When Scoliosis Makes You Dislike ‘Being in Your Own Body’
I don’t like being in my body. It pains me so.
I feel a twisted spine with metalwork through it — awkward and crooked. I feel tension, pain and agitation in muscles that are pulled and twisted so they can’t sit in their right position. I feel my own spine can’t hold me up and my own body is letting me down.
“No, that will hurt.”
“No, I have no energy.”
“No, I’m so bloody tired.”
“No, I can’t.”
“No, it’s not safe.”
“No, it might hurt.”
I feel so deeply the internal struggle that comes with having to battle that voice on a daily basis and the energy it takes.
I feel lethargic.
I hear constant internal negative mental talk trying to figure out what’s wrong. It projects wrong onto all around me and everything I do, driven by heightened amounts of adrenalin running through my veins. Driven by the body’s natural response to pain and danger. Driven to figure out the source of the danger, not knowing it is my own body and how the mind’s desire to figure out what is wrong creates secondary pain and adds to the overall experience of pain.
So frustratingly, I feel my inability to just relax into the moment, feeling safe in my body and safe in space and time.
I feel the inability to fully and genuinely connect to people because I’ve locked myself away in a self-created box of “safe.”
I experience the inability to enjoy music, reading or TV programs without the mind saying, “You’re in survival mode. These aren’t important to you right now. You don’t have time for these right now.”
And it’s constant evaluation of pieces of art, trying to figure out what they mean and what their value is through the lens of survival mode and complex post-traumatic stress syndrome (C-PTSD).
I experience brain fog, depression and an inability to concentrate on anything whenever my sensitive gut is aggravated, or when I’m in a lot of pain.
I feel so much frustration at this and as though I’m being left behind because I can’t do as much as my peers.
I feel a constant need to control and manage my body, my diet, my time, my energy and my environment. I feel a constant need to evaluate everything.
I feel restricted and suffocated by such a moment-to-moment need to control and manage everything.
I feel heavily the weight of these chains. I feel a need to break out and burst free of all chains.
I feel the joy that comes with the first beer, the first inkling of release from those chains.
I feel a lightness and a laughter that comes with the second beer.
I feel the energy that comes with the third as my central nervous system becomes suppressed.
I feel a bursting forth of freedom, expression and dance with the fourth as my soul becomes freer from my body.
I feel the need to keep drinking and keep going, to push myself as far away from my reality as possible.
I wake up the next day feeling great because I’m still quite drunk. I feel free. I can think clearly. I have access to more creativity and flow without the fearful voice in the background.
I then feel the crash and bang back into a stiff and painful body when the alcohol wears off.
I feel the heavy return to the body of fully feeling every single little thing there is to feel physically, emotionally and mentally in being alive.
I feel too much — way too much. I don’t like being in my body.
I reach for something stronger.
I feel high and light like my body is hugging me from the inside out.
I feel loved and willing to love.
I feel free.
And yet, I still have to come down, come back into the body and feel everything all over again. Everything and more because of the side effects of the drug.
I fear death, destruction and despair.
I fear being out of control while at the same time I crave it the most — to let go of control.
I lie down and give myself a rest.
I bring my attention to my breath — to the fact that my body is breathing itself and feel the air moving in and out of my lungs.
I feel my tummy rise and fall as I breathe.
I sense my pain fade ever so slightly to the background — my emotions and my thoughts too.
I keep coming back to the breath.
I feel like the breath is all there is or it is the loudest input in this moment. I feel each breath as a wave of moments, one on top of the other.
In and out, in and out — like waves on the shore.
I feel a very subtle sense of peace settling into my system.
I feel painful parts of my body distract me and pull my attention towards them.
I feel angry.
I hear distressing thoughts, “For god’s sake! Just go away and leave me be for one goddamn minute! Will I be like this forever? How on earth am I going to continue living my life like this? I hate my life. I hate myself. I’m so so tired of living like this. I don’t know how I can go on.”
I notice my belly moving with the breath again.
I bring my full attention back to my breath.
The thoughts continue but I just keep focusing on my breath.
I cultivate self-compassion towards my pain.
I remember that resistance, separation and anger only fuel more adrenalin and more pain.
“Everything belongs here.”
“All pain, all emotions, all thoughts belong because they are here right now. It cannot be any other way than what it is right now.”
“Everything I feel is a part of me and if I don’t love them, I just cause more suffering.”
I notice the intensity of the pain shift slightly.
I breathe…and breathe…and breathe. In and out, in and out.
I draw my attention to my body.
I feel what areas are the most painful.
I bring all my attention to them and imagine breathing into them.
“Everything belongs here.”
I notice the intensity of the pain has changed and the areas of pain shift.
The pain is not static.
My pain is not forever — it shifts and changes in intensity, like all things in life.
This too shall pass — like the breath, like the moment, like the thought, like the feeling.
This too shall pass.
It is a simple yet profound understanding.
It is not a cure-all, it is not a quick fix and it is not a magic wand to make everything go away.
It is a subtle but feathery soft blanket of peace that holds all suffering.
I am lucky to know this trick.
I am still here because of this trick.
I don’t like being in my body.
I can check out whenever I want to.
But I can also check in and just be with it, in loving kindness.
“I don’t like being in my body” is just a thought that passes and will always pass. For now, I just breathe and I am being with my body.
Getty Images: Juliia Tochilina