Mind-Body Separation

A visual Representation of my Path to Recovery

Yeah, my posting has been really spotty the last few days. And that really isn’t okay with me. My blog is really designed as a way for me to keep myself accountable and to help me analyze both my progress and my problems.

So when I don’t write, I deprive myself of my own insight and I deprive myself of your insight. I have found a lot to sustain me within the comments and suggestions I have received from all of you. I can’t tell you how much it means to me that you guys are continuing to stick with me through this difficult time.

For a while it sure seemed like things were just going to continue to be peachy right?

Everything was going smoothly. I was on track. I was exercising every day. My lung function was increasing. My body was feeling better and better (and looking better too, if you’ll excuse a bit of vanity).

And then I hit the end my subutex taper and it seemed like I was about to lose EVERYTHING I had worked for. I know now that it was just my mind telling me that, because there was a part of me that honestly wanted to lose everything because then people wouldn’t have any expectations of me anymore and it would be okay for me to self-destruct and use drugs. To give in.

But the universe has given me a support system for which I am supremely grateful. My parents Rob and Karen, my sister Rachael, my future brother-in-law Luke, my aunt Kate and uncle Richard, my aunt Laura, my closest friends Noah, Cheyne, and Dusty, and even some new friends I have met who also have CF and can relate to some of my struggles.

And because of that support system I have found the strength inside me to keep going even when part of me wants to just say “fuck it”.

But I’ve been thinking a lot over the last few nights about what it really is inside of me that makes me turn to a “quick fix”, makes me want to just take a pill instead of try one of the many other options open to me. You see, for a long time I really thought it was because I couldn’t handle pain – whether physical, mental or emotional. I thought I was so weak that anything would send me running for relief.

I’m sorry Mom, but I have to tell this story because it so clearly illustrates where I’ve been and what destructive part of me.

When my Mom first found out I had been using Heroin, she walked into my room, sat down across from me, and completely straight faced, told me that she didn’t expect me to make it and that really, it was no skin off her back since I had stolen from her, cheated her, lied to her and manipulated her constantly for over a year. She told me that she sure hoped that the rehab program I was planning on attending would work, but that in truth she had no hope for me. She told me that in her mind, she’d already lost her son.

And you know what I did? I didn’t shed a tear. I said, “well, I guess an apology isn’t going to cut it then”. I think if she hadn’t been as in control of herself as she was she would have slapped my face. Instead she said, “no, nothing you can say will make this better”. And she walked out of the room.

But here is the clincher. The second she’d left, I locked myself in the bathroom, fixed, and shot up. Because I didn’t know of any other way to relieve the pain of what I had just gone through.

Despite what people say, addicts still feel. They feel deeply. At least, I did. And hearing my mom tell me that she really had no hope for my recovery cut me to the core. But I was so cut off from those emotions after artificially suppressing them with drugs for so long that the only option I felt that I had was to get high and just escape.

That’s a hard story for me to tell, and it sure isn’t the worst of what I’ve been through with my family and friends during the last 5 years. If people could be canonized for dealing with addicts then most of my family and friends deserve that, if not a sainthood. They have continued to love me and stick with me when I have given up on myself.

So that takes me back to my original topic. What is it inside me that has been making me run for quick, easy relief or more appropriately, escape – whenever I feel any sort of emotional, mental, or physical pain?

Am I really weak? Cause at this point in my life I don’t think so. I’ve done some pretty amazing things in my life. And I continue to notice my strength increasing, but it seems to really be limited to the physical realm. So yeah, I can tolerate a much higher level of physical pain than I used to be able to. I can sit with a terrible cough-induced headache and do nothing but put an ice pack on my head or maybe take a couple Excedrin. In the past these kinds of headaches sent me running for opiates.

I can get on the treadmill, do my Tai Chi, contort my body into the Lotus Position (although that has gotten easier and easier as my flexibility increases) and deal with the pain and even to a certain extent enjoy it.

Buuut…the mental/emotional pain is different. I spoke with my aunt this morning as she was slicing apples and I was making tea. We talked about how there is this part of my mind that just seems to want something, anything to relieve those symptoms.

On the one hand, I know that for a few days still the clonazepam I am taking won’t form a dependence for me and that it is helping me continue to pursue my goal of optimal wellness. But soon it will run out and I need to be ready, not just to find new ways to mitigate symptoms but to find new ways to think about my body, to realize that most of my symptoms are CREATED by my mind.

Many people have written many books about the “mind-body connection”. And I understand that pretty well I think. My issue at the moment is the opposite: I want to know about “mind-body separation”.

My aunt was telling me that part of what I need to do is start to actually sit in my body and feel what it feels and ignore what my brain wants to tell me about how I am feeling.

So, my goal today is not just to endure pain, but to try and separate the pain my mind wants to create for me from the actual pain inside my body. To separate them and to try to respond to them in a way that truly creates harmony inside my whole being.

Thanks for reading guys and for keeping up with this process with me. It’s been a tough week, but I think I am through the absolute worst of it now and I believe it is now a matter of staying the course and finding some new ways to connect with my body and new ways to quiet my mind.

Peace to you all, and I hope you hear my gratitude flooding out into the universe toward you all today.

-Nathan

By the way, I added the photo at the beginning because it really symbolized form the the path I am taking. It is full of snags, twists and turns. It is difficult, but it is leading somewherebetter than being stuck in this forest.

 

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2 responses to “Mind-Body Separation

  1. Good to catch up with the latest posts Nathan. Keep fighting – it will be worth it. Proud of you!

  2. Well, this one was hard to read, Nathan. Addiction is the cruelest of diseases; the cruelest task master. It’s been so devastating for you and your whole family. AND – I believe you can make it. I believe you have a purpose here that you must fulfill. I believe God can use for good what feels like the biggest disaster and years of struggle.
    You ARE making great progress and I’m standing with you believing you can choose LIFE and PURPOSE and HOPE,
    Love always,
    Mom
    ps I know I”m not supposed to post stuff like this but please indulge me this one time! I am your mother after all!

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