I know these minutes are terribly late, but I was out of town and couldn't write them before now, so apologies for the wait.
Marnie Schroeder came to speak with us this month. She is mental health practitioner that has recently merged her practiced with the wellness center. She treats individuals, couples, and adolescents over the age of 13. Marnie has had her own journey with chronic illness and is familiar with the toll it can take on both your mind and body. Her illness also brought her into contact with Khoo Wellness and though she isn't associated with Khoo, just located in an office there, they do network and refer each other. She advocates strongly for nutrition, acupuncture, qigong, and meditation. She is also a mother of three!
Marnie spoke to us about mindfulness, how to pay attention to your triggers and themes, how you react to stressors. She also stressed the importance of being present and how you label your self-talk. Watch out for hyperbole (always, never, extremes, exaggeration) and catastrophizing.
Mindfulness is an art that takes an amount of practice to learn. Here is where I'm going to digress because I think it's important to address something here: in my illness I have a clear delineation, the bitter/mad years and the acceptance years. What I will say is that when I was mad it was very hard to hear and accept the positivism associated with this form of treatment. But what I will say is that when I started addressing my "stressors" not my pain but what I was truly beating myself up for; guilt, shame, and anger (because of the pain and limitations) I started forgiving myself for not being "normal". When I started to peel back those layers I was able to put myself in a more positive perspective. Not happy for happy sake or unrealistic hope but truly accept the trouble without the grief, only then my perception of pain began to change. It's not that it is less, except it is. The secondary reactions have lessened so my panic is less, my anxiety and the symptoms associated like sweating, clenching, stomach ache, and headache etc have decreased drastically. The heat from anger and the flare of bitterness is less. We know that our bodies definitely react to neurological input and language is just another input like; touch, taste, smell and self-talk is a huge input. I also understand how very difficult it is to hear this method when you aren't ready.
I very much believe that mindfulness or whatever you wish to call it is an important if not integral part of the acceptance of fibromyalgia and chronic illness. I don't think you can get there without becoming mindful and learning what to take in, what to change, and how to talk to yourself.
The truth is we will always struggle with feeling un-productive, guilty and frustrated. A constant struggle to find something worth getting up for, but it is possible to find a little corner of life despite all the pain and suffering.
Marnie briefly talked about shame triggers and their affect on the body. One of my favorite resources for this is Brene Brown; she does Ted talks on this very topic and has written this book which was very eye opening for me: I thought it was just me
I will personally say I strongly advocate for this method of training and though I went about it on my own, it was exactly as Marnie describes and has by far been the most successful treatment for me. So please consider keeping an open mind and trying some form of mindfulness for yourself. I realize expense can be an issue so consider other options if you can't afford a coach :)
If you'd like to get in touch with Marnie you can get her information on her site here: http://www.beemotionallywell.com/home.html
Thank you all for coming out, many thanks to Marnie for her great presentation, and big thanks to Sheri for facilitating!