Every night for the last several nights I’ve said to myself that I wanted to write a blog post. Then I’d get involved in something else for a few minutes, sit on the couch and end up nodding off. Sorry about that. I guess I’ve needed extra rest.
So tonight right after dinner I turned on the computer and resolved to write before I got involved in anything else! My thoughts are revolving around the truism that we are only as sick as our secrets. To that I say, yes, speak your truth.
I believe that we are more likely to talk about surface problems. The run of the mill things that are more commonplace. We’re more comfortable when we have an issue that we know is shared by many. Other things — like in my case an eating disorder — we hold tightly within ourselves. Perhaps we feel ashamed, or maybe we fear that people will think less of us if we “confess” that we have whatever deeper problem affects us. Fear, shame, confusion, whatever the reason, we hide the truth within ourselves. When we bury stuff deep inside, it can’t be brought out into the light.
If we don’t bring it up and talk about it; if we resist sharing these truths; we are left to suffer, and suffer alone.
The first night that I went to an OA meeting and said, “Hi, I’m Mary. I’m a compulsive overeater, or binge eater, or something” turned out to be one of the most liberating, joyful nights ever. I spoke my truth, kicked it out of the closet, and opened myself up to getting help.
Now, I don’t advocate sharing our selves with every single person in our respective universes. It’s important to find the safe circle, to look for people who will understand. If they don’t understand, at least it’s good if they are willing to listen without judgment. The point is that staying silent and not going outside of ourselves to seek help, only keeps us locked in the affliction.
I was thinking about this again this week as I prepared for my first acupuncture appointment. A good friend who has used acupuncture treatment for a variety of things was the one who first suggested I go for a referral about my heel/plantar’s fasciitis and my ongoing knee pain. Even though I’ve seen doctors for both conditions, she reasoned that acupuncture could be a tremendous asset to the healing process and enhance my conditions, if not resolve them.
For many years, I’ve been open and interested in the body’s chi — our own internal energy. I’ve seen mine develop and help through the practice of Tai Chi. I know how effectively my massage therapist works with my energy to help during sessions. So, I was definitely open minded about trying acupuncture.
My personality is such that I always want to do things right. That includes any kind of medical examination. You know when you go for an eye exam and the doctor is figuring out your vision numbers, he/she does a process of flipping between two options and asking which is better, option 1 or option 2? Ever since I was a kid, that part of the exam has stressed me out. I am so worried that I’ll pick the wrong answer. Yes, the rational, adult part of my brain knows that there isn’t a wrong answer, but I never claimed to always think rationally! (You want to see test-stress? You should have seen me the days leading up to SAT day in high school.)
Anyway, knowing that I wanted to make the most of my acupuncture appointment (Doesn’t that sound better than do my appointment right?), I asked my friend if there was anything that I should do to prepare. She advised me to review the physical issues I was experiencing so that I wouldn’t forget. I asked her if she’d ever talked to the practitioner about the auricular acupuncture that’s reputed to be good for stress relief, quitting smoking, weight loss and other things. She hasn’t but she said I should bring it up if I felt comfortable.
I thought about it and thought about it and decided that I was going to include it in the consultation conversation and speak my truth. I’m a compulsive overeater/binge eater. I’m having difficulty right now in abstaining from compulsive eating which means that, even if I’m not eating huge quantities, I am still eating compulsively and not sticking to my healthy choices.
So, plantar fasciitis, osteoarthritis-related knee pain, compulsive eating. Check, check and check.
The practitioner and I had a great initial conversation about everything. We then went into the treatment room for the first session. I really liked her thoroughness, her manner, and her holistic approach. She explained why the needles were being placed where they were. She told me that after they were inserted, at some point during the session I might start to feel strange sensations, twinges, or some pains in various parts of my body as the areas where the energy was blocked began to open up. When that happened, I should note it in my head, take some deep breaths and try to expand into the feeling rather than tense up and constrict if it was a little uncomfortable.
After encouraging me to relax, even fall asleep if I wanted, she left the room while the needles did their thing. I know I fell asleep for part of the time period, but for most of it I was awake and relaxed. I’m not sure how long into the session I’d gone before I started to feel a few things, but at no time was I uncomfortable. Mostly I began to experience sort of a warming vibration… almost like my internal energy really was waking up and flowing better. Different sensation but not unpleasant in the least.
When the session was over and she returned to remove the needles, I immediately noticed a reduction of pain in my right knee. I think that was the most dramatic difference at the outset. My left heel feels pretty much pain-free too, but it’s been improving over the days and the boot stabilization and cushioning assists with that too. I think the real test for that part of my body will be this weekend when I can give up the boot for a few days and just walk around in sneakers.
I came home and ate the sensible dinner that I’d planned and I haven’t eaten anything compulsively since. That could be me, or me enhanced by the treatment. It’s too soon to tell, but you can bet that I’m paying attention and taking notes.
Taking notes is something that she asked me to do. She wants to know what I experience and how I feel between now and the next treatment next Thursday. It’s important to know not only in the first few days immediately following the acupuncture, but also, even more so, in the 4th-6th days after. That will help her see how my body holds the positive effects over time.
Even though I don’t know at this point what the benefits – short term and long term – may be, I am so glad that I decided to speak my truth about my eating disorder and struggles. If having acupuncture doesn’t help, it doesn’t help. However, not bringing it up and not seeking treatment would mean that I never even gave it a chance.