My food journey is not unlike many others. I’d be remiss to talk about food without talking about trauma and resilience. For those who know me, understanding my relationship with food has taken many twists and turns much like my relationship with my body. And boy has this pandemic given me the chance to find new spaces around food that desperately needed my attention; namely food for numbing, food for healing and gratitude for a compassionate support system!
There is nothing like a good stress cycle to test the integrity of one’s healing. In the later months of last year, my stress levels were at an all time high as were my adaptive stress responses. As the world began opening up so too did a lot of old wounds still needing attention – feelings of inadequacy, wide-spread conflict causing me to feel emotionally unsafe, poor leadership triggering dysregulation in me, and a general sense of the unknown permeating a hypervigilance that just wouldn’t quit.
Science has found the following 3 occurrences cause us to drop into our stress responses:
- Not enough information
- A sense of helplessness or loss of control
- A loss of something vital to our survival
So, trust me, with these in mind, I am able to compassionately understand my own responses and suffering. And for me – food is a deep and ancient source of immediate comfort as well as a block from feeling other sensations that might add to my external misery.
The Beautiful Part
The beautiful part of all of this is I could witness myself in these behaviors and when ready, sink more deeply into me and my wounds with loving awareness, many of which are child related – bringing me home to Little Gabby. And once I could reunite with her, listening to her cries, holding her hand – many of the sensations triggering me to numb began to wane.
The Saddest Part
The saddest part to me was that throughout all the stress, I subconsciously said to her – I can’t tolerate more pain – your pain – and it was that separation that really caused the deepest pain of all when in reality, she just needed me to hold her and be with her. Luckily, she is a deeply forgiving part of me, willing to partner with me as we are still learning each other.
Creating Greater Awareness
What I continue to learn is the value of grace, compassion, learning and forgiveness – all deeply connected to the gift of presence. And while I am grateful for my survival adaptations, I too am grateful for the opportunity to learn new ways and to have a team supporting me every step of the way.
So, my excitement is transitioning from food to numb to food that helps bring me alive and all the gifts that follow!