Episode 83 – How symptoms can hide deeper feelings you really need to process

Episode 083 - How symptoms can hide deeper feelings you really need to process

Today I’m talking about how symptoms can hide deeper feelings you really need to process.

AKA – I’m grieving a lot more than I thought….

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Transcript of episode

Hello loves, James and I had an argument a while ago and the repercussions were far greater than I could have imagined.  

I had a trauma response, and it scared the heck out of me.  Jump to now, I’m having counselling, and coming to terms with the depth of my grief around being childless, how long I’ve been feeling it, what it means for my future, and how I identify my femininity and no longer feeling like a whole woman.
And that’s what I want to talk about today.  How I mis-read the signs of grief, and my trauma, and would often mistake them for M.E. symptoms.  How I shut myself down, numbed myself, to the pain I was feeling, to the shame and self-hatred I was feeling.  

They do say hindsight is a wonderful science, 

and as I look back I can see how these signs have all been creeping alongside me.  Behaviours I developed during childhood to keep myself safe, continued to keep me safe in a toxic marriage.  The first glimmer of how some behaviours no longer served me surfaced ten years ago, after a phone call from the police regarding my ex-husband sent me into my first trauma response.
I did a lot of work around that time, to process that proverbial onion layer.  Then, along came more tumours, and the talk of probably not being able to safely carry a baby.  For years I had known I probably couldn’t, so I thought that I had mostly processed it.  Then, finally, came the surgery and recovery.  I didn’t realise I was looking for distractions, ie focussing on the photoshoot after 3 months of strength training, instead of focusing on looking in to see where I needed to heal.    

I missed all these signs of grieving and emotional exhaustion:

1. Not really feeling fulfilled in work anymore.  I’ve not really been around on here, recording podcasts, interacting on social media.  I’ve popped up occasionally as a distraction, but my heart wasn’t in it.
2. Everything feels forced, and left me feeling tired.  
3. Withdrawing from people or pushing them away.
4. The exhaustion of having to wake up to another day of the same routine, same workload, same frustrations.  For me, that’s very much been people not taking responsibility for their own actions and expecting other people to fix their mistakes. Nothing new in my line of day-job, but I was no longer able to tolerate it.
5. Struggling with regulating emotions, focussing a lot on the negative.  Mainly irritability, anxiety and overwhelm. This, for me, meant my fear of abandonment and rejection due to anxious attachment from childhood reared it’s ugly head with full force.
6. So drained there’s no energy to be fully present, even with things you loved before.  That was running, making clothes, baking.  Reading has been a big struggle for me, barely able to focus on more than a couple of sentences.  Fortunately that seems to be coming back for me now.

Anything that seemed to take longer than a few minutes seemed like far too much effort.  

Even chewing my food seemed like a chore.  I would take my glasses off because my face felt too heavy.  It’s easy to see how all of this could be mistaken for M.E. symptoms.
I am now on my healing journey.  And I have to remember that word.  Journey.  Life is one, healing is one.  I’ll talk more about what healing looks like for me on the next episode, but for now, I will say that I am consciously choosing every day to focus on just one thing, and not try to do several.  I’m allowing myself to sit in whatever I am feeling.  I thought I was doing this previously, but really I was just smooshing it down.  The good feelings too, as well as the not so good.  The good ones are harder.  It’s not easy to acknowledge happiness when you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop.   
Thanks for listening to this episode of the Life in Align podcast. If you liked what you heard and want to hear or read more, head over to lifeinalign.com. Please also subscribe and share, so that we can get this out to others who are also wanting to take back the life a chronic illness stole from them.

And remember – you are worth it, and you get to choose.  

Have a lovely day.