My wellness journey started a few years ago when I picked up a book with the title “Wholefood For Children (Nourishing young children with whole and organic food)” by Jude Blereau. I was intrigued and was thinking of my own child who was then 4 years old. It seemed natural to feed your child wholefood, so I purchased the book. However, I didn’t have a good look at it until a few years later. During that time, life had gotten in the way, I was finishing my Bachelor of Early Childhood Education, was teaching in the morning and was a waitress at night, looking after my family, housework etc… plus we had just moved to Australia and needed to keep up with earning enough money to live, pay bills and pay the university, working our way through the immigration department etc… Stress was a continuous part of our lives (Financial stress, physical stress, mental stress…) Caffeine, refined carbs and sugar became our fuel for energy to keep up with the very demanding life we had. I felt pressured to succeed in my study, to find the right job, to pass all the immigration test, otherwise we would have had to go back to Mauritius. This mean we would have had to start again there with no money but the worse for me was the feeling that it would be my fault and I would have had let my husband down. Therefore I had to keep pushing to achieve my/our goals. During these years, I was diagnosed with endometriosis, I had a laparoscopy to remove two cysts of the size of an orange, I was taken to the emergency for a terrible pain in my neck while I was working, I had constant headache and other pain, feeling exhausted all the time, digestive issues, emotionally drained… and just prior to moving to Australia I had my appendix removed because of ongoing belly pain for years. But I also had some good days and moments, I completed my degree with honors, I found work easily, I had happy days with my family and friends, we had a few holidays. And eventually, we became Australian citizens, my husband and I are working, my daughter is healthy…
The truth is that there will always be something. Don’t get me wrong, I am proud of my achievements and of how I persevered and made it to the other side. I am grateful for all the learning and growth that happened (although I missed a lot back then) and the good times we had together even though it was tough. What I discovered is that I just didn’t like the way I came to the other side. I wasn’t a participant in what was happening to me, I let it happened to me and went along with it all! The challenges would have been the same but the journey would have been different. I eventually started looking closely at the book I purchased and started thinking about the food I am putting in my mouth and what I am feeding my daughter. Gradually I start to understand the importance of Nourishment. I slowly started to make the switch and have been on a journey ever since. I also started to look at alternative medicine and started researching slowly reading books, articles, blogs etc…). But while the food was making a difference in my body, I was still having issues. The past 3 years I have had regular blood test, done a gastroscopy and colonoscopy, done regular pelvic ultra sound as we watch a cyst on my right ovary, tried a few food protocol (Gluten and Dairy free, Gaps, Paleo, Low Fodmap…), done a CT Scan… I have seen a gastroenterologist, an integrative doctor, a TCM practitioner, a naturopath, a massage therapist, a psychotherapist. During this past 3 years, I noticed differences at times (e.g when going to the TCM, my symptoms of endometriosis was getting better, when I started the various food protocol i noticed my belly symptoms feeling better, when I added some herbs and other supplement I had a bit more energy…) but I couldn’t get rid of some of my symptoms and sometimes one would go away and another one would come back. Last year was when I had a “wake up call”.
Prior to last year, with all the health issues, I found myself unable to work full time. But the financial stress was getting bigger and bigger. Not to mention that this was having an impact on my relationship with my husband which made our home a stressful environment. Therefore last year I decided to get another job, to alleviate the financial stress and get some financial freedom after all these years of struggle. I was motivated and I did get a job! The only issue is that I was “bullied”at work (a term that my doctor and psychotherapist used). I didn’t want to believe this was happening to me but I became more and more anxious (I had sleepless nights, I was sick in my tummy, I felt hopeless, I had lots of doubts about myself, my work, I was dizzy a lot, headache). This is when I started seeing a psycotherapist. Once again, I let it happen to me without being an active participant. I am not saying I didn’t reply back and try to reason or prove that I didn’t do anything wrong… I was, I might also have made things worse at times when I said something back. I also sought professional help. (Bullying is NOT OK, please do seek for help if this happen to you). What I am saying is that I was unable to see the message in that moment, I couldn’t see past the ‘arguments’. I was focused on the fact that yelling at me wasn’t right, this wasn’t professional, this shouldn’t be, why can’t she see it?, she is hurting me, she isn’t professional, why is it always me?…What have I done to her?… I got stuck into guilt mode and didn’t want to be ashamed and thus trying to defend myself all the time. During a visit at my doctor, she said this to me, “She is the messenger of your wounds”. This is when I realise that the emotional pain I was having in the present was link to the ones from the past. My feeling of guilt and shame was stored in my subconscious. When she was angry at me, when she was yelling at me, talking to me in her angry voice, asking me to give her back something she gave me, ignoring me, being sarcastic, etc… my subconscious remembered all the stories from the past (some adverse childhood experiences and young adulthood where I was yelled at, spoken angrily to by authoritarian figure, abuse, etc…) and send a message to my conscious telling it to how I must feel in this moment, FEAR! Fear has been a big part of my life since childhood, although I could say since I was a baby as my mum told me she went into a coma and was said to be dying when I was born (there are research now saying that trauma can start in utero). Fear is a normal emotion, which is here to help us flee from danger. This is how our ancestors survive an attack from other tribes, a wild animal or any danger. When we are scared, it triggers our stress hormones, the body produce excess cortisol, shuts down energy where its not needed such as digestive system and send energy to our legs and arms so we could run or fight. This is great! This is call our “Flight or fight mode” But when fear is always present, then it becomes an issue. Being exposed constantly to fear brought imbalance to my body but I never thought it was stored and that it also show up in different part of your body, I thought once I stop thinking about it, its gone. I also always shelved my emotions or the problems that come with them. It worked well while surviving a lot of challenges and continue to push through. But not for a long term wellness. I felt attack, was scared and did what I usually do, defend myself because what I’ve learned in the past is, that failure is wrong, being vulnerable is embarrassing, running away from the emotions is what works or freeze is also what works to avoid the pain and to save myself. The above has always been my beliefs and therefore became how I function. I guess what I am trying to say is that I if I understood how my body, my mind and my emotions works, the way I am understanding it all now, I would have been in a better emotional state facing my challenges. I would have been interacting more positively and responding to my challenges vs reacting to them. I can’t control what others do but I can control how it affects me! (This takes practice though, especially if you’ve been doing the same thing all your life) I am still on this journey as this has unfolded a lot of past issues and opened up a new journey of discovery about myself, learning to accept myself, forgive myself and love myself. I have started looking at myself with love and compassion as I work with my psychotherapist. I am tapping my fear away whenever it creeps back for whatever reason. In the process I have also realise that my ‘bully’ has her own story as we all have and that whatever it is, its her story. Therefore as I forgive, I set myself free.
The beautiful thing is that the moment I decided to CREATE lasting change for myself, things have started looking really good! Among all of what was happening, my relationship with my husband wasn’t looking great either. I felt the lowest I’ve ever felt. More guilt, shame and fear! I was mentally and emotionally a mess. I am very professional at work (extremely patient and mindful of all stakeholders, polite, caring, respectful although sometimes I could be more patient…) but at home I would be snappy, annoyed, emotional as my moods will swing from one end to the other, I can also go from calm to angry in seconds… plus I didn’t seem to have enough energy for any family outings. I felt I wasn’t being a good wife and a good mother. I lost my sense of self and became someone I wasn’t, someone bitter, angry, fearful and unhappy. This is when I decided that a REAL change was needed. I changed to someone I didn’t like. Therefore I sat down over the Christmas break last year and had a good look at myself and everything that was happening in my life. I thought of what I wanted but mainly how I wanted to feel, who I wanted to be and what kind of person I wanted to be. This is when change starting to happen physically, mentally and spiritually. The cyst on my right ovary decreased by a few millimeters (this was a month after I sat down and made decisions), I feel more energised, way less headaches, way less dizzy (I actually barely felt dizzy for a couple of months), less to no pain regarding my menses (although some back pain sometimes..), my belly feels less bloated… best of all I am happier, less moody and grumpy which has made my relationship with my husband much happier and a happier environment for my daughter.
How did I create change for myself? After I sat down to decide what kind of change I wanted. I came up with a new approach to my life. I created a S.L.O.W D.O.W.N approach to heal myself. Now as I continue my journey using this approach, positive changes are creeping from different areas of my life (careers, relationship, health…), its as if the problems became invisible. They are still here but they seemed to have faded in the background leaving room for all the positive experiences to take the front seat. I cant wait to tell you more about my S.L.O.W D.O.W.N approach.