Where to even begin? I have so many things to tell you. I think I’ll have to go in steps, chapters, working backwards, because I’m really fucking excited about where I am, right NOW.
So, if you follow me on FB or Insta, you’ve surely noticed a shift. I want to share with you the why’s & how’s this is happening.
You probably know I’ve suffered from extreme chronic pain for the last 5+ years. I’m gonna skip to this past winter (I’ll go back further in future posts).
This past winter I was depressed. Like, in the darkest dark, pain & sadness & pointlessness permeating every cell of my being, depressed. I’ve struggled with depression my whole life. I’ve had the thoughts, “I wish I would just die” . . . “I wish I wouldn’t wake up” . . . “I wish this illness would just fucking kill me already” . . . “I don’t want to be here anymore” . . . “I am a burden on my family” . . . “Their lives would be better if I weren’t here” . . .
These thoughts weren’t strangers. They weren’t new. But they had always been just that, thoughts.
At doctors visits, when I came to the box that said “suicidal thoughts”, I always paused, and thought what might happen if I checked yes . . . and because I was afraid of the men in the white coats coming out to grab me & lock me away, I never checked the box.
At one point, this winter, they stopped being just thoughts. I started formulating a plan. I was very considerate of others. My plan made sure that my beloveds wouldn’t find me and that they would have a note, to make sure that it wasn’t their fault. I made a plan. I didn’t necessarily have a “plan” to go through with the “plan” . . . but, I had a plan.
I had an appointment with my neurologist. I was smelling things that weren’t there. (All of a sudden, it would smell like someone was holding an open bottle of fingernail polish under my nose . . . but there was no fingernail polish). I had numbness & tingling in my arms & feet. I was having memory problems. He did testing & couldn’t figure out why any of this was happening.
He referred me to a neuropsychologist. We thought I had early dementia or Alzheimers.
So, my first meeting with the neuropsychologist, we just talked. Super chill. He wanted to get to know me.
At the end of our visit, he said, “You’re a walking Fight or Flight response.” and then scheduled the big tests.
When I came back, it was hours of testing. All kinds of tests. . . I was convinced I was going crazy, that my brain was deteriorating.
Soooo . . . then the follow-up appointment, where he spoke to my husband & I about the results.
NO signs of early dementia.
NO signs of Alzheimers.
NO brain damage.
Then, what comes next . . .
SEVERE Depression (above 100%, off the charts)
EXTREME Anxiety (above 100%, off the charts)
Complex PTSD (above 100%, off the charts)
weeeeeellllllll now, what do we do with that?!?
He explained that it is NOT psychological. It is NEUROLOGICAL.
He recommended I find an EMDR certified therapist & get to work, right away.
He also said that, “This IS fixable. You WILL get your life back.”
And so, my journey began.
I have learned ALOT about PTSD & the nervous system. . . and I’ll share more later.
But let me just give you this little nugget, PTSD, if not treated, WILL MAKE YOU PHYSICALLY SICK.
They call it “somatic symptoms”. Somatic means body. And it goes something like this . . . your brain sees this trauma & is like, “Oh HELL NO! She can’t handle that! She doesn’t have the capacity to deal with that! Let’s make a grand distraction!” . . . Enter, chronic illness.
So I‘ve been doing ALOT of work on this for the past several months. ALOT. It’s been super hard, but it’s also been awesome. I am starting to SEE & FEEL a difference, and my friends, let me tell you . . . it is fucking GLORIOUS!
That photo at the top, is little me.
Yesterday I invited her into my studio to play.
She sang & hummed,
got paint on her hands,
wild & free,
with stars in her eyes and sunshine beaming out of her little face.
She made MAGIC . . . for me.
She made magic for YOU.
Here’s what she wanted us to know,
“Yes, you’ve got scars.
But you know what?
Scars are stronger than regular skin.
You are NOT damaged.
You’re fucking RESILIENT.
Yes, you’ve been through hell.
Yes, you deserve to be tired.
Take your vitamins.
GET BACK UP.
Don’t you dare fucking quit.
Wear yours scars
like a goddamn magic cape,
. . . because You,
are a fucking Superhero.
You can do this.
You ARE doing it.
xo, Erica Kathleen” (little me)
She’s pretty smart ;)
I’m excited, you guys.
For the first time in a reeeaaally long time, I can FEEL the HOPE & POSSIBILITY.
My heart feels it. My body feels it.
I believe in ME.
I believe in YOU,
so don’t you fucking dare give up.
WE can do this.
Sooooo much tender, soft LOVE,
ps. If you need a bold & beautiful reminder that YOU are a fucking Superhero, there are a few available HERE.