This post is difficult to write, but I need to let it go.
Six years ago I was a mess. Emotionally and mentally, I was spinning out of control. Many factors contributed to the turmoil: relationship issues; financial stress; alcohol abuse. As a result, my life was literally circling the drain.
Because of where I had been working, I was able to access counselling that was paid for by the company. A free counselor made solid-good sense to me, so I made the call. I was assigned to an elderly, European professional named Dr. Kincel. He patiently listened to me, twice a month. At one point, he offered me a prescription for something or other. I don’t know if it was seeing the horror on my face or my head slowly shaking, he said: “I can give you a prescription, but it’s not going to make your problems go away, and it’s not even going to make you happy. It’ll probably just make you care less about what’s bothering you. I don’t really think that will actually help you.” I left his office without a script. Instead, I took the name of a book he had mentioned, “Care of the Soul,” by Thomas Moore. I loved Doctor Kincel.
I wish I could say that my visits with Dr. Kincel, reading “Care of the Soul,” or even keeping a Journal fixed me. If I did though, I’d be lying. I can say that talking to a therapist helped me express myself, and give me some insight into why I was so far down. It also helped me understand how I had let go of so much of myself. I had loads of “light-bulb moments” in our discussions, but I knew if I wanted to stop self-destructing, I was going to have to pull myself together and re-direct. I needed to do it for myself and my kids. I needed my life back. Only problem: I had no idea how I was going to do it, or even where to start.
For weeks after my sessions stopped I tried a soft, gentle, peace-lovin’ hippie approach. I thought I was being very “zen” with myself, but I was not addressing what I was actually feeling. Instead, I was reinforcing a façade I’d subconsciously started building way back when I was really little. I was determined to tear down that fake, plastic face pore by pore if I had to. To do that, I was going to have to get my hands dirty, and that meant getting to the root of why I was angry. I learned that anger is a funny thing. It’s not an independent emotion at all. It’s an amalgam of a few, and sometimes very many, feelings that are often-times too difficult to articulate, negotiate or even reconcile with. The allure of anger is that it’s easy to let go and rage. Honestly, there are times when getting angry is wholly justified, providing no one gets hurt. It wasn’t going to be easy to dissect my anger, but I needed to, and I knew I needed to find a way to diffuse it when I did.
I hesitated at first. I procrastinated. Not in the sense of really “putting it off,” but I was trying to psych myself up by doing a lot of soul-searching. There were times I swear I heard my soul crying. I distinctly heard it tell me that I’d better start eating right and I absolutely HAD to quit drinking. Period. Not socially, not in moderation, and definitely not to medicate. It was like waking-up… after being struck in the head by a massive boulder.
Instinctively I knew my first step was to detoxify my system of all the processed foods and beers I’d been consuming. So, at the end of June in 2008, I started using an herbal detox for 3 months (1 tablet 3x per day for the first month, then 1 tablet 2x per day for the last 2 months), stopped buying processed foods (Campbell’s Soup, KD, ramen, etc), and went back to slow-food (like how my Mom and Oma cooked). Beer? I admit to buying “near beer” a couple of times, but that was a struggle. I had somehow, subconsciously, managed a response to feel nauseated at the smell. The best way to describe it is a defense-mechanism, and I thank my lucky stars for it.
With my head clear, my body on-the-mend, I was able to begin my climb back up. I had a menu, a plan, a goal, and the motivation, all I needed was a soundtrack. I’m a firm believer in a visceral connection to music, so I seek sounds that keep time with my pulse and my passion. The music that reached me the deepest was My Chemical Romance. In 2006 “The Black Parade” was released (their third album), and the songs spoke directly to me. I was hooked. I had fallen in love with their sound. Their first 2 albums/discs woke-up my punk rock soul, while “The Black Parade” gave my deepest, darkest feelings a voice. Many of the songs encouraged me to explore my feelings from a different angle, and see them from a new perspective. I wouldn’t have been able to do that without clearing the crap out of my system first. The song, Famous Last Words, makes me smile and cry at the same time still. At the time, it was my Strong-self speaking to my Sick-self.
Fast-forward to now… I’ve come a long way, Baby! Over the past 4 years, our diet has only become more and more free of pollutants, GMOs/GEs, and it feels like a lifetime ago that I was such a mess. I guess it’s because I really was a completely different person then. I’ve learned a lot, and have so much more to learn. I think the best thing I can do is pay things forward. Maybe by helping others, even a little bit, I can continue to heal.