I was invited to a pilot presentation last night for a program aimed at first responders to aid in the recovery and healing from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and I heard a number of things that were clicking with how I’ve been feeling lately.
As I wrote in a previous blog post, I am experiencing fatigue and questioning how it relates to having stopped taking an antidepressant. As time is passing, I’m increasingly confident this is actually yet another phase of recovery. It sounds odd but it feels like my body is working through something in order to move forward.
Something else that sounds odd is that I’m grateful for this fatigue because it’s helping me search beyond what I was doing. I appreciate that medication was absolutely a Godsend during acute illness but I admit that for a long time, I was taking my pill every day and asking, “Is this all there is?”
I've also started to approach the topic of spirituality on Altered Badge because during my days of acute illness in 2010 I explored many holistic and spiritual approaches to wellness that I believe helped a lot. Some of them were odd – like gong and crystal bowl therapy – while others were based in practices that are thousands of years old... like acupuncture and sweat lodges.
What I think exploring spirituality has done for me, is it has shown me there are many healing modalities available for us all to explore. You never know what will help you feel better until you give it an honest try. I do believe that if your mental health is a challenge, then you owe it to yourself to explore and put as many tools in the box as will comfortably fit.
She has recently teamed up with Dr Tony Sandorfi of The Happy Spine Wise Body Studio who I met for the first time last night. Sandorfi is a chiropractor who is part of what I see as the new-age age approach to an old practice. The new thinking in chiropractics relates to the mind and body connection and that we carry emotional wounds in our body, not just physical ones. The belief is that by literally straightening the body we teach it to let go of holding our emotional stress wounds and the line to healing the mind is easier to navigate.
The two talked about the mind/body connection and how conventionally we tend to treat PTSD and other illnesses like depression mostly only from the neck up. We medicate our mind and talk out our story, then work on coping strategies to think our way through when the going gets tough.
But Roberts added that science says the mind can only think of seven things (plus or minus two) at once, while our body is capable of trillions of cellular interactions at the same time. She said the body is also always correct while our mind is subject to interpretations.
“The body doesn’t have the ability to lie to us,” Roberts said and suggested that considering all the body can do, we may be overlooking a mode of intense and rapid healing if we don't allow our body to fully express emotional injury.
To solidify the point of cellular response, Roberts and Sandorfi presented a video clip of a fetus in the uterus monitored by ultrasound. During the video, the parents were asked to engage in a verbal argument. At one point there was a loud burst of a yelling voice and then what sounded like a crash of breaking glass.
At both points, the baby in the womb jolted and jerked aggressively with apparent startled fright.
Conventional thinking is that while in the uterus the fetus’ brain is not developed enough for it to cognitively process that the argument was something to react to, but Roberts and Sandorfi suggest that maybe the reaction we saw was based on body cells possessing wisdom beyond reasoning.
Sandorfi also likened the body’s stress reaction to flash photography. He invited us to recall that when a flash photo is taken of us, we usually still see the flash spot in our eyes well after its activation. He suggested the body is like this too. That our body has a stress reaction similar to seeing the flash even after the stressor has passed and that this is a kind of memory our cells have.
Roberts and Sandorfi suggested that by treating the body at the cell level and allowing the body to process stress, we free the mind.
I mentioned serendipity at the outset of this post and that's because this presentation was an interesting find at a time when I feel like depression is trying so hard to leave my head, but the fatigue of it might just be stuck in my body right now. It might be that I know more what they were telling me, than I even realized.... so I'm going to "investigate" further.
See.... keep an open mind and you just never know what could happen.
In closing, I'm not going to do a spoiler alert here and detail Roberts and Sandorfi's 20-week program because they will be doing a full media launch on April 27th. But I will say I look forward to seeing their success with it.
Be well everyone.