Starting the Journey Towards Healing
I have been inspired to document my healing journey. It is my hope that my experiences might benefit someone else. I am by no means an expert and am only at the beginning of my healing journey. First let me explain what I mean by healing journey and then I will discuss my personal experiences. This is in no way meant to replace professional and medical treatments. Rather, it is in conjunction with these things. I strongly encourage anyone with mental health issues to seek professional assistance. If you are having thoughts of suicide or self-harm, please contact the National Suicide Lifeline at 988 or text Hello to 741741.
By healing journey, I mean to include all the things that help one to be the best version of themselves they can. Healing can (and should) include physical, emotional/mental, and spiritual aspects. My use of the term self-healing means work that we do to further our healing. This work may be done individually or in conjunction with therapy; which is what I recommend you do. You can’t heal by ignoring your issues; you’ve got to dig down deep and bring them to the surface. This is not an easy process, nor is it quick. We’ll discuss tools you can use to do this.
Let me touch on the spiritual aspect of healing as well. I will state first off that I am a Christian and that I do have faith in God, prayer and salvation. I will make mention to this aspect as it is part of my healing journey. I’m not here to judge or convert anyone. I’m simply telling my story. If your beliefs differ from mine, I don’t have a problem with that. I respect you and your beliefs. I also find benefit in meditation and positive affirmations. I believe in being the best person you can and putting out good vibes in the world. I believe in Karma as well.
My physical options are limited due to my mobility issues. I keep saying that I need to look into chair exercise or chair yoga. Maybe this will help me be more motivated and accountable to doing that. I am also on a journey to be healthier, which includes losing weight. During this time, my weight has soared to an all-time high for me of 327. Since January 2022, I have been more mindful of what I eat and with a combination of low carb/dirty keto, I have lost over 100 lbs. I shave finally lost enough weight to have my knee replacement surgery, and am tentatively planning that for March 2023.
I may also share some of my favorite recipes as well as some tips that I have picked up on. Basically, I followed a bunch of FaceBook pages, joined a ton of groups and stalk YouTube keto content. I will definitely share some of my favorites from each of those categories with you.
I’ll also talk about self-care and (full disclosure) I am an independent Promotor of Innov8tive+Posh and my share my results from various products throughout this journey. Self-care has become a catch-all phrase for doing what makes you feel good. I am all for a luxurious bubble bath, a mani-pedi, facial or an extra glass of wine with the girls. However, self-care is much more than that. It certainly can include those things, but it also means taking care of your needs and making sure you are doing what you need to do to stay afloat. Because, let’s face it, life comes at us pretty fast and we have to adjust from day to day. I highly recommend that you identify some activities that you find enjoyable and relaxing and that you work them into your life on a regular basis.
Now, on to my story. In February of 2021 I achieved my Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling. I was and am very proud of that accomplishment. It took me a few years to complete my degree as I was working full-time. During the last few years, I have also been dealing with (and trying to avoid) some health issues that eventually led to my loosing my job of 11+ years. To say I was devastated is a massive understatement. I have worked since I was in high school and always supported myself. Truthfully my job was my identity; I wasn’t sure who I was without it. I still feel that way to a degree nearly 2 years later. I am hoping this will help me find the answer to that.
My health needs center around mobility and chronic pain. I have multiple lower back issues and need double knee replacement surgery. In March of 2021, my right knee started hurting (previously it had only been the left one) and hasn’t stopped hurting yet. The treatment that eased the pain in my left knee was not effective in the right one. This pain caused an exacerbation of the pain in my lower back making it difficult for me to stand for any length of time or walk any real distance. By July, I needed a cane for extra support when walking. I was in constant pain and refused to take opioid pain medication.
My job was in mental health and I did home/community sessions. Given my increasing difficulty with mobility, it soon became very difficult to do these sessions. However, I was continuing to do them. In addition to the physical difficulties, I am also diagnosed with major depression. The pain and stress of my physical difficulties impacted my mental status as well. By the end of July 2021, I was no longer able to continue to meet the demands of my job.
Luckily for me, my family was willing and able to help me and I will never be able to adequately express my sincere gratitude for this. I’ve been able to live in an unoccupied house that my mother owns. My family helped my move, helped my have food to eat (until I was able to get food stamps) and provided a roof over my head. I moved back to Kentucky and was able to immediately be signed up on Medicaid. I am so grateful for that as it would have been much more difficult, if not impossible, to get it in Tennessee due to the differences in state requirements. [Side note: I’m sure that I will rant about the injustices of the American health care system at some point].
At the same time, I applied for Social Security Disability. By mid-November, I received a denial. I had 90 days to appeal and did so in mid-January. [I am totally a procrastinator]. For 6 months, I did not hear anything. I tried to call a few times to update them on my medical treatments, but no one ever called me back. In the interim I began going to a pain clinic that offered treatment other than just opioids. I’ve now had 2 spinal epidurals, which didn’t help very much, if at all. I’ve had genticular nerve block treatments in lower back and my right knee thankfully did provide some relief for my back, but only short term for my knee. I’ve been able to get gel treatment in both knees, which has helped (more so in my left knee though).