Song Dedication: Here I Go Again by Whitesnake
A year ago…yes I know…my favourite phrase to give chronological context…but nonetheless, a year ago I was still struggling with chronic migraines…4 or 5 a week. This blog held a handful of scattered posts basically written as pleas to myself, to listen, to be still, to accept myself for every piece and part no matter how broken I had found myself laying scattered at the bottom of the wall next to poor Humpty Dumpty (what a handle).
So today I chose to reflect back to give myself context to exactly one year ago by post to see where I was at then, but rather than a pice of writing filled with abandonment issues and chronic conditions I read this: Life Lessons from a Baggage Handler. And I was right about one thing, although I seemed to be addressing anyone who works with children, I now know it was intended for all human beings, mostly myself. Myself, because even then I held so much knowing about what I alone needed to heal, but had to frame it in the context of others, which at the time was the only language I knew how to communicate in: outwardness, otherness.
Since then I have been able to shift my perspective and see the oneness in beingness. What I thought I would find in that baggage handler piece was frustration about the medical system, my trauma, being let down, but it was no where to be seen, even though the glimmer of that time in my life reflected back in my head was war: me against everything. Opposition and struggle.
The reason I am reflective on my struggle at this point is because I had a doctor’s appointment yesterday. It was a routine follow-up to cover a few test results and discuss next steps for work. While I sat in the exam room waiting for the Doc, I read Viktor Frankl’s words on struggle. An Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist, he was a survivor of four different concentration camps during the Holocaust, so he knows a thing or two about human suffering (I am being facetious…mad respect for this man and his work).
This is what I read as the Doctor stepped though the door:
Instead of possibilities, I have realities in my past, not only the reality of work done and love loved, but of sufferings bravely suffered. These sufferings are even the things of which I am most proud, though these are things which cannot inspire envy.
p122 Man’s Search for Meaning
This struck me like a giant spotlight illuminating the unknown around me, the anxieties of not knowing the answers to future projections like, When will you be ready to return to teaching?
I sat in the knowing of only that very moment. I am still healing, I am still experiencing varying levels of pain throughout the day, I am still attending various health appointments and so, I am not ready to return to teaching. Those were the facts, anything foretelling the future was not within my realm to explain. And when I tried to anticipate an outcome, it only brought anxiety, which my body has learned is a warning siren that a boundary is being broached. So I backed off and anxiety followed suit.
We shared an enlightening discussion about possible options moving forward in any changes to my treatment but I was able to discern that although my improvements have been incremental at best, they are still improvements. And just like The Supremes sing “You Can’t Hurry Love” I think “love” can be replaced with “healing”…although I understand why this was not the lyric chosen…not nearly as catchy as an upbeat love song…healing songs rarely make Top 40.
Bottom line was yesterday I left my GP’s office feeling seen, heard and mutually respected. He agreed, I still have work to do, and reassured me that if he too were in my shoes (well boots, because that’s all you can wear in this polar ice-fuck vortex), he would stay the course. Adding this sentiment to modern day Western medicine, it can be frustrating and discouraging that “they” don’t see meditation, yoga, breath work, therapy, diet and exercise as “enough” and so instead expect there to be a side of pharmaceutical ingestion thrown in to quicken the results. He may have thrown in some colour of the bullshit and effing junk variety too, which as you may know is my jam;) . He sent me on my way with a letter supporting my leave until the end of June.
I see now that human suffering is inevitable but when it is accepted instead of resisted, it allows us to flourish. I will not placate my suffering with addictions to work, or food, or shopping or negative self-talk. I will not find my worth in outward stimulus and public approval. I will stay the course until this healing business is done, and maybe it will never be fully realized, however I’d rather go into tomorrow with a healthy, strong scar that is a tight and itchy reminder of lessons learned rather than risk re-rupture.