"No one knew. On the outside, I functioned well. With my quirky sense of humor, I often made others laugh. I excelled in my classes on counseling and psychopathology. My curiosity and sensitivity drove me to understand as much as I could about the mind, about people’s pain, about how to help others even while I could not help myself. For months I lived like this, vibrant and sociable in the day, alone and miserable in my head at night. One night, I could not bear it anymore. I knew that the anguish I experienced was limitless. There was, it seemed to me at the time, only one way to extinguish it." - Stacey Freedenthal
As I read the Well & Mind section of the New York Times, I came across this powerful essay by Stacey Freedenthal. She is currently an associate professor at the University of Denver. Teaching in the graduate program, her classes are focused on psychotherapy and mental health assessment. She also has a private practice and runs the suicide awareness website linked above.
This line in her essay really stuck with me. For many years I lived with depression, anger, and anxiety. From the outside, no one could tell that there was darkness that suffocated me and left my full of panic. Although I was never suicidal, I know how it feels to be stuck in your head and body, unable to escape.
I share this story with you today as a reminder that no matter how lost in the dark you may seem to be, there will always be light to guide you out.
"In those moments when I had no air to breathe, I realized that I did not want to end my life. I wanted to end the pain, the obsessions, the agitation. I could find ways to do that while also staying alive."
Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks was one of the first real books I used for reference as a Graduate student. In 2013 I was researching the healing effects of music and it seemed that this book had all the answers I was looking for. This was the first time in my Graduate work that I discovered the writings of such a highly reputable modern doctor acknowledging the deeper connections that exist within us all.
I have been obsessed with Sacks since that research assignment in 2013 although his presence in my library slowly disappeared.
That all changed in the middle of September 2016 when I was rushed to the Emergency Room for a migraine that I thought would be the end of me. After being prescribed pharmaceutical medications and being discharged without any real answers, I followed up with my doctor the next day. He diagnosed it as a true migraine and had little other explanation for me as to the cause. He gave me a few prescriptions and sent me on my way. It took over a week for me to feel normal again and regain full mental activity.
In an attempt to figure out what had caused this and if I can prevent it from happening in the future, I took to the computer to research. Surprisingly, I found a lot of stories similar to mine but no clues or preventative measures.
I finally concluded that there was no answer, no explanation, as to why migraines happen and there was no way to avoid them.
Right when I was about to stop my research, I came across Oliver Sacks' Migraine. Although it does not reveal the clues and hints I thought might exist, it did reveal decades of work done by Sacks. I started reading Migraine to help self-treat but ended but falling in love with Sacks' writing style. I soon rushed to the store to buy On The Move. Here I began to see a side to Dr. Oliver Sacks that I never would have imagined.
Dr. Sacks is a true individual. His unyielding devotion to his work has uncovered so many truths that need to be shared universally. Reading this autobiography of one of the greatest scientists of all time, I know that my work in Holistic Health is meaningful and has validity.
Here are some excerpts from On the Move;
"Individuality is deeply imbued in us from the very start, at the neuronal level. Even at a motor level, researchers have shown, an infant does not follow a set pattern of learning to walk or how to reach for something. Each baby experiments with different ways of reaching for objects and over the course of several months discovers or selects his own motor solutions. When we try to envisage the neural basis of such individual learning, we might imagine a "population" of movements (and their neural correlates) being strengthened or pruned away by experience.
Similar considerations arise with regard to recover and rehabilitation after strokes and other injuries. There are no rules; there is no prescribed path of recovery; every patient must discover or create his own motor and perceptual patterns, his own solutions to the challenges that face him; and it is the function of a sensitive therapist to help him in this.
And in its broadest sense, neural Darwinism implies that we are destined, whether we wish it or not, to a life of particularity and self-development, to make our own individual paths through life.”
“For me, this was an example of how unconscious motives may sometimes ally themselves to physiological propensities, of how one cannot abstract an ailment or its treatment from the whole pattern, the context, the economy of someone’s life.”
“At some second transcendent moment in evolution, Edelman proposed, the development of “higher-order consciousness” was made possible in humans (and perhaps a few other species including apes and dolphins) by a higher level of reentrant signaling. Higher-order consciousness brings an unprecedented power of generalization and reflection, of recognizing past and future, so that finally self-consciousness, the awareness of being a self in the world, is achieved.”
― Oliver Sacks, On the Move: A Life
From Radical Acceptance
Car Chet Healing
Car is bringing her passions for holistic health & community together on this site.
Car Chet Healing Designs
Car Chet Healing Designs was created from Car's desire to educate others on holistic health practices. As a vibrational energy practitioner, Car found that the use of crystals proved beneficial in healing sessions.
Therefore she began to encourage her clients to carry or wear crystals as often as possible.
Car Chet Healing Designs are made with transportable healing and easy access to the client in mind,