Ever created a To Do List❓
And, then worked all day only to realize you couldn't check off a single item❓
What about all those things I accomplished❓ Didn't they count? I'd added the things I'd done. At least, then I could check something off and appear organized.
Lists help me remember, focus and get back to what I ought to be doing.
Sometimes. Mostly, Wishful thinking❗️
Instead, today, I'm making a GOT it DONE List. I'm sure it'll be more satisfying❗️
So, I ask: What have I accomplished❓
1. I've found a psychologist to replace the one I'd learned to trust. My previous therapist is on maternity leave. Great for her, and her family. I'm happy for them, but not great for me (cause its all about me). 🤪🤪🤪
Darn... Just when I'd finally secured a great team of practitioners that were meeting my needs as I struggled to juggle the work/life/health balance equation!
It's not easy to replace a trusted mental-health practitioner. The glass slipper hasn't always fit just right.
But, I got it done... I found a new psychologist, who seems to get me. After our first appointment several weeks ago, I'd thought: She's worth returning to for a second appointment. I've given myself permission over the past two years to not return to any medical practitioner, unwilling to listen, care deeply, believe me, and/or respect my intelligence.
My new therapist supported me as I reflected on my anxious thoughts, listened, and asked whether I had tried grounding techniques to calm my elevated nervous system. I hadn't. Was this the same thing as mindfulness? I'd tried mindfulness, meditation is not my thing.
It was my choice. She hadn't told me what I should do; but rather offered suggestions that we could collaborate on, that I might try, so as to rewire neural networks that previously sent out mixed up messages that caused functional seizures (what happened as a result of Functional Neurologic Disorder). Instead, I'd thought, this might help my brain grow new pathways that sent clear, concise messages creating calm.
That's what I wanted. So I'm giving it a try.
I know the the brain has plasticity and that its possible to grow new neural networks. Perhaps, I'd thought... this could work.
I'm learning that my brain is pretty incredible, despite the frustration it has caused me as it sent mixed up messages causing functional symptoms: migraines, myoclonic jerks, and seizures to name a few. I've learned that will initiative, perseverance and effort that I can come alongside collaborative, trauma-informed practitioners and build capacity for emotional intelligence as I acknowledge the importance of prioritizing the mind-body connection as I advocate for my own health. I'm getting exponentially stronger as I've become willing to do the work. I have a little faith, and want to have more.
It's possible... it turns out to prioritize finding my brain's, brain-body equilibrium, after an FND diagnosis. It's hard work . It takes practice, practice, practice, perseverance and commitment, and resilience when you relapse, but I'm getting it done. There's hope!
2. I've returned to work, after an extended medical leave and seven-year diagnostic journey, as a school counsellor.
I gave myself adequate time between diagnosis and my return to work to learn the skills I'd needed to prioritizing my health and wellness, and find that necessary BALANCE between the work I love, and my life. I hadn't known if I'd live till the end of 2021, as I was experienced complex daily seizures. Now, I proactively teach students to prioritize their own health and wellbeing, while simultaneously assuring I take care of me!
3. I've completed writing my 1st book.
FiNDing Hope: The Mind-Body Connection & Importance of Being Seen and Heard,
will be published, Late Fall, 2023.
...and be first to see the new cover design, for the published manuscript that is being designed by a graphic artist for the book launch of FiNDing Hope.
4. I've joined CDMC, a mountaineering club in my community and have successfully climbed and summited three peaks: Mt. Apps, Mt. Clifton, and Mt. Alone, on Vancouver Island, B.C. CANADA
5. I'm embracing a new strategy for coping with hard things. To help me attain balance between feeling too deeply (emotions and memories) or to little (numbing and dissociation) I'm finding ways to get grounded.
What's grounding? Why my therapist thinks its a good idea and that I give it a try.
I have to admit I'm willing to try most things that offer me an opportunity to minimize the intensity, frequency and duration of any functional symptom I experience. I can commit to a set of simple strategies that will help me cope or detach from emotional pain, or grief and loss that may have been a root cause of my functional seizures. Although the original article suggested that "GROUNDING is a set of simple strategies to detach from emotional pain," and that these are tools for "treatment of PTSD and Substance Abuse," I'm finding the these strategies helpful to anchor me to the present and for healthy detachment when my mind & body get elevated by functional symptoms (FND).
The article my therapist recommended on Grounding (Najavits, 2002) , can be found here: Detaching From Emotional Pain (Grounding)
Najavits, L.M. Seeking Safety: A Treatment Manual for PTSD and Substance Abuse (2002)
An additional link to Grounding Techniques can be found here: https://www.healthline.com/health/grounding-techniques