultimately  landed a perfect strike with his trailer, hitting us broadside and drop kicking us six ways to Sunday.  We rolled four times, my side hitting first and absorbing the force of the initial impact.

I did not see it coming. I had not been paying attention as my husband was driving. In those seconds that we tumbled violently and relentlessly,  I thought I was dreaming. I was confused. Just as fast as those thought flew through my mind, the realization that it was real and not a dream followed quickly, though still deeply enmeshed in feelings of unreality. Disoriented.

Our external injuries were minor, thanks to the many safety features cars have these days. The side air bag deployed, and the structure of the car folded like an accordion. Besides the shattered glass enmeshed in our arms, faces and heads, and a severe laceration that later required surgery to my hand, we were “okay”.  My husband was able to get out of the car. I was removed with the jaws of life and we were both transported by ambulance to a trauma center nearby, where I spent several days.

What was never addressed, either by the hospital, or subsequently, by the medical professionals who oversaw my healing and rehabilitation process, was the TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) I received and the PTSD I have lived with ever since. I received no treatment of any kind for either from the medical community, nor was my insurance company willing to acknowledge or compensate me adequately for same, a subject warranting attention at a later time.

This life circumstance has led me on a three-year journey in search of my health, both mental and physical, and a means of reestablishing some sense of security in the world. Largely a hit and miss endeavor,  that depended on my health and mental clarity at any given time, I found my way, step by step, bit by bit, to a growing understanding of what had happened to me and the nature of trauma and the healing process.

I learned from professionals of all kinds, both face to face and through books, lectures and research. Each in their own way has helped me add a piece to the puzzle and to carve out a path of healing that involves the healing of all of me. If one’s body is healed, but an inability to enjoy and embrace life remains, healing is not complete.

A decade or more ago, PTSD was viewed as a “soldier’s ailment”, and not something the average person might experience.  Trauma, however, comes in many forms and guises. The war veteran carries one type of wound, the woman who has experienced a violent rape another, and an individual who has been the victim of verbal abuse over an extended period of time another.  What all hold in common is a deep, abiding sense that life is not safe, that what they have experienced does not make sense. There is no rest. There is no life without fear.  

Scientists of all types have made enormous strides in the study of trauma and its treatment, in part because of the war in Mid-East, aided by the technical advances that have fostered the dissemination of information and research results in recent years. This research, while incredibly valuable for the future treatment of PTSD and trauma, has not yet filtered down to the average person or the majority of healing practices.

The program that I began ten days ago with Crystal, is a necessary piece of my healing puzzle. I have made enormous strides, but in many ways the trauma of the accident, layered on top of previous life traumas, has become locked in at the cellular level and has not been an easy thing to overcome. I may never completely regain the view of life I had prior to the accident, and in some ways I hope I do not.  It was a gift, insofar as it forced me to take stock of myself and my life at a very deep level. I might never have done so otherwise. What I do hope is that I will learn to live without chronic fear, and with the ability to face of whatever life has to hand me with resiliency.

I owe a deep debt of gratitude to a whole band of professionals that have supported, educated and inspired me throughout this journey.

D. Sander 2014 copyright

Day #1 – I’m a Coward

Day #2 – The Morning after the Night Before

Day #3 – There are No Words

Day #4 – Coming Full Circle

Day #5 & #6 – Hyped Up and Nowhere to Go

Day #7 – The Body, Mind, Spirit Connection

The Body, Mind, Spirit Connection – Day #7

The Body, Mind, Spirit Connection – Day #7

Artist Pino
Mother and Daughter
by Pino

Our modern culture has, in my opinion, a tendency to pull things apart into quantifiable pieces.  Our society has become so complex and diverse that our drive to understand and manage it, has led to habits of thought that compartmentalize.  We judge from a distance what we do not know or understand personally. Science, medicine and business view the individual through the lens of this type of judgment. Our natural state of connectivity and free communication between is disrupted.

We are not just our minds and what we can achieve with them. We are not just our bodies and what we can do or attract with them. We are not just our spirit that can thrive independently from the body that holds it, or the mind that directs it and connects it to the world. We are all three at once, perpetually interacting,  supporting,  and balancing. If we mistreat one, we mistreat the other. If we care for one, we are care for the other.

When women objectify their bodies, manipulate, control, abuse and defy their physical needs, they lose touch with their spirit, their guide, their life force in a way that can be profound. They use their minds to support this endeavor and in the process, taking it away from more important, valuable and creative pursuits.

I was reminded of this today when Crystal led me on a guided imagery meditation. Over the last week I have been so focused on what my body was, and wasn’t doing, on the new food regimen and making sure I was doing all of the right things, including keeping my food journal and taking the right supplements at the right time, that I did not give enough attention to my spiritual/emotional needs. I did not address the issues that were arising. Through the guided imagery I was able to call back my spirit and to find balance once again, which will only enhance the process of healing.

A healing and wellness regimen, to be effective, takes into consideration all aspects of who we are, and listens to the voice of each. Each has unique wounds to heal. Each has unique wisdom to offer in the support of the other.

STATUS

Body: As I mentioned yesterday, I was reeeaally wound up, mentally and physically, while at times feeling extremely weak and anxious. Crystal suggested that this was likely something to do with my body cranking up to start working right again. (I’m hoping she will join me here to give the more educated version of these things, but in the meantime….) She told me to add an apple with almond butter for my afternoon snack (Yippeee!!!) and humus, nut crackers and dark chocolate for my before bed snack. The former I had in the house and savored every little bite of it and within twenty felt considerably better. I did the same for my night-time snack. The thought of eating chocolate also scared me to death. I was afraid if a bite in my mouth I might eat the entire bar.

Mind: Clarity. Haze lifting. Wow! I can think again.

Spirit: I am learning to feel safe again…slowly. Striving to see my fears as the illusions they are, to nurture, care for and embrace the sad and lonely child within me, and to tend and care for the hurting, broken woman who would rather curl up and die than hurt another minute.

Day #1 – I’m a Coward

Day #2 – The Morning after the Night Before

Day #3 – There are No Words

Day #4 – Coming Full Circle

Day #5 & #6 – Hyped Up and Nowhere to Go

Hyped Up and Nowhere to Go – Days 5 & 6

Hyped Up and Nowhere to Go – Days 5 & 6

too much coffeeI’m completely blown away by how much energy I have in such a short amount of time. At times I don’t think my body knows what to do with it, as I often feel keyed up (for lack of better expression) or HOT! I think I’m past the hot flash stage, but maybe I woke my hormones up.  That might not be all bad!

Yesterday,  the keyed up thing did not feel good unless I was doing something; felt more like one might feel when you drink too much coffee. I couldn’t stop talking, or thinking, or writing, or doing…and I just wanted to chill! Poor Scott wanted to put a sock in my mouth — and to think I used to be quiet! My massage therapist told me on Saturday that she could feel so much energy coming from my head that it was clear my brain was working overtime! We didn’t stop talking through the whole thing, so the massage was no help in that regard.

It occurred to me that the last three years I have been largely shut down. The first year after the accident I pretty much just sat in a chair. I didn’t go anywhere or do anything besides a little writing and such. I almost never left the house except for rehab or doctor’s appointments. The second year was only slightly better. I did go more places, albeit reluctantly, and move my body some. The third year I have been on a roller coaster of feeling good and crashing. I walked almost every day, unless I was in the valley. So perhaps, and I’m waiting for Crystal’s input, I’m firing up the engines and need to move! 🙂

I’ve accomplished more in the past week than I’ve accomplished in the last month. My brain is clearer, my focus is better and believe it or not, I’m doing better with the limited food choices.

I’m going to end this and go put up some info on what I’m doing. I’ve appreciated all the support I’ve been receiving.  I wasn’t even looking for it when I began this blog. I just needed to help process the whole thing as I went and to help me find perspective. It has been such a bonus to talk to all of you and to exchange thoughts and experiences. Thank you! You’ve made it easier. DS

Day #1 – I’m a Coward

Day #2 – The Morning after the Night Before

Day #3 – There are No Words

Day #4 – Coming Full Circle

Day #5 & #6

Day #7 – The Body Mind Spirit Connection