I Did A Thing... And It Worked!
October 2019, I did a thing. I researched (googled) the worst things that could happen and asked questions of people I know who had already done the same thing. I changed my narrative about a negative situation that lingered mentally and physically. In April of 2016 I as I sat finishing what was supposed to be the last paper of the semester, I took a sip of water and it all came pouring out of my mouth. Something was not right! An hour later I was in an emergency room with hospital staff yelling “She had a stroke!” The next day I was informed it was not a stroke but Bell’s Palsy. A neurological disease possibly caused by an infection, inflammation, or stress.
It caused the left side of my face to be frozen, my speech slurred, and my left eye wide open. Eating sleeping, and communicating were all a struggle. The emotional struggles I was going through before this medial emergency were now physically manifesting. Flashforward to October 2019 3 years later I am 75% healed. Speech sometime affected, I chew slower, still get surges of pain and daily reminders of limited facial movement.
This story is not about something horrible happening to me. It is about how I flipped it. Some may feel that being a professional or a person of faith getting a piercing is risky. (Clearly, I do not feel this way). This action was about changing the narrative. I cannot hide a whole side of my face, but I can change the narrative I repeat to myself everyday about the event. The piercing on my left nostril is so that I could see beauty on that side. Since that day in 2016 with onset of Bell’s palsy the things that were causing me stress have either been resolved or are better managed. The one thing left to do was to change how I viewed myself coming out of the event.
When trauma or a big blow hits us we have to acknowledge the affect of it. Time and actively participating in healing can help us through the Physical scars may fade, and locations may change , but the story replaying in our heads, the narrative in our heart space is what motivates us. Often today’s positivity wellness culture can tell us to think above or over it. I am suggesting to sit with it, acknowledge it, and reroute thoughts towards the very thing that hurt you. In CBT clinician operate under the assumption that what we think we feel, and what we feel we do. I sat with these thoughts, I acknowledged how they made me feel, and through the work I am able to behave better. Zit s a process, correction a practice. If only self-care were bubble baths and pedicures. Sometimes self-care is thinking about how you think about yourself.
How do we change our thought process?
1. Acknowledge the thought.
2. Ask the thought questions (is this accurate, is helpful, does it add values, where did it come from?)
3. How does this thought make you feel(mood) what sensations does this thought give your body?
4. What is true or can be replaced the (unwanted thought)
5. Create a plan of attack for the thought (scripture, saying, slogan, fact, mantra)
6. Try the plan out. Note consistency is key, rule out any medical concerns such as clinical depression, anxiety, etc. If something doesn’t work you may need to tweak something in your plan.
7. Get an accountability partner.
Photo Credit @alyssasieb from nappy.co