The "heartbeat" Series: The Awakening
written by Jennifer Coomes
I'm back at the "heartbeat" series after some time off for my doctorate program and life. I left off at an important place talking about the idea, "Could God heal me?" At the time I was dealing with the healing from post concussion syndrome and regurgitated trauma that was pretty seriously messing with my brain and body causing chronic pain, setbacks, and frustration. My physical therapist also got a wide open eye look into my propensity for cussing, but I have to say, that can be blamed more on my poor basal ganglia pathways being off kilter than anything else. Look to my brain health posts to learn ALL about that. It's good for anyone wanting to truly understand what is happening in the brain in trauma.
The thing that really got me to wake up more was the news after my diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound in June was that I had breast tissue abnormalities that need further assessment with biopsies and MRI. I'm still awaiting the opportunity to get this done at this writing due to insurance hold ups, but this revelation was even a deeper opportunity to get at what was troubling me and making me toxic. I took some time just like any woman would to digest, cry, and sort out next steps. I am a healthcare practitioner, so I'm more knowledgeable about the body than most, so I wanted to sort out the deeper causes and make sure I could at least do my absolute best to produce the best outcome. I've been digging into cortisol imbalances, heavy metal toxicity, stress management, toxic relationships, diet, healing trauma, and more. It comes in stages, readiness, and my ability to really be willing to cut the cord to the pain and suffering that was holding me back. No amount of staying the same was going to get me this breakthrough that I desperately needed to get to the other side of this. I even realized that it was so unhealthy to even stay angry at the people who were generating anger and anxiety in my life because it was only adding to the problem, not making it better. Letting go of toxicity and protecting my peace has become my new mantra.
Cleaning out toxicity has it's up and down days. Spiritual music has become my muse lately and there are just certain songs that have been moving me internally lately while my body is sorting things out. They have been inspired by those who are helping me through this crisis, and by the spiritual movement of God in me as I'm learning and feeling my anchor during this time. You'll see them below. It's more than one, but they are all working in my life at this time because it's time for a deeper and bigger breakthrough.
The Awakening comes in here as well. Interestingly enough, there is this important convergence on mental health, the Times Up/Me Too movement, and the pandemic. The Olympics brought out all of the sweet stories, but also this deep reality that women are still very sexualized and mental health for women as survivors of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape is still a topic that deserves more attention. While Simone Biles was the topic of the week about mental health, I think the bigger concerns came with the reality of how deeply difficult it is to remove a New York governor after very serious allegations of sexual harassment, so much so that he's been asked to resign and very well could be impeached.
For a number of months, I know I have personally experienced men, especially older men, trying to intentionally harm my mental health. I've been in a difficult rape case that virtually has had no level of justice. I've been gaslighted to a point that I had to wonder if those who are my closest supporters are people I can even trust to understand what is really going on. We simply live in a time when women are still struggling up against the status quo of a rape culture society. We're not ready to change and truly understand what we have accepted in the treatment of women, especially women in poverty and low income who are often treated even worse in situations regarding rape, sexual assault, and discrimination. I've been so troubled by it and stressed by it that staying silent was a way for me to process these myriad of feelings and the ever changing tides of dark forces and ignorance. I found it interesting that it took so long to make mental health important. When I was in my naturopathic medical schooling, there was an incredible pressure to perform. In fact, you were seen as completely unworthy if you did not perform. For someone like me who had undiagnosed PTSD at the time and was severely bullied by my med school housemates and classmates on top of the declining performance, I was up against my own edges in my mental health. So were many of my classmates. Unless you were supported by friends and family, going through med school is really one of the most traumatic experiences you can put yourself through. I talked to doctors who still were trying to put themselves back together after graduating from medical school. Back ten years ago, just like in the gymnastics field, or really anywhere out there, there simply was not much support for having PTSD or mental health issues in high performance expecting systems. There was no wiggle room for getting it wrong. You had to figure out a way to put yourself together and get through. Even the chief medical officer at the medical school told me in my academic appeal that "I just didn't do enough" after a traumatic series of weeks of losing a close classmate/research mate in a traffic accident, one of our professors being arrested for child molestation, and failing one of my exams that caused a dismissal. It didn't matter that I had tutored to get my brain ready and my knowledge ready for the final, or that I had practiced my 10 minute appeal presentation with a retired Navy officer. The absolute best this woman in leadership could offer me was that "I just didn't do enough." I was simply left out to dry with my financial hardship following me for years after. It didn't matter that I found out years later that my instructor was falsifying exam grades (including mine) or this chief medical officer did nothing to investigate these issues. At that time, it simply didn't matter. If you didn't perform, you were nothing, and people wasted no amount of time letting me know it. The trauma this does to someone's life is hard to forget and forgive, let alone make okay. There were people in my class who later committed suicide. There was just no end to this culture and what it cost. So, it is really bittersweet that we have now only just started to arrive to the occasion that it is okay to stand up for mental health justice. I don't know if it is that Simone Biles is just rich enough, decorated enough, or well liked enough to be able to make this happen while still standing to talk about it or if we are just in a better place to take one step forward. Our society is still pretty brutal and unforgiving. We still have so far to go, and there are so many lives broken for so much wrongdoing and brokenness that it could take years and generations to mend. The thing is though, we need stop making rape culture okay. We need to check ourselves when we say that it's more important to compete and be a human machine versus a human being. When I walk around in society with people still trying to blame me for a society I did not create, I'm wanting to expect more. I'm wanting us to wake up more. I'm wanting us to get real so much more. I had to walk and live a really difficult path because our country simply couldn't wake up fast enough to understand what to do about rape, mental health, and accountability for wrongdoing. We still have these types of leaders in charge that are enabling this harm. I'm living out the stress of that life, and I'm learning that if I am going to get a better outcome, I need to laugh more and let go of what happened to me more. I will never deny though that it happened. IT HAPPENED. Instead, I'm embracing zero tolerance more. I'm getting some courage to navigate around the old school politics that are creating these messes. I wouldn't really even be fighting most of the battles I do if I wasn't in low income. Some of these battles would matter so little to me, and I would not choose them.
I appreciated that Simone Biles chose to serve her mental health first. She took a risk not landing at the top. Her route to awakening was to learn that she was more than just a dominating machine. Even a super power has weakness. We are all better for understanding our vulnerabilities that make us more real. I appreciated that instead of dominating that she handed the baton to her teammates to shine and step up. They did and we may never have learned so much if she hadn't handed the baton. It showed us all what teamwork was about when all the cameras were on one of those teammates. We wouldn't have learned so much about the team as a whole if it wasn't for the one dominating having a moment of vulnerability so that everyone had to collaborate. Sometimes, our awakenings come in the most unique of circumstances.
I have realized while I am waiting to learn more about what my breasts are doing and what my body is doing as a whole that I am genuinely laughing more. I'm traveling through horrible flashbacks and trauma release but I'm also healing more. I'm taking a bit more of a load off and I'm doing what is necessary when it is necessary. I'm refusing to compare myself as much to others and be hard on myself when I can't do all that I want to do but be instead so much more loving for all that I can do while I'm healing. God is healing this mess. I'm improving even while I'm understanding. It keeps me tuned into my heart and what is important. It's been far too long to wait for our culture and society to wake up to what is important. We need to make some important changes so that those of us who have deeply suffered get a better hand. We need to make mental health important. We need to take sexual harassment and rape seriously. We need to take women seriously who are experiencing these battles. We shouldn't have to be privileged to be taken seriously. We can do this better, and I'm grateful for those who are courageous enough at high levels to use their platform to spotlight a very important series of topics for our country and global attention. It's time. Time's Up. As we travel through this Awakening time period, I hope to have good news for you in the times ahead.
It's time to move the mountain. It's time to move the immovable. I believe.
Until next time,