Every so often I toy with the idea of going back to school and getting my Ph.D. in Spanish. But I never do, and I think I’ve finally figured out the reason why. Apparently, I’m already doing a post-doc in Suffering and Doing Things The Hard Way. Or, to be more accurate, I’m doing extensive research into how to unlearn this.
Back when I was about to turn 29 and I saw the rest of my life stretching out before me as an endless procession of unhappiness and dissatisfaction, I decided that I had had enough, and by God, I was GOING TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO BE HAPPY! So I hired my very first coach and got to work.
Now, 6 years later, I have completely transformed myself and my life. And what’s more, I’ve gotten really good at no longer staying stuck in anyplace where I’m suffering emotionally. This is not to say that I never have hard times or never feel anger, sadness, disappointment, and the like. But now I know how to feel what I’m feeling and just let it be without making up all kinds of stories about What This Means, and I have lots of support, and resources, and skills, AND I know that if there’s something I can do to help myself feel better, I can do it. So I’ve gotten really skilled at navigating the flow of all of my emotions.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for those times when I’m facing any kind of physical suffering. Anytime I’m faced with physical pain, it practically takes an act of God for me to realize that maybe, perhaps, there might be a way for me to do things differently and actually feel better.
And apparently the Universe has decided that it’s finally time for me to “get” this, because it’s bringing up those final few places in my life where I’ve had trouble really getting things to work well, and they are all somehow tied into some kind of physical issue.
Take my wonderful adventures in C DIF, for example. That illness stripped me and my life all the way down to the bone. And what I found down there was the realization of how I betray myself by always trying to be “The Good Girl”, someone who sacrifices taking care of herself in favor of taking on responsibility for the emotional well-being of the people around her. And apparently it was time for this to go, because my ability to do this was literally wrenched away from me, and all I could do was watch it happen and face the consequences. Surprisingly, (and I am not being at all facetious when I say this, because I truly was surprised), NOBODY DIED. Including me.
But this was a long and excruciatingly painful process. I suffered for 12 days before I got help, where apparently 3 days is the longest you’re ever supposed to go without seeing a doctor for the symptoms I was experiencing. And then I suffered with the disappearing/reappearing illness for a couple of months before I finally took action to get the kind of medical help I actually needed.
And unfortunately, this kind of behavior is the norm, rather than the exception.
For example, when I saw the sleep doctor for the first time, and he asked me how long I’d been having trouble sleeping, and I told him since college (which I entered almost 18 years ago), he was so stunned that he physically recoiled in surprise. Apparently, that’s a really long time to suffer with sleep problems.
But see, I never knew that sleep that could ever be different than that for me. Nobody in my family sleeps. Everybody snores. That was normal for me. So it took me a really long time to get used to the possibility that sleep could ever be easy or actually work for me.
The reason I’m bringing all of this up now is that yesterday I went to see a new gynecologist. And the reason I changed doctors is that, for the past 12 years, I have had some problems with my lady parts. I tried to get help from my previous doctor when I first started to see him about 10 years ago. But all he said, “Well, there’s nothing physically wrong with you.” So I spent all these years thinking that I was just doomed to be miserable in this area. But I finally told my coach about this last week (and it took me 3 1/2 years of work to even get to that point). And she said, “That’s not right. It’s not supposed to be like that. There are things you can do to fix that.” And probably the most important thing: “You need to get a new doctor.”
“Well,” you might be saying, “DUH!!” But see, once again, that was a completely new thought for me, the idea that this area of my life could ever be any better than it was.
So I got a new doctor, and yesterday was my appointment. And yep, there is something wrong. And yes, there are things I can do about it. And yay, THERE IS HOPE!
So…35 years to get help with sleep…12 years to get help with my ladytown, as my friend Baggage calls it…at least it’s going in the right direction. And maybe, one day, I’ll be as adept at caring for my physical self as I am at caring for my emotional self. I think that’s definitely in the realm of possibility.
Jean Browman--Cheerful Monk says
Bless you! I love your blog. Thank you for sharing your life with us.
Right on! I think it takes all of us a lot of unlearning to realize that life doesn’t have to be hard, that we can learn through grace and ease, and that we can absolutely ask for what we want.
You are amazing. Thank you!