Many of my clients already know some of my story, but many of you don’t. The truth is, I have suffered from depression and anxiety for years. Until recent years, it has been hard for me to discuss. It was something I wasn’t proud of. I saw it as a weakness, even now as I actually put it down on paper, my hands are shaking. Although I am aware of it’s control on me, I choose now to dive in and allow myself to feel. Let me explain….
My dad will have passed away 10 years ago, this coming November. I witnessed him go through his own spiral of depression in the years prior to his passing. At times, I was patient with him, and at other times, I am ashamed to admit, I ignored him. His death was quick, and after, that shame weighed very heavy on me. Too many thoughts; I should have seen more, been present more, asked more, sat more, listened more. This list is big. It sunk me.
I went to work, continued with life, but the feelings isolated me and soon I was pretty much pushing everyone away. I was alone in my own world. I looked the part I had to look, acted how I was supposed to act, but inside I was heavy with my own grief and shame.
Years went by, work continued.
I went to a series of courses that I literally thought was just going to be more myofascial release (mfr) training. Little did I know what I would actually experience in that course. The shame that came up, as well as the hurt and anger that lay within me that was suppressed for so long. It was so far buried within me, that I had forgotten where some of it came from. I had no clue how deeply connected our physical being was to our emotional and mental beings, until that day. That day I came to understand that we are interconnected and infused: it is all one!
My back pain was the fear and old hurts from playing sports as a teenager. Trauma I suffered and injuries I thought I had healed from. Anger and loss that started before I could remember, but all seemed to stem around my 16-year-old self. My IBS flared that week and again it came back to a younger version of me that I had suppressed so long ago. No where did I think that this course was going to dive in and address the root causes to my heaviest memories and emotions. But there I was, raw, forced to deal with my own past, to challenge my belief systems. Or to choose to continue down the same path I was going: the same dark hole, not letting anyone get close enough to me that they could hurt me again.
It was after that course that my husband and I decided it was time to start our family. We planned it carefully, and it was executed the same way. On April 5th, our beautiful son Graeson came in to this world. He was perfect and I was in-love. I never knew what unconditional love felt like until I held him.
Along with the same love that I was feeling for him, I too was feeling such loss. There in a hospital room true love was given birth to, and yet there I lay remembering years before, 4 floors up, watching my dad take his last breath. It was such an overwhelming day of emotions that I chose to block the loss and feel the love.
Days turned in to weeks, weeks turned in to months. Graeson was growing up so fast and I was starting to fall in to a familiar pattern. I sought help, I was told it was post partum anxiety. I was given medication to take and I did, for a few weeks. I felt numb with it, and so tired. I stopped taking it, I hated how it made me feel.
Days turned in to weeks, weeks turned in to another month gone by, and my feelings got worse. I started to take the meds again. Again, weeks later, I quit. I dumped them in the toilet. I knew deep down for myself, the lack of feeling that the meds were providing me was not the answer I needed. I needed to give myself permission to feel again.
I somehow convinced my husband to go to Sedona for another MFR course. I realized that with him and my son there, I could not allow myself to feel what I needed to feel. My healing process that I left the course with each evening, was halted because I had another role to play that wasn’t just for me. I had to be mom and wife as soon as I met up with my husband and son. I didn’t get out of the course what I was hoping to that week.
So, I went without them a few months later. There, I was able to tap in to so many suppressed memories that were presenting themselves as ongoing pain patterns and symptoms for me. There, I felt like I was able to help myself deal more with my post partum anxiety and the depression, these symptoms I had come to know I had felt long before my son was born or my dad passed away.
I continue to go to courses to learn as a therapist, but also for my own needs. I have come to know that at any point, I can fall back in to a pattern, or a symptom of past trauma may pop up and my own downward spiral could happen. However, in my journey with MFR, I have learned to listen to my own body. To remember painful memories and deal with them in a way that I don’t have to hurt. Where I don’t have to push others away or make them feel bad. I have learned to honour my relationship with my dad, and to forgive myself, as I know now that I dealt with him the only way I knew how. I gave myself permission walking out of that first series of courses to allow myself to feel what it is I am feeling and dive deeper in to it rather than avoiding it.
My mentor John Barnes once told me, and everyone he trains, “you can never ask your clients to go where you have not gone yourself”. I have come to know and understand how isolated people can feel in their own battle. I have come to understand the depth of that darkness. I know what it is like to have that darkness manifest in to pain. I have grown in my own journey, and now, well now, I feel bless to be able to support so many others in theirs.
Tara Hagan-Fields is an RMT with Fascial Connections Myofascial Release & Wellness Centre. Tara is a Women’s Health Specialist and Expert Myofascial Release Therapist. She focuses on the body as a whole and teaches you to do the same. More about Tara here.