In 2014, Bessel Van Der Kolk published a very important book called The Body Keeps the Score. It has since become a bible for therapists in helping clients access body wisdom and untangle mental and emotional illness. This book has been very important in my own healing journey and in my coaching practice.
In 1998, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. A year later I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue. One year more and it was labeled clinical depression. Apparently all the pain and sadness and exhaustion in my body boiled down to one thing: take a pill. Zoloft.
I decided not to take the pill.
This led to two decades of soul-searching and self-treating through alternative and natural medicine. I learned everything I could about nutrition. I became a certified yoga teacher. I became a Reiki master. I studied sound healing, crystals, aromatherapy, meditation and craniosacral therapy. I took myself to several health appointments per week. Physio. Chiro. Massage, the list goes on. I signed up for business coaching to learn how to help others with all these skills.
All of this took a humongous amount of time, energy, and money. But my pain and fatigue persisted…
Finally I found the key that unlocked the door. Sex therapy!
After two years of intense training and private coaching, I made an important discovery. My body was still carrying trauma from a dismissed past sexual abuse.
In the blog I wrote last month, I spoke about how sexual abuse can go underground. For me, it was downplayed and framed to be my fault and my responsibility. Because of the power dynamics and my vulnerability at the time, I adopted this attitude. I adapted and adjusted. Because I had to survive!
When the body is expressing autoimmune dysfunction it is basically setting up war against itself. It is interpreting its own cells and its own functions as threats.
At the time, my basic concern was survival.
I had no plan for my life. I had $300 to my name and was disillusioned with my experience of University. I was shocked that my schooling was leading next to nowhere in life. I needed to survive. So I adapted and fit in to the attitudes of the people around me.
Therein was the perfect environment to develop a chronic autoimmune disorder!
This adaptation caused me to take what had happened as somehow normal or acceptable. But it wasn’t. My body never accepted that what happened was justifiable or okay. In truth something wrong happened. And it wasn’t my fault. Chronic pain and fatigue became my constant signal that I was out of harmony with my very own self!
Chronic autoimmune disorders mean something, somewhere in the connection between you and You is broken. Luckily the body keeps the score. The trick for me was to keep listening to my body or at least be willing to keep listening to my body.
One of the reasons I am now a pleasure mentor is that I lived for years and years with pain. While focusing on and prioritizing pleasure became a mission and was a big step in the right direction, I still had to identify and release trauma. A lot of that healing happened this past summer.
Learning to heal from sexual abuse is the same thing as learning to heal from a chronic autoimmune disorder. It is taking back what is yours and should have never been given away. Your power. Your connection with your inner wisdom. Your creativity and passion. Your pleasure.
Please read my blog from last month if you or someone you know needs help healing from sexual abuse.
And remember – love is your nature!