Opinion: Save Lives (Starting With Your Own) by Getting Comfortable Being Uncomfortable
“If you want to change the world, start with yourself.” -Mahatma Gandhi
This is a very interesting time to be alive in the world. Looking around, it may appear as though the only things happening are devastation, disconnection, disease, despair, and depression.
Mental and physical illnesses are indeed on the rise. Addictions are at an all time high. And people seem downright miserable and yet somehow unable to get the help they so desperately need.
So what’s really going on?
My name is Holly McCorriston and I was a community pharmacist in Kindersley from 2009 to December 2020. I have an interesting perspective on health and healing that stems from my background in healthcare, my own personal healing journey, and what I have learned over the last few years about the root cause of all this disease and despair we see around us today.
My unique and interesting perspective includes seeing the same people month-after-month for over 10 years and very rarely seeing anyone heal or recover from the illnesses they suffered from. If anything, they often seemed to get worse! There seemed to be very little focus or interest in finding or healing the causes of these illnesses. Treat the symptoms. Suppress the signs. Go against evidence based medical literature and use potentially beneficial short-term treatments long term because (surprise!) the symptoms come back when the medication is withdrawn. The body keeps the score.
However, the body is not the enemy. The body is simply the messenger. And we are all so disconnected from our bodies that often in order to get our attention, the symptoms need to be profound, powerful, and very often quite painful.
Have you ever heard of what is called the ACE Score (www.acestoohigh.com/got-your-ace-score)? This is a simple 10-question assessment that looks at your experience with Adverse Childhood Experiences. The results of years of research in this field have been linked to increased likelihood of physical, mental, and autoimmune disease in adulthood. Donna Jackson Nakazawa, author of Childhood Disrupted strongly encourages anyone suffering with a diagnosed medical condition to take your ACE Score and then ask your medical team if there may be a possible link between your score and your present physical health. This is one way the community and the individual can begin raising awareness of how trauma and nervous system dysregulation contributes to health problems.
Keep in mind, it takes an average of 17-20 years for good solid medical evidence to become regular medical practice so if your provider is quick to brush aside your ACE Score questions, do not be deterred or offended. I encourage you to begin taking responsibility for your health and healing by staying curious as to just how your past may indeed be trying to speak to you in the present through your physical symptoms and seeking trauma-information practitioners to help resolve this trauma.
Even if your ACE Score is very low or even 0, this does not mean that you have never experienced something traumatic as one of the best definitions simply describes trauma as something that happens “too much, too soon, too fast and you were unable to process it in the moment.” This is what leads to stuck energy in the nervous system and often results in a perpetual state of fight, flight, freeze, or fawn trauma responses.
As a collective community, we need to start having more of these uncomfortable conversations. We need to start realizing that just because our bodies feel unsafe, this is not necessarily the reality. When your partner makes an offhand comment about the dishes not being done, your body may respond in a way that is irrational and completely out of hand not because of what is happening now but because of something that happened long long ago.
This is where your responsibility to pause and notice those reactive (perhaps out-of-place or irrational) responses that occur. Just because your nervous system has always gone that way doesn’t mean you can’t learn to observe, pause, and choose a new pathway in every new moment. This is the basic premise of mental fitness that I teach and train clients with now in my role as a mental fitness trainer.
- Notice your emotional hijack or reactivity.
- Pause. Notice sensations in your body.
- Shift. Choose a new response.
You can process trauma and stuck energy in your body. You can re-program neural pathways in your brain that have been following certain patterns your whole life.
Your nervous system and your brain are fluid and plastic and not set in stone. Just because you may have been told by a medical provider that your condition is permanent and there is nothing you can do except take medication, they are not the authority of you. YOU ARE.
The link between trauma and adverse health outcomes is well documented and well known and just because you have not informed about it until now does not mean that the evidence isn’t there or hasn’t been there for a long time. It is.
As long as we continue to treat our bodies and their symptoms like they are the enemies, our likelihood of healing from all this devastation, disconnection, disease, despair, and depression is going to remain slim.
So what are you willing to do to start taking responsibility for your health and happiness? What are you willing to do to change how you respond to the signs and symptoms your body is giving you? What are you willing to do to change the current capacity of your nervous system so it doesn’t feel like you’re running around at 99% overflow?
How can you start getting more comfortable being uncomfortable? Running from our pain and discomfort only leads to more pain and discomfort and disconnection in the future.
If you’re tired of the disconnection, disease, and despair you experience on the daily, then buckle up and adopt a willingness to lean in and look at things you’ve never been willing to look at before. At the end of the day, life is not something that just happens to us and we all get a choice in how we respond at every moment.
You don’t have to start examining every little thing that happened to you as a child to begin your healing journey. You simply need to start leading with a little more love, a little more curiosity, and a little more willingness to respond in a new way.
You do not need to stay stuck, sick, and small in the patterns and programs you adapted to keep you safe as a kid. You are allowed to heal, grow, and expand and you do not need anyone’s permission to do it. You are allowed to reconnect with your body so you aren’t just a floating head disconnected from the rest of you. You’re a whole person.
So go ahead and take your ACE Score to your health care team. Start a mental fitness practice. Decide to notice your reactivity and choose a different response, again and again and again. I include a number of free resources on how to get started with some of these healing practices on my website at www.hollymccorriston.com as well as information on how to apply to work with me inside my 1:1 and group Be Your Own Hero programs.
Healing the world starts with each individual becoming willing to heal themselves. You don’t need to change the whole world. You just need to start with yourself. Be your own hero and start getting curious today.
For the latest information and for more updates on everything Kindersley ‘Like’ the Kindersley Social Facebook page below…
For the latest information and for more updates on everything Kindersley,
Like the Kindersley Social Facebook page!