The Four Stages from Exhausted to Empowered Caretaker #44
How to get to Embody the Identity of an Empowered Caretaker
Dear Lovely You,
I have been hibernating. I gave myself the last two weeks off from writing.
Being honest with yourself - an important skill
I was struggling to know what you needed to hear. Struggling for the right words, topics, inspiration. I didn't know what to write and I was tired.
There's been a lot going on with me and a lot to digest and process. I decided, in December, to go back to my doctors and see if I needed to have any tests.
My gut issues were still there and stable but I was noticing a lack of strength in my muscles and tingling in my arms and face from time to time, as well as getting icy cold and unable to get warm. I thought it might be a thyroid issue.
It was time to get checked out.
I generally avoid medical doctors. I have an innate (sometimes irrational) distrust of them from medical trauma as a child and things I saw happen when I was a nurse. But when my husband had a bad back last year we found one who was really on the ball, didn't judge us and actually listened. A rare gem!
Blood tests and several conversations with her later and I am a little wiser but most of all reassured there is nothing serious going on.
What the blood tests have revealed so far is high cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone, so no surprises there. I have been having a lot of anxiety the last few years but know it is historical unresolved fight/flight stress coming out and not to be feared.
I also have high ferritin levels which can be raised due to inflammation which I know I have. And a ‘weakly' positive’ ANA - an antibody that can be an indication of an autoimmune condition, in my case affecting the muscles. I will have to have several more blood tests over the next couple of months before I can be properly screened for it. I am happy with that because that gives me time to go down the alternative route and see what we can achieve.
I have booked weekly massages to help increase nourishing, happy hormones. I am having weekly treatment with my cranial Osteopath husband and this is helping with old shock trauma and emotional balance. He also prescribes my supplements. I am walking almost every day and staying close to nature keeps me sane. I am engaging more again with Nervous System Regulation work and I have been connecting with my wounded inner child.
Wounded Inner Child
In fact, I have been trying to coax her out and bring her around to my way of thinking, believing I still know best.
Much of the inner work I have done was related to my gut issues and the gut mostly relates to needing to feel safe.
Reading a poem shared by Leah in Your Sunday Night Ritual today I realised I had just been trying to push and coax her out again. To change her. To reassure her to get her to cooperate with me.
Instead I crawled in beside her and found myself in a dark cave. She was lying down on her back in a space that wasn't high enough to stand up in, so I lay down beside her. It was hot and there was a warm red glow coming through the stone.
I need to be patient. And when i think I have been patient enough I need to be even more patient for even longer. She still doesn’t trust me yet.
The battle in my mind
The first few days after deciding not to write I squirmed and wrestled in my mind with the decision. In the past I would have pushed through, made myself do it or completely given up. Thinking I am useless and unable to be consistent so why bother? Whats the point? All these thoughts running through my head as I beat myself up. All or nothing thinking getting in the way of making a congruent decision.
I am now remembering more and more that I am no longer at that stage.
Now is the time to embody all I know. To completely honour where I am at. To remember that if I don't say 'no' my body will.
I relaxed for a few days but then one week became two.
And… I worried that I was letting you down and you wouldn't be interested any more. Which may or may not be true but is none of my business anyway.
What is important is that I take care of myself in the best way I can. Just like I am encouraging you to do.
During this time off, I did a workshop about setting work goals and the teacher quoted research to us about how having too many goals or having the wrong ones would mean failure. Choose one she said and follow through with appropriate actions. Goals need to be aligned and congruent to be achieved.
During the workshop I was convinced that a money goal was the right way for me to go, then for several days after felt really anxious. Too much pressure on a system that's not ready. That doesn't yet have the capacity.
I soon realised I needed to make my health my priority again. Eugh! How freaking boring. But I knew I didn't want to go down the road of obsessing over my health again too because obsession makes a person hypervigilant which increases stress hormones and keeps you in a perpetual loop of fear.
I reframed health to Radiance. In fact I prefer Relaxed Radiance. Knowing how I want to feel helps me anchor it in my mind and do the things that help me move towards actually feeling like Relaxed & Radiant.
The four main stages to shifting from Exhausted Caretakers to Empowered Caretakers
This often happens over time or comes as a big wake up call. We could argue that the big wake up call happens as a result of not noticing or ignoring smaller cues that all is not well. Something doesn't feel right. Things aren't flowing as they should. You don't feel happy. You feel tired, frustrated resentful or angry. You have symptoms that you're trying to ignore or manage but not getting to the root of.
You start to look for solutions. You talk to a trusted friend and admit you’re struggling. Read articles, books, blogs. Maybe you seek medical help or talk therapy or go on courses. Learn mindfulness, try yoga or Emotional Freedom Technique. You can get stuck here (like I did for many years doing more and more courses) thinking you don’t know enough and if only you knew enough or know the thing that’s going to make the difference, everything will change.
You have much more awareness and understand yourself better and try to change behaviours, habits and thoughts that are keeping you stuck. You use the skills and techniques you have learned to help you. You have a menu of Resources that can help. You become even more aware but often slip back into old habits and ways of being. Sometimes you give up altogether beating yourself up for not trying hard enough, not being good enough, until the whispers or symptoms become worse and you start all over again.
You know who you are and who you want to be. Being your True Self is now non-negotiable. For now, you don't need any more information, education or skills. You accept yourself warts and all. You accept your shadows and weak spots. You have compassion for yourself and your younger selves. You embrace all that you are and all that you have been through that has got you to this point. You rest when you need to rest. You say 'no' when you need to say 'no' whether it's because you don't have the capacity or you just don't want to. You stop judging yourself and allow yourself to feel what you feel. You stop blaming others and take responsibilty for yourself.
It's not a linear process. You can go backwards and forwards between Awareness, Education and Application over and over. You start to Embody what you know but you slip back. It takes time to wire in new behaviours. It takes time to trust that you can be your True Self. It takes time to shed all the crap that’s holding you back.
And then as you Embody your True Self, have patience, empathy and compassion for her/him, trust yourself, trust your intuition, align with your actions with who you truly are more and more things begin to slot into place.
Let's do a quick poll.
I stopped writing but the world did not fall apart.
My body is quietly singing to me to listen.
My Inner Child is tired of all the games, the forcing, the manipulation, the messages that she is not good enough, has not done enough, doesn't deserve to have a place on this earth.
And she is patiently, resting and waiting for me to finally catch up.
Taking my time, taking time out has allowed space for reflection without pushing.
More deeper awareness has come in and a knowing that there is nothing I need to do except to keep Honouring and Embodying my True Self.
from my True Self to Yours
PS. Remember to do the Poll above and let’s see what stage we are all at. This helps me to help you. 😃
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