I’m lucky to be here.

And I’m even luckier to be where I’m at today.

My childhood best friend and first serious boyfriend both ended their lives because they saw no way out from the life they were living. There have been past days when I have gotten glimpses of how they must have felt.

I grew up in a home that was emotionally unstable. As is the case in many families, hurting people hurt people. As a result, my ACE score (Adverse Childhood Experiences) is high. 

Pain of all sorts became familiar. Emotional pain turned into widespread physical pain and the claws of pain crept deeply into my being.

The pain actually started at the age of four in the form of severe stomach aches and headaches, along with a lot of anxiety and fear.

By 14, pain had extended to my neck and upper back, along with my arms, looking like carpel tunnel. My mom was very good at taking me to the doctor. We had to fix what was wrong with me. 

I progressively got worse as I got older. Chronic exhaustion in college and escalating back pain continued into adulthood when I moved across the country, got married, got laid off and shipped my husband off to war. 

I ended up in pain management at 24 and was put on opiates shortly after, which I took for 10 years to manage the pain. Early on, I tried nerve blocks, physical therapy, prescription medications and more. Tramadol was the only thing that made a dent in the pain so I could continue functioning as a contributing member of society.

Over the course of five years, I saw between 30-40 doctors, specialists and alternative healthcare providers. Some things helped, but usually not a lot. 

I became obsessed with finding a cure. I fixated on mysterious food allergies, mysterious infections and symptoms that seemed ominous. Sleep was fleeting and no matter how much rest I got, it was never enough.

Over time, I lived a more and more shrinking life. I stopped playing the piano because of carpel tunnel. I stopped riding horses because I had to put myself through school. I stopped playing soccer because of heat exhaustion. I stopped most exercise because of nerve pain in my back. I stopped most things I loved and became trapped in the pain.

I was living a low grade life.

Now at 36, I know there is nothing wrong with me. I live with TMS (Tension Myositis Syndrome) and after 10 years of mysterious illnesses and diagnoses like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, adrenal fatigue, Epstein Barr virus, migraine induced vertigo, food allergies, candida overgrowth, leaky gut, bulging disks, spinal stenosis and probably a few other things that I am forgetting, I am grateful to be almost completely symptom free. 

I always believed the pain was simply a physical issue. Now I know it was not only emotional, but deeply spiritual. 

I am lucky to be here and lucky to be where I am – healing and stepping into living the life that I was born for.

Part of that calling might be to share my own experiences so that through my own healing, I can help others step into theirs’ as well.

For over 30 years, I was the master at looking like I had it all together, while hurting on the inside. I truly don’t know where I would be without the support of my husband, CranialSacral therapist and one-of-a-kind career coach (of all things).

Today, the roots of familiar suffering and fear occasionally find ways to creep back up and beckon to keep me “safe.”

Embracing life and living in the flow, trusting that it will all work out, feels like navigating around in the dark with a blindfold on.

Am I doing this right? Is this all just my imagination? When will I stop pretending and get back to ‘real’ life? (The old way.)

Some days I know I am a new creation being radically remade like a superhero rising from the ashes. Other days, doubt sets in. But with every day that I commit to taking that next brave step, the old ways quiet down a little more.

Sometimes I still get angry that I have not made it all the way “through” this journey yet. In reality, I don’t think the “journey” is ever over – and that’s the gift: life. Even in the midst of my anger, I feel compelled to keep going by a force outside of myself.

Operating in the world from a deeply rooted and grounded place (inside out living) feels simultaneously like the most natural and unnatural experience of all time. 

Perhaps this is all part of the human experience.

This blog is dedicated to other brave souls on their healing journey who know they have to choose each day to live from the inside out.

Photo by Om Prakash Sethia on Unsplash

I searched for healing in the physical world. I searched for healing in the mental world. I received healing in the spiritual world. 

Welcome to Inside Out Living.

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