During that holiday season I hit bottom. Everything felt crazy—my mind, my body, the stuff with Dr. T… I had no idea what to do. I was at a complete loss, and apparently, no help was coming. I had to find a way to keep going.
I decided to do what Dr. T had been recommending all along: learn to control my emotions, be grateful for what I had, and stop focusing on what was missing.
So. I stopped struggling with the things that Dr. T did that upset or confused me and just accepted them. I stopped needing things I didn’t have and wanting things I couldn’t get. I made everything be okay, even when it wasn’t. I made my world very small and very contained. I lived only in the present and forgot about the future. It was easier that way.
Unfortunately, I still needed to deal with my body. I was doing a pretty good job of holding myself together, and fortunately, the harder I held on, the less I felt. (Feeling less was a good thing.) Still, this instability business was weird and my pelvis constantly felt torqued and out of alignment. I needed to find someone who could help me.
I had been getting acupuncture, bodywork and occasional chiropractic for a few years, but these newer symptoms seemed to be stumping my practitioners. So, I went to see a new chiropractor, got checked out by a sports medicine doctor, and started doing pilates. I was able to regain a little bit of stability—enough that I could go for a walk without feeling like a Picasso. But then I kind of hit the wall and stopped improving. And started developing new symptoms.
I launched into what turned into an intensive exploration of the healing arts. It was one of the most informative and perplexing experiences of my life.
Here’s what usually happened: I would go to some new practitioner, have a couple of sessions, and not see any results. Well, not lasting results. Everything would seem to go great during the session. But afterwards, usually within 24 to 48 hours, my body would return to what had unfortunately become “normal” (i.e. not so great). Other times, I’d see some minor improvement from the first one or two or three sessions, and then I’d hit a plateau—and get stuck there. I remember a couple of practitioners telling me they couldn’t figure out what the problem was or why I wasn’t holding the treatment. They didn’t know what to do with me or whom to refer me to. I was a mystery, they said, with apologetic smiles. Great! I didn’t want to be a mystery—I wanted to be healed! I mean, surely someone could figure out what the heck was going on with my body and fix it, right? Right??
It wasn’t just my pelvis, either. My whole body was feeling tweaky, more sensitive. I was becoming less tolerant of certain foods (even though I had already eliminated quite a few things from my diet), chemicals, high EMF environments, and other stressors. I developed tinnitus. Stuff like that. Nothing overly serious, but it was enough to keep me feeling chronically uncomfortable and less than healthy. I had a wide variety of tests done, but most of them came back negative or inconclusive. No one could sufficiently explain what was causing my symptoms.
My exploration turned into an obsession. There had to be something that would work, and I was determined to find it.
Here is an overview of the healing modalities I sampled: Network Spinal Analysis, cranio-sacral therapy, cranial-osteopathy, traditional osteopathy, myofascial release, homeopathy, flower remedies, reiki, chi nei tsang, Hellerwork, Feldenkrais, Hanna Somatics, qi gong, and various other styles of bodywork and movement therapies. I also went to energy healers, a couple of psychics, an astrologer, a crazy man who did excruciatingly painful things to my ankles, and a shaman who performed a soul retrieval. I even paid an absurd amount of money for a phone session with a fairly well known medical intuitive who proved to be no help at all. (Did I mention I was desperate?) From late 2001 through 2005, I sampled over forty different practitioners.
Dr. T joined in the healing efforts, too. In addition to the supposedly “therapeutic” sex he was providing me with, he suggested Ayurvedic remedies (did I mention he’d studied Ayurvedic medicine?), spent one session balancing my chakras (then immediately had to have sex with me), and occasionally dangled a crystal healing device called an Etheric Weaver over my body. (Well, he said it worked for him…)
The results? Nothing seemed to work.
* * *
Between the extraordinarily frustrating (yet fascinating) exploration into the healing arts and all the ups and downs with Dr. T (dissociation and disconnection only get you so far), I wasn’t doing all that great emotionally. I struggled with depression and feelings of powerlessness, and I felt totally and completely stuck. I could not understand why I was having such a hard time and why I couldn’t seem to move forward in my life. I was asking questions like: Why am I here? Am I supposed to be here? (And what if I’m not? What then?) How come nothing’s working? Why can’t I get better? Do I not deserve to get better? What’s wrong with me?
I wanted answers. And I went looking for them.
I continued to attend programs at the ashram, even though I was really on the fence about Siddha Yoga. (Did you know you can get shaktipat more than once? Who knew!) I explored other spiritual traditions, as well. I delved into psychology, the self-help movement, new age philosophies, quantum physics, even esoterica. I read volumes about relationships, thinking I could improve the one with Dr. T, since clearly that was my responsibility… I read about my mind, God, the universe, the power of intention, the power of now, the power of words, why people don’t heal (and how they can), and that there was nothing wrong with me (though I tended to believe otherwise).
I soaked up other people’s teachings and ideas believing that somewhere in that mass of knowledge lay the answers I sought. But no matter how well I understood myself and the world around me, no matter how hard I tried to apply the teachings and the advice, no matter how many manifestation techniques I employed, I could not seem to effect change in my life. I felt like I was continually swimming upstream, exhausting myself and getting nowhere.
I even sought help from a life coach, who, bless her heart, basically became my substitute therapist. (Well, Dr. T wasn’t exactly doing his job!) And still, no results.
Dr. T suggested that my thoughts were a big part of the problem. I focused too much on what was wrong, he said. I needed to focus on the positive, practice gratitude. He recommended I try a little practice he and a friend had come up with called “The Happy Thought Challenge.” It was, simply, this: Think only thoughts that feel good. Period. When I asked what I should do with the other thoughts, his reply was: Why would you want to think thoughts that don’t feel good? Hmmm… (Truthfully, The Happy Thought Challenge confused me and I regarded it with some suspicion. Shouldn’t I be accepting all my thoughts and feelings rather than judging them?…)
Dr. T believed that I had created my life and needed to take responsibility for my choices. He said I was stuck in my story and needed to stop thinking of myself as a victim. I actually was manifesting my life, he said, through my choices, my actions, my underlying intentions and beliefs. On some level, I had created my own pain and suffering.
Well, this concept took self-loathing to a whole new level. I had created this?? I was right—there was something wrong with me. This was all my fault, and I hated myself for it. But, I figured, if I were the source of the problem then presumably, I could fix it.
So, I examined my thinking and intentions in minute detail, to a point way beyond obsession. I journaled for hours, trying to uncover negative beliefs and rid myself of them. I wrote pages and pages trying to explain myself to myself. I felt pretty damn smart. But nothing changed.
I’d worn myself out looking for answers, trying to find the one thing that would cure me. And now, I didn’t know how to stop looking. Was there anyone, anything that could help me?
Well, getting the heck away from Dr. T was a step in the right direction…
(Next: The Search for Healing – Part 3)