If you have been following along with my blog, you will already know that I have decided that having a balanced live is like a teeter-totter, bouncing back and forth between yourself and others. Not doing this can result in a variety of health issues. One of my friend's health really took a turn for the worse when she started having seizures and it was finally determined that because she wasn't finding a way to release all her stress, worries and emotions, it was coming out of her body in the form of these seizures.
Recently I was talking to another friend who was finding it hard to release some of her past experiences and emotions and had gone so far as to consider cutting herself. I shared with her something my therapist calls "Exformation." I am sure you all know what "information" is, but my therapist takes the word a little further in describing it as everything that comes at you every day by others and life and we hold all of that information in our bodies unless we find a way to release it. Exformation can be as simple as exercise, talk therapy, a massage, or taking a step further by doing something like Cranial Sacral Therapy, pretend fighting, yelling, and so much more. The whole point of Exformation is to do something to physically get the Information out of your body.
My friend really liked this idea. In the book The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund J. Bourne, Ph.D. says:
People with anxiety disorders are often out of touch with their bodies. If you are anxious or preoccupied with worrying, you may, as the expression goes, be "living in your head" - not feeling strongly connected with the rest of your body below the neck.
This was me for so long, I truly did feel disconnected from my body, so much so I didn't even see myself when I looked in the mirror. Learning how to Exform and release things that I had been holding in my whole life was really scary for me. I truly was afraid I might hurt someone in the process so I had to take it little by little. All the years of feeling like I couldn't breathe or that I needed to throw up in dreams had taken their toll on me. I was exhausted and suffering from depression as a result. I had to learn that taking some time for myself was okay and that in the end doing so would bless not only me, but those around me. In Dr. Bourne's book he also said:
Co-dependency can be defined as the tendency to put others' needs before your own. You accommodate to others to such a degree that you tend to discount or ignore your own feelings, desires and basic needs. Your self-esteem depends largely on how well you please, take care of, and/or solve problems for someone else (or many others). The consequence of maintaining a co-dependent approach to life is a lot of resentment, frustration and unmet personal needs. When these feelings or needs remain unconscious, they often resurface as anxiety - especially "chronic, generalized anxiety." The long term effects of co-dependency are enduring stress, fatigue, burn out and eventually serious illness. Recovering from co-dependency in essence involves learning to love and take care of yourself. It means giving at least equal time to your own needs alongside the needs of others. It means setting limits on how much you will do or tolerate, and learning to say no when appropriate.
Just that one line of "giving at least equal time to your own needs alongside the needs of others" made a real difference to me. Giving at least equal time is fair, trying to hold everyone else up on the other end of the teeter-totter isn't realistic. Eventually you would let them all drop due to your own exhaustion. How much better it is to bounce gently back and forth giving joy equal time between yourself and others!