The following is Alex’s story:
Hey guys! Most of you who read our stuff know that Megan and I have both been working with a life coach, Cameron, recently.
Working with her the past 8 months has been an amazing process of self-discovery…but there are definitely things that I’ve uncovered that have taken a little work to really get to the bottom of.
I started working on my own internal relationship to my health and body from the beginning of our sessions. With 20 years of chronic pain, endometriosis, infertility, and gut dysfunction under my belt, I knew that I had some hold ups in this area that were keeping me from living the life and enjoying the health that I so badly wanted.
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Unfortunately, the process of building mental barriers is surprisingly easy when you feel that you body lets you down time and time again.
You watch others doing (seemingly) whatever they want, whenever they want it and they feel fantastic. Meanwhile, you’re in constant internal anguish over the nagging symptoms and never ending list of ailments that you have going on in your world.
It’s just a hop, skip, and a jump until you’re thinking, “God, I’m such a freak. Why is my body so messed up?”
Before you know it, you’ve build layers and layers of walls in your mental construct about all the things that are “wrong with you” and “why you’ll never get better”.
You get good at believing that you’re not actually good enough to deserve amazing health.
Then the really weird thing happens: you actually start identifying with your illness experiences. They become part of who you are…and maybe account for some of your life purpose.
I built that up for a long time. “I have these issues with my female health so that it will allow me to be a really great physician”, I told myself. The story you tell yourself differs for everyone, but the meaning essentially stays the same.
Once you start integrating those thoughts into the fabric of who you are, it gets harder and harder to image yourself ever getting better.
As I have begun to untangle this web of constructs and (essentially) lies that I tell myself, I’ve gotten a little more insight on some of the deeply rooted emotions I came to find inside myself.
I’ve realized that while I consciously and mentally love the female form and spirit, I haven’t fully been identifying the beauty of actually being one on a personal level.
My period has always been a source of great pain and anxiety for me, thanks largely to severe endometriosis that went undiagnosed for a really long time.
Will it be excruciating this month?
Did I pack enough pads to work?
Is this a normal amount of bleeding? Should I be worried about those clots?
What does this all mean for my fertility?
Are those NSAIDs I have to take to control pain damage my gut further?
Over nearly 2 decades worth of periods (that’s 240 cycles…and 1,680 total days of having a period)!!!
No wonder I have so many layers of thought built up about the issue!
Upon further soul searching, I realized that the two emotions that most deeply underlied all of my anxieties about my menstrual cycle were FEAR and SHAME.
I have felt scared of both the short-term and long-term implications of all the issues, surgeries, and medications I had over the 20 years I’ve had issues with my pelvis.
Fear of pain and the subsequent questioning of my safety were obviously areas that I needed to work. If you can’t feel safe in your own body, where can you possibly feel safe in the physical world?
The shame part weighs even heavier on my mind. How strange it is that my experiences with my reproductive self have brought about feelings of inadequacy as a woman and shame about how I can or cannot be with the partners I love.
These are deep wounds that I’ve gotten over time…and I bet you have your own that you’ve been carrying around for years.
In one of our recent sessions, Cameron suggested I begin to look at my monthly cycle as a period of intense gratitude. Since I’m a gal that does the homework she’s given (thanks to way more schooling than one person should do), I started journaling and creating positive mantras all around the time of my period.
I’ve contemplated a LOT on my relationship with those underlying negative feelings about the entire process. I’ve challenged the belief structures I’ve had for a long time.
The thing about challenging belief structures is that they tend to crumble pretty quickly when they’re not built on solid ground…unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that they don’t end up sticking around for a little while nonetheless.
I’ve decided that the next few months of my personal work will be to reframe and reassess my thinking of myself as a reproductive aged female. There’s a beauty to every stage of life…and I want to get to the point where I am fully enjoying the stage that I’m in, even if it’s not exactly what I had imaged.
That’s not to say that I’ll stop trying to improve my health. That’s certainly not the case. But unless I heal those negative beliefs about myself, I truly believe I’ll be spinning my wheels without getting very far in my health journey. (Notabely, I’ll be doing the DUTCH testing and be participing along with our ladies in the Healthy Hormones Group Program this fall…join us!)
My source of focus to turn the negative into the positive?
Unconditional self love.
Which can be surprisingly hard as well to start, when you’ve been negative about yourself for a while. But with some self-reflection and consistency, I believe learning to support and care for yourself unconditionally–like you would do with anyone else you really loved–is a crucial key to making progress in this important aspect of your life.
(Really stuck?? Work with Cameron.)
This is just the beginning of this journey for me…so stay tuned for all the lessons I learn coming up!
If you’ve been struggling with periods, hormones, pelvic pain, and other issues centered around female health, make sure to swing by our Healthy Hormones Group Program page to see how functional labwork, a personalized protocol, and a healthier mental approach can help you live more energetically, doing the stuff you love 🙂