Some examples of easy self-care:
These are 25 of my best self-care tips. I like keeping a list of ideas nearby so that I can turn to it in times of need. It takes weeks to develop a habit but it’s never too late to begin and starting when you feel well will allow you to have tools to use when you are unwell.
All of this information is especially important when you are in the throes of a mental illness. It will be even more difficult to engage in self-care when you are unwell, which is why it’s important to start getting into the habit when you are healthy.]]>
The following information is not to be used as medical advice, as I am not a healthcare professional. I am simply writing from my own experiences. What has worked and been true to me, may not work for someone else.
There are many myths surrounding self-care that prevent many from partaking in it and these myths can come from various sources. I am going to focus on the four most common myths and what about them is untrue.
To start off, some people think that self-care costs too much money. Showing love to yourself does not need to be extravagant and cost a lot of money. Many times, people think of self-care as taking a day at the spa. This is time-consuming, expensive, and impractical. Caring for yourself can be something free that is done from your home, such as taking a hot bath.
A second myth is that it takes too much time. Self-care doesn’t need to require an hour of private time a day, every day. It can be performed in small intervals a few times a week. Take a 10-minute walk somewhere in nature, three times a week.
Third, there are individuals who feel that it’s selfish to put themselves first. This is where the analogy of pouring from an empty cup comes in, or the one about putting on your own oxygen mask before that of your dependent. You need to take proper care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else. It is NOT selfish to take care of yourself.
A final example of a myth surrounding self-care is that people feel that they don’t need it. Everyone needs to show themselves some care and love, no matter what their situation may be. Self-care is not just a way to prevent relapses of mental illness symptoms but is a way to maintain optimal mental health.
These four common myths may come from many sources – a person’s own ideas, things they have read, or even societal pressures. But the important thing is to debunk these myths and find a way to show ourselves love in whatever way we can.]]>
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DBT stands for Dialectical Behaviour Therapy. It was created by Marsha Linehan and is typically used to treat Borderline Personality Disorder. I have done this program twice and found it to be much more helpful the second time. If you have the option to repeat it, do it as many times as you need to. Where I live, there is a free program offered through the local hospital system, so it doesn’t cost anything to learn new skills or take the program multiple times. All you need is a referral from your doctor.
Distress tolerance is the first section of the second DBT program that I did. By the last week of this section and I found myself feeling very overwhelmed. In the full DBT program, there are three main sections – Distress Tolerance, Emotion Regulation, and Interpersonal Relationships. A different skill is taught each and every week. This means 24 total skills over the course of the program! With only a week spent on each skill, I found that it is difficult to become proficient in any of them. I’ve also found that when it comes time to use a skill, I felt too overwhelmed by choices and didn’t have any of the skills committed to memory well enough to use.
I know that I can’t be alone in feeling this way so I decided to write a post about DBT skills and how to overcome the overwhelm that you may feel during a program.
Here is what I suggest to make the most out of a DBT program.
First of all, it is important to participate fully in your program. There are several ways to do this. Listen while you’re in a group, ask questions, pay attention to the experiences of other group members, take the time to do your homework each week, and practice the skills as many times as you can during the week.
Practice when you are feeling well
A lot of these skills – especially mindfulness – can be practiced at any time, in any situation. So when you are feeling good, take the time to practice them! This will make it so much easier to be effective when you are actually experiencing a difficult time.
Keep your manual close by
If you have your manual somewhere that you can see it, you are more likely to use it. When you are experiencing a difficult situation, you can easily open your manual and find a skill that will work for what you are going through. If your manual is hidden away, you may not think to use it.
Use Mindfulness Daily
This is repeating some of the points from the “practicing when you are well” section but I really want to stress its importance. Mindfulness is a big part of DBT as well as mental health in general and it can be used in numerous situations with any type of mental illness. In a future post, I will go more into detail about what constitutes mindfulness and the best ways to practice it, but for now, I’ll just say to practice it daily and it will become a habit for many life situations.
Use additional resources
There are many resources that you can use to compliment your program. Some examples are: finding peer support, purchasing a workbook (like the DBT workbook from Amazon), individual therapy, and books on Borderline Personality Disorder (e.g., I Hate You, Don’t Leave Me).
These are some of the tips that have helped me get through my programs without being too overwhelmed and finish DBT with some usable skills. Contact your doctor or local hospital to find out if there are any similar programs in your area.]]>
In August of 2012, I found out that I was pregnant. We weren’t exactly trying to get pregnant but I had just gotten off of my birth control pills. I was over the moon excited. There were so many things in my life that I was clueless about, but one thing I have always known is that I wanted to be a mom. That lifelong dream was finally coming true. I didn’t tell many people, just close family, but I started planning right away. I made a cute Pinterest board of baby ideas, we talked about names and decorating the nursery and window shopping online for all of the things that a baby would need. I was incredibly happy.
On September 9th, 2012 (which also happened to be our second wedding anniversary) I started spotting. We decided to go to the hospital just to be safe. The doctor took some blood to test my HCG levels. It was Dr Chaudhry on call that day. She came back into the room to give me the worst news a new mom could expect to hear – I was losing my baby. It was early, I was 6 weeks and 2 days pregnant. But my baby was alive and real. The doctor had zero bedside manner and told me that everyone has a miscarriage and it’s not a big deal. That just about destroyed me. Michael turned white as a sheet and went into the bathroom connected to my room. My parents were there to comfort me. The doctor told me to just go home and everything would pass naturally. I walked out of that hospital like a zombie. I couldn’t believe that this was happening to me. My world was shattered. I remember going home and laying in bed and just staring at the wall crying. I cried like I’ve never cried before. Eventually I couldn’t cry anymore so I just laid there staring. Occasionally I moved from the bed to the recliner to put my heating pad on to manage the cramping. I went through the motions for a while. Not really living. I was angry at everything and everyone. I couldn’t understand why people were telling me that things happen for a reason. What reason could there possibly be for my baby dying? It wasn’t fair. I saw pregnant women everywhere and it just made me angry. When I heard a complaint about pregnancy or babies a fire burned in my soul. A school acquaintance of mine was due to have her baby the day before mine was due (which was May 2nd 2013), so I had to watch her healthy pregnancy progress as I sat there, empty. I remember doing a lot of walking. I would lace up my shoes, plug in my headphones and try to walk away my pain. My song of choice was The Funeral by Band of Horses. This song was written about seeing relatives at family events feeling like funerals, but for some reason the music really spoke to me. I tend to gravitate more towards melodies than lyrics. I played that song on repeat and angry walked around my neighbourhood day after day. Scarlett probably appreciated all of the walking, but she knew that something was wrong. She was a wonderful support during this time. I don’t think that Michael (my ex-husband) really knew what to do. He was upset but he didn’t take it as hard as I did.
I knew that I still wanted to have a baby so at some point we decided to try again. I had joined an online forum for support and learned more about fertility than anyone needs to know. I felt that the more I knew, the more I could control. I read books. I read articles. I read posts from other women going through what I went through. Looking back, I’m not sure how healthy the forum was. There was support there but I think it also kept me reliving the pain. And month after month (despite using fertility apps, ovulation kits and basal body temperature thermometers), I kept getting negative pregnancy tests. It was probably the stress because I wanted this so bad. When Mother’s Day came after my loss, my (insensitive) aunt – who we don’t speak to anymore – made some comment about me having to wait to eat my dinner because I wasn’t a mom. I just about lost it and had to leave the room to cry.
About 9 months later, I finally got that positive pregnancy test. It was May of 2013, around the time my baby should have been born. I was happy for the positive test, but sad about the fact that I should already have a healthy baby at that time. It felt like an absolute eternity but in hindsight 9 months is really not that long, and I needed the time to process my loss and be able to handle a new pregnancy. My youngest brother found out that I was pregnant and asked if that meant that I wouldn’t be angry anymore. Clearly my feelings weren’t just internalized like I thought. I was nervous every day. I was just waiting for bad news, I couldn’t just relax and enjoy the pregnancy. At 9 weeks, I had some spotting and went into an absolute panic that it was happening to me again. I vividly remember laying on my bed in the living room, elevating my feet and watching Murder She Wrote. Michael must have been working because I was alone. It turned out to be nothing but I was terrified the entire time. 9 more months later, on January 27th, 2014, my beautiful daughter Evelyn was born. There was some birth trauma that doesn’t have a place here, but when I finally got to hold her I just cried and cried. She had the most beautiful, big, brown eyes and she was so alert. We bonded instantly. To this day, that was one of the best moments of my entre life.
I felt a little guilty about being so happy. I had spoken with so many women who had stories that were so tragic that I don’t know how they had the strength to keep going. A loss at 6 weeks of pregnancy is different than a full-term stillborn or a baby who lives hours or days before passing away. But I still feel that any loss is a loss and moms are allowed to feel their pain. Miscarriage is something that happens so frequently and often for unknown reasons, but that doesn’t make it any less painful when it happens.
Evelyn is now 5 (almost 6!) and while this happened 7 years ago, I can still remember the pain like it was yesterday. I am grateful every single day for my daughter. I know how fortunate I am to have her. Not everyone gets a happy ending to their story. Through all of my mental illness episodes, Evelyn is what has kept me going. I had finally fulfilled my dream of becoming a mom and I was determined to be the best mom I could be, even when I was experiencing my darkest days. Sometimes I was in the depths of despair and it seemed like I would never see light again, but my daughter never was far from my mind and she has saved my life several times over.
I’ve struggled with how to end this piece. I would like to offer support to moms who have experienced loss, in a sensitive way. Everyone experiences their own stories and losses in their own ways, so I can only speak for myself. Loss changes you forever, but I also believe in hope. I’ve walked a difficult path in a few ways but I’m plowing through and blazing a new trail in hopes that others can take my experiences and help live their own best stories.
What does that word mean to you? What kinds of things come to mind? For a lot of people, this word has negative connotations and is related to those suffering from addictions to serious drugs.
What a lot of people might not know is that it is possible for people to suffer from awful withdrawal symptoms from the psychiatric medications that are legally prescribed to them.
I have been on medications for more than half of my life, and my list of meds includes most of the drugs ever produced. My prescriptions are forever changing and the doses constantly increasing until I max them out and have to switch to something else. Finding a “drug cocktail” that works at an optimal level and doesn’t cause horrific side effects is akin to looking for a unicorn. It is a frustrating process to say the least. It makes you feel like a guinea pig. Your doctor is basically playing trial and error until something seems to click. And then you wait and hope that it continues to work. This is the best option that we have right now. Another huge gap in care for mental health.
I’m normally very compliant with taking my meds. Even when I’m feeling good and sometimes have those thoughts that maybe I don’t actually need to take them, I still continue on my regimen. I believe that the meds are for my own good right now so I know that I must take them.
But every once in a while for one reason or another I miss a dose. Sometimes it is just a matter of forgetting. Sometimes I simply feel too tired to swallow handfuls of pills. Sometimes I’m not feeling well and can’t get them down. Sometimes I just fall asleep too early for my nighttime dose. Whatever the case, just one dose missed is enough for me to experience withdrawal symptoms.
This is what I experienced yesterday, after missing one single night time dose of several of my medications.
I had a headache. I was hot and cold. My stomach was in knots. I couldn’t eat to keep anything down. I was tired but couldn’t sleep. I felt like my skin was crawling. I had the shakes. I was fuzzy and disoriented. My brain was foggy. Getting out of bed felt like climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. I was anxious. My entire body felt horrible.
And these are just the symptoms that I can put into words. I wanted to write this post last night so that the desperation I was feeling would seep into my writing but I couldn’t function at a high enough level to get up and actually write anything.
So why am I writing this? Why not just ensure that I take my meds and keep quiet about it? I feel the need to speak out because this is what so many of us are dealing with on a regular basis on top of mental illness. It’s not often that I let this happen (I set alarms on my phone and have a pretty good system in place) but I’m not perfect, so it does happen. I feel so terrible when I’m in withdrawal that I do whatever I can to not feel that way.
Furthermore, there is a larger issue here. Many of these medications are old. They have been around for decades. Why do we not have better options now? Why do doctors still have to play trial and error? On top of that, why are doctors so quick to whip out their prescription pads and write scripts for these drugs that can be so harmful? What other solutions can we create for this mental health crisis that society is dealing with? We need to be creative here and work together.
This is my purpose. I was put on this earth to go through these experiences so that I can use my unique gifts to speak out about what is happening and try to find creative ways to fill the gaps. I hope that you have learned something from this post or become inspired by it – together we can make change!]]>
This is me. A normal mom in her early 30’s. I look just like anyone else, and sometimes I even have a smile on my face. You may not know it to look at me but I suffer from mental illnesses, including depression.
People often imagine a depressed person as someone who is sad all of the time. But there is much more to it than that. Everyone gets sad or has “the blues” from time to time, and that is completely normal. It is also normal to feel extreme sadness and show other symptoms like crying when in periods of grief. Clinical depression is different and is not normal sadness.
A brief example of the criteria for depression from The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual are depression most of the day, every day, reduced interest or pleasure in activities, changes in weight (gain or loss), feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness, and thoughts of death or suicidal ideation. These are all clinical terms and can be very subjective. The terms are subjective and depend on honest reports from the patient about what they are feeling. But these criterion leave out so much of what a depressed individual’s life is actually like. Next, I’ll outline some of the lesser talked about symptoms from my own experience.
First, not being able to get out of bed for days. Not for anything. Not to shower, not to eat, not to watch TV. Everything feels like a giant, exhausting struggle, and when you’re depressed, you don’t see what the point is in getting out of bed and engaging with life. This has obvious effects on weight, and personal hygiene, but when I am in a depression, I really don’t care about those things. I’m just trying to survive. The mental and physical exhaustion is overpowering.
Isolation is a huge one for me personally. When I’m feeling a depression, I isolate myself from everyone and everything. No seeing family, no seeing friends, no social media. Being around people is exhausting. It is too difficult to put on a happy face and smile or act like my normal self. And I have no desire to engage in any social activity. I don’t feel like I’m worth it and nobody would want me there anyway.
Many other negative emotions come with feeling depressed. A couple of examples are guilt and shame. You feel guilty for not being able to keep up with commitments or being a good parent/friend/relative, etc. You feel ashamed for feeling the way you do and think that you should be able to “snap out of it”, which I believe comes from the stigma associated with mental illness.
Finally, loss of enjoyment and pleasure or ability to carry out daily activities. I am a person with several hobbies, but when I’m depressed, I don’t engage in any of them. I also have my own home and have responsibilities to maintain it. Below I’ll show some photos of what my house can look like when I’m in the middle of a depression. Piles of unfolded or unwashed laundry. Dirty dishes for days without being washed. Floors that need sweeping and washing. Bed not being made. These are just a few examples.
Another thing worth mentioning is how difficult it is to maintain a household while depressed. I am a single mom so all of the household responsibilities fall to me. Here are a few photos from my house after a depressive episode.
It’s really embarrassing to see these photos but I feel that they need to be shared so that people know that they are not alone. If it is so hard to have the energy to take a shower, imagine how difficult housework must be!
But this does not need to be your life!! I’m working on another post that is going to explain further, but give yourself lots of self-love when you are feeling this way. Ask for help if you have people in your life who can help you. There is nothing to be ashamed of, despite the stigma. You can beat the depression. It’s not an easy task by any means, but you can do this!! It has taken me years of work to try and improve my depression. I’m not perfect, and I still have my bad days, but I’m learning how to show myself love when I need it and get through a depressive episode much more easily than I could before. More to come!!
I was dealing with a few pressures in major areas of my life – my finances, my home, and my job. Legal action was involved, and several distressed phone calls were made and emails sent. It was the making of a very stressful day, which is never good for your mental condition.
I really tried to keep a positive mind. I tried to think of all of the things that I have to be thankful for (and there are many!) but I still felt agitated, irritated, and out of sorts.
After speaking with one of my favourite people (who is a great support in my life), I realized that I need to let things be what they are and not fight it. It will happen as it happens. The worst case scenarios that I am imagining probably won’t happen but if they do, it’s for a reason. It will be for the best in my life and for a purpose (Read more great concepts like this from Eckhart Tolle’s book entitled A New Earth Find it on Amazon.)
My supporter also suggested that I try some reiki and send myself some unconditional love, which is what I did.
I normally feel cold all of the time but while I was doing the reiki hand positions on myself, I could feel the heat radiating from my body – energy!! When I run through the Chakra hand positions, I let my body determine how long I need to hold them. This session, I spent a lot of time on the crown Chakra, the third eye Chakra, and the heart Chakra.
The crown Chakra (top of the head) is the Chakra of divine purpose and destiny. It balanes interior and exterior and creates a whole. It connects you with messages from higher realms. I think I spent time here to balance myself and listen to the powers that be.
The third eye Chakra (forehead, between the eyes) is related to the Pineal Gland. It is a physical eye that can look upward. It is the Chakra of questioning, for example things such as the spiritual nature of our existence. It also contains our inner vision. I think that I spent time here because I was questioning my existence and spirituality.
Finally, the heart Chakra is the centre of love, harmony, and peace. Blockage in this Chakra can result in immune system problems, heart problems, or a lack of compassion. This Chakra is always one that I’m drawn to. I need to feel love and harmony and peace (and I often don’t). I also have troubles with feeling compassion when I’m going through something difficult, so I know this Chakra gets blocked for me and needs extra time spent on it.
While I had my hand on my chest, I also used the symbol of unconditional love. It is like the @ symbol but with an “e” at the centre, instead of an “a”. I traced it on my palm a few times. I wrote it in the air and pushed it out away from me (to send unconditional love to others) and brought the last one back into my chest to bring myself unconditional love.
When I first heard of reiki (years ago) I wasn’t convinced that it was a real thing that could actually help me, but because I had an open mind and experienced it, I’ve been able to examine all that it has to offer. I’d recommend looking for a Reiki master in your area to give you a level 1 certification so that you can practice on yourself at any time that you need it.
Information on Chakras in this post come from a Reiki Level 1 Manual that I got from my practitioner, Maria Fiordalisi.
At first, I wondered why she recommended this book to me, as I do not currently have a cancer diagnosis, nor do any of my close family members. But I quickly learned why this was an important book to read.
Bourbeau discusses everyone having an inner light or “God” that they need to bring out. We are made up of physical, mental, and emotional bodies, but they are not always in tune with our inner light (or purpose).
She discusses how mental struggles and related events can manifest themselves as physical illnesses such as cancer. This statement may seem to be placing the blame on patients, but Lise is merely pointing out that we need to give ourselves more self-love and focus on bringing out our inner light in order to heal ourselves physically. Furthermore, she is not saying that anyone purposely brings the diagnosis upon themselves, it is most often done unconsciously, and if we look back, we can often find events that prompt it. She provides case studies of individuals whom she has worked with in the past that lend validity to what she is saying.
Bourbeau describes how we often have an inner wound of “rejection” that needs to be healed before physical ailments can be removed. This was the part of the book that spoke to me the most. There are many ways that this wound of rejection can be activated, and it can start from before we are even born! There are so many different factors at play and she writes another book dedicated to wounds such as rejection. I have added this book to my to-be-read list, so I won’t speak too much to it here.
This book is very much an alternative approach to diseases such as cancer, and it took me some time to appreciate what Bourbeau was saying. I wasn’t sure how I felt about people bringing these illnesses on themselves, however unconscious it may be. Because of my anxious nature, I also saw a lot of myself in the topics that this book was discussing and was feeling a bit fearful about bringing on a diagnosis of my own. But when I finished the book, I realized the importance of focusing on self-love and healing my own wound of rejection so that my physical body stays healthy.
I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads and would recommend it to anyone who is working on self-acceptance and love, or anyone suffering from a debilitating physical illness such as cancer. It was an approach to physical illness that I’ve never experienced before but it really got my mind working.
Buy it on Amazon Here
When I experience vomit with any of my senses (by feeling it, seeing it, hearing it, smelling it, etc.) or if I think that it is going to happen around me. I get an immediate panic reaction. I’m talking blind panic. Can’t function panic. Loss of cognitive functioning panic. I have a sixth sense about it and can tell when someone else Is sick before they even know it because I’m so hypervigilant due to my phobia.
Imagine, if you will, being chased by a murderer who is chasing you specifically and you know that your life is going to end with horrible torture. Not a nice picture, right? But this is the kind of panic I experience every time vomit is around me. My heart rate quickens, my palms get sweaty, all of my attention turns to how I can possibly escape the situation, I’m forgetful, shaky, and feel completely out of control.
Sometimes I even have nightmares about it. It is usually the same nightmare. I’m trapped somewhere with vomiting people and I cannot escape. I panic, looking for any way to get away from sick people and not get sick myself. I wake up feeling terrified and exhausted.
Additionally, this phobia affects me in many areas of my life, it’s not just a phobia while it’s happening. I have a list of “safe” foods that I will order in a restaurant. Meat is not on that list. I’m terrified of it not being cooked correctly and ending up with food poisoning. I use public washrooms as infrequently as possible because I’m always afraid of hearing someone vomit or having the fear that someone was sick in the stall that I’m using. I panic when I’m in car rides with my daughter or other children for fear that they will get sick in the car and I’ll be trapped in there with a mess to clean up. I keep a bucket beside my bed in case my daughter gets sick during the night (we bed share). I have visions of becoming sick in public situations and not being able to make it to the bathroom. Cold and flu season is full of anxiety because there are always people around me who are getting sick. During the times that I do come down with this illness (or if my daughter or a family member is sick) – I do not eat. I will go days without eating, or eating only toast and drinking coke. This ends up making me feel worse because I have no food to give me energy. These are just some of the areas in my life that I avoid or make changes to in order to get away from my phobia.
I find this phobia to be very embarrassing because it’s not dangerous and I try not to tell people about it if I can help it, but I figure it’s time to speak out. A lot of people don’t understand what it’s like and try to make me feel better and say “oh, me too”, but I know that they don’t really get it. You cannot fully understand what a phobia feels like unless you have been there to experience it yourself. Especially when it is something like vomit that really doesn’t elicit any serious danger.
I’ve tried many things to help with this phobia. I take a daily anxiety pill that keeps some of the edge off. I often take Ativan when I’m feeling panic, but after taking it for so many years, I need a large dose for it to take any effect. I’ve been in therapy for many years, and we often talk about this phobia and how I can get over it. My therapist has recommended trying to visualize everything turning out fine, and telling myself that I can get through it, no matter how difficult it may seem. I’ve tried this and it helps slightly in certain situations, but it’s not been life changing. I have given some thought to exposure therapy, but my therapist pointed out that it is something difficult to do with my specific phobia because it involves health and hygiene. Furthermore, I’ve talked with my life plan specialist about this and she believes that this phobia may have come from a past life because I cannot pinpoint a situation in this life that caused it, and some of my earliest memories in this life are of vomit experiences (mainly other people). We are currently working on some ways to deal with it, including giving myself more self-love. What I would really like to do, is get rid of the immediate panic sensation, rather than learning to deal with the panic after it comes, but so far, I’ve been unsuccessful.
I hope that reading this has helped some of you feel like you aren’t alone. Many people suffer from phobias and they are difficult to treat. If you’ve been successful in treating a phobia, feel free to share in the comments. And WHEN the day comes that I get over this, I will post again with how I did it – because I do believe that this day will come.
I drove up to the building with a feeling of anticipation and some anxiety about what I was about to experience.
When I got to the room, I could hear a few voices, I walked in and was greeted by one familiar face and two new friendly faces. The room looked as I expected it to. There was a bed in the middle, a couple of chairs around the outside of the room, salt lamps rested on counter tops, crystals were carefully placed on cabinets, essential oil bottles were nestled in a rolling cart. All things that I’ve experienced in the offices of other holistic practitioners. Even though I had never been there before, it felt like a familiar environment.
We started the session by having me lay down on the bed and the two practitioners used their respective techniques to examine the energy that was emanating from my body. They agreed that there was some coming from my crown but I had a huge amount of energy coming from the tops of my feet. There was also some stuck energy at my hips. My hands were also clenched (they always curl, it’s most comfortable for me). They practiced different modalities but both agreed on where the energy was surrounding my body. They asked me if I felt their assessment was accurate and I really did think so! My feet are constantly moving, so it makes sense that there is energy there.
The reiki master performed an attunement on me that took about 10 minutes. The purpose of this was to open my chakras and let the energy flow through my body. She had me close my eyes and rest my hands on a pillow so I wouldn’t have the urge to clench them. She worked from behind me and in-front of me. When she tapped my shoulder I had to put my hands in prayer position. As soon as she started working on me I felt a tingling sensation that started in my head and went down my spine. A couple of times it went right down to my feet. Towards the end I also felt a slight swirling of energy in my head as well. By the end I felt open and grounded.
After the treatment, she taught me some level 1 reiki. All of the hand positions that go with the 7 body chakras and how to use them to help myself.
The final thing that we did was talk about the trapped energy in my hip area. I have a history of self-harm and my right thigh is the location of my body that I choose to cut. I have physical scars on my thigh and a lot of negative emotions surrounding it. The practitioners had me place one hand on my thigh and describe how I felt about the area. For me, it was very negative and I associated the colour red with it. I also felt it in my chest, so they had me place my left hand over my heart. I closed my eyes and imagined the negative taking up as much space as it needed. I was told not to try and supress the negative like I normally do, but to allow it to hold space and just accept that it is there. I sat like this for a few minutes and just visualized these emotions taking up space. Then we decided to replace the negative with something positive. I was told to choose what I wanted to fill that negative space with and I chose love – I’m working on accepting myself and eventually loving myself. I imagined love but I couldn’t say out loud that I loved myself or that I was deserving of love, so the practitioners said it for me. They told me several times that I am deserving of love. Then I opened my eyes and didn’t feel quite as much tension in the area. I know that this is a sensitive area for me, so it is not going to go away after one treatment but now I know how to work through it when I’m feeling particularly negative.
Almost a week has now passed since this experience. I have used the reiki techniques that I learned, when I was having a particularly difficult day. I used the reiki chakra hand positions in a meditative fashion. It helped me to relax and allow the energy to flow through my body. I still have a lot to learn and will need much more practice to become proficient but I’m enjoying the process so far. I encourage you all to give this modality a try if you are able!