At 30 years old I was diagnosed with Premature Ovarian Failure. I was told I would never be able to become pregnant. And that for all extensive purposes I was in menopause. I definitely was suffering from menopausal symptoms: hot flashes, night sweats, temperature dysregulation, unstable emotions, dry vagina, painful sex and weight gain. I became heavy with unbearable grief over loosing my youth and my inability to have children. The worst of it all was the anxiety that began to take over my life.
Looking back, I would say I was in the dark night of my soul when I began acupuncture. At first, I sought treatment for the physical symptoms. I was unaware of how much vitality that my grief and anxiety were stealing from me. We began working on mindfulness, body awareness, and greater embodiment. This led to the physical symptoms abating and my sense of wholeness grew. We made progress and I could feel myself growing and slowly transforming. Those needles seemed magical and I wanted to know how they worked. So I spent five years studying acupuncture and I continue studying this deep medicine as I also continue doing the inner work of the wounded healer.
As an acupuncturist, people will often tell me that they have THIS (insert name of disease or mental health condition). Just like I use to tell people I have Premature Ovarian Failure or Early Menopause. Now, with very few exceptions, I politely suggest that this is just a name that you have been given that best describes your symptoms. Symptoms are just the bodies way of telling you it is out of balance. The name doesn’t define who you are, nor does it accurately describe the nature of the imbalance. It is a label and my experience with labels is that they have the potential to be very damaging.
When we accept the label of our diagnosis we begin to create story lines around that label. The condition becomes your story. For example, I had ovarian failure. My ovaries were dead. My womb was dead. My youthfulness was gone. And I created a box around myself because I so completely identified with that story. I accepted it as total truth based on medical authority, as many do.
What is interesting about these storylines is that they become part of our energetic experience. They embed in our nervous system. They embed in our tissues. And they can actually create physical disturbances. The mind has that much power! And even if we intrinsically know that it is just a label, it is hard to step outside that story line. It was for me.
The power of acupuncture and somatic therapies is that they have the ability to help release these patterns, integrate the experience and to create more empowering narratives not just with medical diagnosis, but with all disempowering story lines we have adopted.
I now look at the experience that brought me to acupuncture as a great gift. And I am excited to share with you all that I have learned and continue to learn on this journey.