It’s been a while now hasn’t it? Normally this is where I would do an entire post just riddling you with updates, but I’m feeling the need to get something else off of my chest. BUT I feel like an update is still important so let’s get to it quickly right now:
- I graduate from my Masters of Counselling program and am now a provisional psychologist (with a part time private practice!!)
- I started a podcast with a few of my besties and it’s been a wild but amazing journey
- I GOT ENGAGED!!! (cue picture below) he did good and my heart is so full. Wedding planning has been not as terrible as I imagined (I’ve never pictured my wedding before, so I felt like I was starting from ground 0) and I said YES TO THE DRESS last weekend.
- I am still not in remission. I am in clinical remission but not endoscopic remission. I still have some inflammation, but no new ulcers and all my polyps were removed. Clinical trial is still responding well to me and I only had 2 blips that were managed quickly.
- I got my vaccine and lived to tell the tale. Honestly, I spent a lot of time considering my options and felt that this was the best decision for me.
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s get down to it and why after MONTHS I felt the need to write again.
As many may know, my 5 year symptom anniversary (the day I first felt sick) is coming up in October. Its been weighing on my mind a lot lately. I feel like so much of my life and the direction I thought I was going to go has changed. I think in so many ways this journey has made me a stronger person, but its also made me fucking tired LOL. And it’s given me anxiety.
Basically, its just changed a lot.
But today I had training for EMDR, which is basically a form of therapy in which you are reprocessing difficult/traumatic memories in your brain. As I work with trauma, naturally it was recommended I get this training. Cool. I was okay with that. Part of this training however, is having the practice performed on you so that you can understand what it feels like to be the client. Also understandable. But it meant that we had to bring to the table real problems we were having and, as I quickly learnt, problems that maybe I wasn’t fully ready to admit how much they bugged me.
For my first weekend I spent time reprocessing a lot of feelings that have come up as a result of my health issues. We started with a memory I had of my self in grade 1, where I started to first FEEL like I was different from other kids because of my hearing issues. I learnt through this process that a huge negative cognition I carry is that I believe I will never be good enough. Without getting into too much detail, I basically had to deal with this anger I carried towards myself for not having a body that did what it’s supposed to do. For having a body that constantly made me feel like I was playing catch up. And I felt this rage I had with myself. But by the end of the session, I came to a better understanding that I was punishing myself for something I couldn’t control.
Okay. I felt okay with that ending. I knew it wasn’t completely resolved and that suddenly I would stop being angry at myself, but I gave myself a place to start that felt safe and this was good.
Fast forward to today.
Now I have been working my ASS off trying to work on my body image and self-esteem. This has been an issue for me for YEARS and something I have really mentally torn myself about. I think I am cute, I think I can get by, but I have very little self-esteem so I come off very shy and awkward. I just literally don’t think I have much to offer so I shut down and keep to myself.
I knew this about myself, but I was on some level (I thought) okay with this. It was something I was aware of and something I was slooooowly working on.
Well today just ripped that idea up into pieces and told me “ma’am you have worked on jack shit in regards to your self-esteem” and when I tell ya’ll I was not ready for today…… I was not ready at all.
So today I started reprocessing this negative belief that I just hated my body. On some level there is a part of me that still has so much anger for my body and in turn for myself. I flashed back to my grade 5 self when I started noticing all my friends developing and I was this string bean. I started noticing when boys were giving my friends attention but I always got friend zoned. I mean I think I focused too much on my friends that I probably missed opportunities because I thought that there just wasn’t any way a guy could like me. That wasn’t my thing. I was just friends with all of the guys.
And I am the first to admit that I am an emotional person. I will be that person ugly crying over Facebook videos or Tik tok videos of people reuniting with family or pets. I tear up sometimes with clients because I’m just so moved. And my last weekend of EMDR training I sobbed and was okay with this. But this time I fought it SO hard. I just could not let myself go there and cry about my body. And as I was forced to notice what was going on a new memory flashed before my eyes of growing up and being told that I couldn’t have body issues because I was skinny. I was not allowed to cry over my body, because girls like me shouldn’t have body issues. And so for years I carried this idea but it felt incongruent to how I actually felt about my body. So to cope with this incongruence, I just detached. Now I didn’t have to think about it.
So here I am today, thinking about all those times I tried so hard to love my body and some days we got somewhere, but I always wound up back to not loving her, but thinking I couldn’t be upset about this so I just detached until it bothered me again, and then we went back into this cycle.
And I’m sharing this because it made me realize the thing I need more than to love my body right now, is to just give space to these feelings. To tell myself it is actually very much okay to cry about my body.
I struggled to gain weight, to the point that I was eating 3000 calories a day and still nothing. I had to deal with always being underweight and concerns always being brought up by my parents or doctors and feeling helpless because I couldn’t do anything it felt like. I had to deal with stares and snide remarks that maybe I had an eating disorder (which is a serious issue that should be met with sensitivity even if that was the case-which its not). I had to deal with a period that was probably very much impacted by my weight (I didn’t get my period until I was in grade 8 or 9). And it just kept building.
I would go on to become an adult and get diagnosed with endometriosis, further plummeting my self-esteem. This may be TMI for my brother or dad, so don’t read this paragraph. But ya’ll I fucking hated sex. It hurt, it was uncomfortable, and I just did not feel sexy. I think sexiness takes a huge level of confidence and with confidence anyone can be sexy, but I don’t have that. I thought I needed bigger boobs, a big butt, and at least some desire for sex in order to be sexy. Sex at the time was just doing it because that’s what the guy wanted for me. Now, it’s better but there is still a struggle I have in terms of confidence.
Then came UC, where I watched my body fluctuate between weight loss and weight gain. There were months where I would be 87 pounds to quickly being 105. Prednisone just kept it all in my face and I mean let’s be real, it’s hard to feel hot when you feel like shit. I absolutely loathed by body in the beginning. I felt betrayed and hurt that again my body let me down. I had a growing list: congenital ear problems, asthma, eczema, hyperthyroid, endometriosis, and now UC.
So as I sat there, reflecting on all the reasons it was okay to cry, it finally happened. I cried. And it felt good. It felt so so good to give myself that permission. To acknowledge my pain and validate it.
So the moral of this entire post is that no one knows your struggles better than you. And you are going to hear opinions from every living and breathing soul, and this is, along with other things like social media, is going to impact that tiny inner critic you have. And it is hard. But someday you will be ready to challenge that voice and realize it’s actually okay to feel the way you do. It is okay to want to just feel safe in your body. I don’t think I’ve ever truly felt safe in my body and this was a huge blow to me. And I know it’s going to take some time for me to process and I am trying REALLY hard not to detach. But I wanted to share this message for anyone else who may be going through this struggle. I want you to know that you are not alone, just like I thought. That you are not being unreasonable and most importantly that what you want does matter. And I hope in time, we can both find our healing.
I’m not sure where I am going to start with all of this information and new realizations, but I felt the need to just get it down and out of my head.
So thanks for reading my rant and I hope that anyone reading this feels maybe a little less alone. We can struggle and still be happy. We can struggle and still want better. I think this is a part of human nature.
With that being said, I’m going to bed because I have more training tomorrow. So toodles and have a great night/day.
P.s. if you ever need someone to talk to, know you can always reach out!