As a follow-up to my post about Dara’s experience with chemo I thought it might also be helpful, and provide some background for other posts around my care taking lessons learned, to talk about the process of her diagnosis and the surgery prior to chemo for her breast cancer. This is also another information dump sort of post—it’ll be interesting for someone who might be going through this process or having someone they know going through it to read a detailed experience.
I woke up this morning and the first thing I heard was about Anthony Bourdain’s apparent suicide. The same week as Kate Spade. It feels really hard in the collective right now–even before Kate chose to end her life via suicide, I was sensing that people were deep in their darkness.
I got very triggered a week ago. Core issue stuff around abandonment and not being able to trust people. Trauma does that, it severs our ability to trust other humans, which is very dangerous to our mental health because humans are a social species. My trigger brought down all that trust I had rebuilt and I felt raw, exposed, sad, disappointed, crushed and depressed.
It took me until Tuesday to choose to crawl out of a difficult downward spiral. And it doesn’t always feel like a choice but it is. Most of my self care choices are around preventing or relieving chronic depression, a condition I inherited from a lineage full of folks who chose to self medicate with alcohol. This self medication also contributed to traumatic events and violence I experienced as a child that I continue to heal from today.
We do not choose what we are born into but we do choose what we do with the healing we are called to do.
Mental illness is real, and valid, and distorts how we experience the world. Sometimes things don’t seem like a choice, which is why in the times when we are not experiencing a crisis creating tools, safety nets and doing the healing we need will often be our safety net during that crisis and help us stay alive.
It feels a type of way when super rich, seemingly successful and conventionally attractive people with lots of body currency choose to end their lives via suicide. Money is a tool and it can buy access to a lot of healing so it is really jarring when people who have it don’t make that choice.
How do you make that choice in the deep dark place? Choose the next right thing that keeps you alive. In the words of Kate Bornstein, “Do whatever it is you need to do to stay alive, just don’t be mean.”
What was helpful for me is that my life’s calling is about Healing. Healing other people but first of all, healing me. It was my work that helped me start getting out of that spiral. I launched a group coaching program on Monday using the book and journal prompts in Choose Wonder Over Worry as my guide.
Doing the work in the first quarter of the book has already shifted things, opened myself to talking with the shadows and darkness that have come to tell me what they need. It’s an incredible resource. I’m so glad my friend Amber Rae chose to heal and to confront all the darkness between her and finishing this book!
I also think that group healing work is hella powerful for healing our trust with other people. Being in a space convened for healing, with safer space guidelines and a common goal helps!
My life’s work is to heal myself and help others on their healing path. Photo by Jessica Hinkle.
Here’s the blurb below if you want to join me for this powerful work:
I am excited to bring you the opportunity to join my beta group coaching program! (Beta means it’s my first time and I’m testing this format out.)
Explore more of yourself, uncover blocks to self care and learn to diffuse the inner voices that keep you small! Working together with Choose Wonder Over Worry, we will read the book throughout our month together, get real with ourselves in homework prompts, and grow together during four group coaching calls.
We will meet via Zoom (a free to you online application available for desktop and mobile) and I ask that everyone be prepared with their work and prepared to speak and participate in all four calls. Per week it’s about 1 hour of reading/audio book listening and about 1 hour of journaling depending on how swiftly you work.
The schedule is set for Thursdays at Noon Pacific. Sign up here. You can definitely bring your lunch and have it while we’re on our call. If I get two more folks committed to do a second group for Thursday evenings at 6:30PM Pacific I will schedule it.
Being free, like no one ever told you to hate your body at Fat Kid Dance Party. Photo by Jessica Milligan.
If you have more questions or want a lengthier description, check out this video I made about it.
If coaching isn’t your thing or cost is a factor–I’ve given you three books I suggest to help you on your healing path this summer in a more self directed way in my last blog post. I’ll be talking more about increasing your capacity over the next few weeks on my blog and daily Facebook Live videos! And here’s Kate Bornstein’s fabulous resource for when you want to die, especially for teens, freaks and outlaws.
As I say after every Fat Kid Dance Party Aerobics Class (another great form of group healing), thank you for healing with me today! And thank you for choosing to stay alive.
Getting to perform with Kate Bornstein 10 years ago changed the course of my life.