For the last several years I’ve been working on trusting myself. That looks like trusting my feelings, thoughts, and body. I’ve been validating the things that come up for me to create consistency, so that I no longer question myself and what comes up for me. This has been a process, and un-doing that has been a slow consistent effort that has taken so much practice. I think in my last post I wrote about this through being gaslit, and I wanted to write more about learning to trust myself, through a different lens.
Just over 10 years ago I got into a car accident, and on the same day, I fell pretty hard on my tailbone. On that day, I did a lot of damage that ended up really hurting me for years to come. I did treat it at the time with some chiropractic, some light PT, and massage. I have to be honest though, I was in my mid 20’s and taking care of my body wasn’t very important to me. Now that I’m in my mid 30’s, it’s something I cannot take for granted anymore.
I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone how badly my issues with my lower back, hips, and spinal area can be for me. I have a lot of fear of my own body hurting, and the impact on my daily life it has. It hurts daily and most days it’s fine, or okay… and then sometimes it gets triggered and I’m out. I can’t sleep due to the pain and I end up at the chiropractor which helps and it gets better within a week or two. Since Covid, the daily pain has gotten worse. I was in the chiropractor often, and my right hip had adjusted itself and I was walking crooked every day. I also had moments where I literally was losing function of my spine and was falling to the ground, with my feet swooping underneath me. I was in tears nearly every day.
For the last several years I’ve taught myself how to take care of my body, as a reaction to pain. I was lifting my leg into my car with my hands to alleviate pain, I was pushing on the steering wheel to get out, I would put pillows on the floor if I knew I was going to be there a while, I had a system for flipping myself over in my bed (talk about a beached whale visual), I avoided certain kinds of exercise, I hated bending over (so I avoided it as much as possible), I do not like emptying the dishwasher or putting things in lower cabinets… All of these things were a natural avoidance for me, It became a muscle memory that I embedded to protect my body, and the pain that would come with it.
Chiropractic, and protecting my body have been temporary solutions. I knew it was temporary, I also knew that it was a bandaid to the real problem. The solution? Was strengthening my core, of course, something I had been avoiding. I got referred to physical therapy and have made a lot of progress in such a short amount of time. I acknowledge that this will be a long journey to get my strength and build trust with-in myself.
By building strength, I am also building trust in myself to be able to trust my body. Trust that I do not have to protect it anymore in the way that I had been. Trust it to get into my car on its own without extra support, trust that it won’t hurt if I tie my shoes or put on my pants. Also, trust that I will continue to do the work. I’ve been building trust with-in my brain, and the movement that comes with it. Retraining muscles to work correctly, retraining my brain to not be anxious when I bend over, and allow my body to do these things in slow, safe environments.
Other things that have been helping: Noticing and validating my success, taking it really slow, heating pads, ice packs and massage.