One of the complete bullshit stories that I used to tell myself when I was a practicing physician while exhausted and not sleeping was “I just need a break”.
Now, despite my gut being inflamed and always bloated, my joints hurting, headaches, horrible periods, chronic skin conditions, feeling perpetually stressed, anxious and angry…even with all I knew, I still thought….I probably just needed a good long weekend.
I would sit and think: If I could just have a true break, if I could just take a week off or two weeks off, or on a particularly bad day….I bet if I could just take a month off or I bet if I could just organize my schedule better, I would feel better.
Now the reason why I say it’s a complete bullshit story is that if one of my children had been feeling tired, achy, headachy, their joints hurt, their gut was inflamed, they weren’t sleeping, their energy sucked, their mind was foggy. I would have moved heaven and earth to take care of them, but, like many women, I put myself last.
Women tend to assume that whatever’s happening within us is minor.
We soften and diminish the true reality of what our bodies are displaying to us and sadly, I have seen this go sideways often.
Fortunate for me, I had an epiphany one day that if I didn’t solve this, I was going to get cancer, I was going to collapse, I was going to be no good to anyone, and likely, I was going to lose my marriage because quite honestly I was bitchy, angry, sullen, and I didn’t want to have sex.
On top of that, there was going to come a point where I wasn’t going to be able to show up and see patients, which means I was going lose my livelihood and my life was going to be over.
One day I sat on the couch while I was on a long weekend away and asked myself some tough questions. I said, is this really what you came here to be? Is this really who you are? Aren’t you done yet?
As I sat there and I thought to myself, “yeah, I’m done. No, this is not who I’m meant to be. No, this is not who I came here to be. I am worth so much more than what I’m living right now”.
The harder part came next, the investment in me …time (being willing to stop, rest and honor my body) and money …being willing to put me first again, even after having spent nearly 200K learning how to help others.
I took the thousands of hours and the thousands of dollars I’d already spent, and spent more.
See, I’d already done acupuncture, massage, craniosacral, supplements, blood work, saliva testing, stool testing hormones, Yoga, Bikram Yoga, crossfit, Keto, Vegan, raw Vegan and more.
I look back and realize all of those served a purpose because it taught me what doesn’t work and it taught me that there’s a special nuance to the body, the intersection point, where Divine meets biology…the essential sweet spot.
A place we must claim.
To claim this space for myself, I had to say to my kids and my husband, I am choosing me and there’s going to be a period of time where I’m going to put me first and you will have to understand that I am changing the relationship, not just for me but for all of you too.
As I did that, something magical happened, not only did I heal, but they came to understand just how much I had been holding up a load that wasn’t entirely mine. They came to see just how much I had been doing alone what they could have been helping with, that they could have been participating in, and it turned into gratitude where my kids said, “oh my gosh, mom, you do so much, thank you.”
Truth is, when you claim your healing, your power, your vitality, it allows others to claim their greatness too.
By not advocating for ourselves, we’re not doing a service to ourselves or to anyone that we love, because the truth is, exhaustion always turns into illness, inflammation always turns to disease, and being worn down is slow death. The only question is whether it’s going to be tomorrow six months from now or a year. The fact is, if you’re feeling tired, worn out, brain fog, achy, have gut problems, thyroid problems, early menopause, lack of sleep, anxiety, or depression. The writing’s already on the wall and you have one choice:
Advocate for you, or take everyone you love down with you.
The question is, are you willing to do that for you? Are you willing to do that to them?