What has been your biggest challenge or pain in life?
It is more like what hasn’t been a big challenge in my life. I had a very difficult upbringing: experiencing 17 years of emotional abuse and at least 10 years of harsh physical abuse. For a while I was suicidal and for most of my life I was depressed. In 2008 I developed chronic hip pains that not only put me out of my beloved sport, running, but made even sitting painful. (I was struggling with it until 2012, but since then I’ve been running again.) But the worst started in 2009 when I started having chronic headaches. It quickly became so bad that I had a headache pretty much 24/7, day and night. When I was lucky I got a few pain-free days off in a month, but usually suffering from a “post-headache hangover”. Additionally, I was struggling with various random pains (muscle pains, neck aches, back pain, numb fingers etc), self-hate, low self-esteem, eating disorder issues, body image issues and so on. But the headaches were my worst nightmare making life an incredibly painful miserable thing for 4.5 years. But in the end this pain put me on the beautiful path of healing and living I am on now. I am grateful.
What steps did you take to overcome this challenge?
First I visited medical doctors with my headaches but they didn’t help. They offered drugs and told me I will have to live with it. Of course they had NO idea why I had them. Then I started looking into alternative options: chiropractic care, massage and acupuncture. Then I learned about the term holistic health and nutritional medicine and got on the train of holistic nutrition. I cleaned up my diet, tried cleanses and even did an elimination diet.
Though I know that food is medicine, in my case it wasn’t enough, in fact it even caused some damage. But, I am grateful because I started looking into other options: I got into personality development, energy healing, and spirituality. Instead of looking for a “fix” from the outside, now I am looking inwards while recognizing the bigger picture.
After trying the Band-Aid option (pain killers and doctors) then trying to treat only my body (nutrition and chiropractors), I finally started focusing on the (w)holistic me: my mind, body and soul. I got involved with many forms of therapies and activities (transbreathing, transdance, art therapy, body work, 5Rhythms dancing, Theta healing, Emotion Code, etc. and of course my personal favorites, family constellations, and somatodrama). I also started doing a lot of work on my own (journaling, forgiveness, gratitude, conversations with myself in the mirror, shadow work, affirmations, etc.).
I’ve since not only healed from my headaches, but I forgave my abuser (my father), let go of numerous past traumas, and became happier than ever. Of course there is still a lot to work on, but now I am embracing and loving my journey.
What are some lessons you’ve learned or blessings that have come through having this experience?
All I wanted was to stop my headaches, but I got so much more. I am on a beautiful journey of healing, living and discovering. I am learning new things every day. I learned how to forgive, how to be grateful, how to truly love and how to really live. I am happy first time in my life. I’ve met – and keep meeting – some amazing souls and I am also able to share my journey with and assist others’ in their journey through coaching and writing. I am truly blessed being able to walk on this path.
If there was one bit of advice you could give to those who are struggling right now, what would it be?
Not letting your struggles define you is one of the most important. When I was struggling with my chronic headaches the pain was so bad that I eventually started identifying with it. I became my headaches. Then I had to realize that though the headaches were a part of me or rather they were with me at all times they were not me. I was not my headaches. I was simply having headaches.
Recognizing that everything is connected is also very important. When I started looking at my life from the (w)holistic perspective everything started shifting. Not only that my mind, body and soul are interconnected but I am also connected to everything else around me.
Realizing that all of our struggles are there for a reason is also an important piece of the puzzle. Every struggle is there to teach you a lesson and to push you forward. Ask yourself: what is the gift in this? What is this pain trying to teach me? Accept that you may not have all the answers. Accept that you may not know the next steps, the timeline and the solution. Surrender to the process. Trust the process. And follow your heart.
Understand that healing is not a destination. It is not a finished business. There are always new layers to peel off and uncover. There are always new obstacles to hop over. There is always room for growth. Healing is a beautiful journey that should be embraced and enjoyed.
Finally, but most importantly: never give up.