I read this excellent book last year by Caroline Myss called ‘Anatomy of the Spirit’ and it is about the power of the mind and how bodily ailments, aches and pains can be signs of unresolved psychological issues. What you don’t express, or suppress, will find a way of expressing itself and you will leak psychological distress and it will manifest physically. This is sometimes referred to as psychosomatic illnesses which can be as real and debilitating as any other physical ailment so should not be dismissed lightly.
For me I had a whole host of symptoms that were associated with anxiety and depression for example, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). But when you are actively drinking or hungover it is really hard to get past the initial symptoms of a hangover to be aware of anything else. It just took up too much time and space! And because drinking made my anxiety and depression worse I couldn’t see that booze was part of the problem and just assumed it was a flair up in the underlying physical disorder nothing else! Now I’ve stopped drinking my IBS has pretty much gone completely 🙂
As a nurse I was also plagued by back injuries. An old injury sustained as a student nurse repeatedly came back to haunt me and I would end up off work for spells while the osteopath and rest allowed it to heal. Now I’ve stopped I’ve noticed the weirdest thing. I will feel my back start to go and if I stop and pause it won’t go completely. This has never happened to me before and was really quite odd at first.
So I’ve been trying to interpret what my body was trying to tell me, with a little help from a friend 🙂 I thought it was trying to say I was ‘spineless’ or ‘had no backbone’ for the challenge of stopping drinking but my friend suggested an alternative view. She said that maybe it was telling me to slow down as previously I hadn’t listened to it and so it had just gone with no warning whereas now I was getting warnings and if I heeded them the total stopping because of injury was avoided.
I’ve recently needed some more osteopathy to sort it out and when the practitioner assessed me initially he said that my spine was out of alignment in four different places. I had literally ‘bent myself out of shape’ trying to manage my back problem because if you throw it out in one direction at your hips it will naturally try to compensate by throwing it out in the other direction further up and that’s what mine had done several times over.
Our body is such a beautiful, clever, robust but delicate thing and I abused mine so badly when I was drinking paying no heed to the warnings it was trying to tell me and trying to contort myself and my situations to keep drinking. Now I listen more closely and have given up the contortionism (is that even a word?) 😉
What have you noticed since you stopped?