The truth about being strong – it’s not always how it seems

This week marks a month since I was hit by a car…’s been a very intense month.

The first week was physically difficult but that has gotten much better.  Ds4 and I went to the osteopath a couple of weeks ago.  She examined him and found the muscles on one side of his body were knotted throughout the entire side – she had me feel it and even my inexperienced hands could tell what she was talking about.  She said she never sees this in a child other than when there has been an accident of some sort or when there is scoliosis and then it’s only with kids who are much older than him.  She worked on him and told me not to worry, that he won’t have any lasting damage from the accident.  He’s doing great – though when we cross the street he often tells me when we get to the other side that the car waiting at the crosswalk right then almost hit us; that’s his feeling and there’s obviously still anxiety about crossing streets but this is getting less.

Then she worked on me and asked me if I was having headaches and dizziness and if that was something new since the accident.  I told her I was and it was (though I hadn’t paid much attention to it until she asked), and she said from the state of my neck it was impossible that I wouldn’t be.  She had initially said since my body went through so much trauma that she wasn’t going to do any physical manipulations because they are a sort of trauma as well but when it came to my neck, she wasn’t able to release the muscles without manipulating.  She warned me I might have a healing response afterward and she was right; for at least 24 hours I had a horrible non-stop headache.  But thankfully I  haven’t had any headaches and the dizziness has been minimal since then.

However, I’ve started having breathing difficulties that are atypical for me, and I’ve been really tired.  Really, really tired.  Like at 11 in the morning I have to take a nap.  Also not typical for me.  This began the day after the accident.  The regular doctor said there’s no connection but I’m positive there is and here’s in short what I think happened.  The adrenal glands are what handles stress in the body and when they’re weak or stressed, your immune system drops (when this becomes a chronic situation, it’s adrenal fatigue).  My adrenals were needing significant support before the accident and I believe that this level of physical and emotional stress pushed my adrenals beyond their ability to cope, like the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.  Asthma and chronic fatigue syndrome are both direct results of later stage adrenal fatigue.

Fortunately, I began treating my adrenals the week before the accident and and  am continuing to work on this.  Maybe I’ll talk more about the boatload of vitamins I’m taking daily as part of my healing protocol another time.  Healing the adrenals is a long, long process and this sudden worsening of my adrenal symptoms is something that will take much longer to spring back from than the physical injuries alone.  But it’s good to understand what’s happening and I’m optimistic that my adrenals can heal and I’ll get back to myself.

Emotionally it’s been a difficult month.  It was as if my feeling of isolation regarding lack of support through all the difficulties we’ve gone through in the last two years was triggered by this accident and started flooding out at once.  Good thing I was taking so many emotion balancing vitamins!  This hasn’t been a fun process to say the least but it’s a learning process.

Today I was told by an alternative physician who has supported many people through difficult situations through the years, that she’s never seen someone go through so many troubles who remained as calm and positive as I have, and she thinks I’m the bravest person she ever met.  I recently read something by a pediatrician with many years of practice and she wrote that out of all the traumas she’s seen parents go through, the absolute worst suffering she’s ever seen is one of the situations we’ve gone through.

I have a knee jerk reaction to reject statements like these.  I don’t see my life like this; things have felt hard and sometimes overwhelmingly hard, but even at the worst moments it never seemed worse than what many other people go through.  By the time you’re a parent at my stage of life, just about all of us have experienced really serious challenges of some sort and when I hear what others have gone through, I’m so grateful my challenges are what they are and not worse.  I’m fortunate that so many people have confided in me about their difficulties so I don’t have to theorize about this.   I’m not a complainer – or at least I try not to be – and I tend to downplay what life has been like except to say there have been difficulties.  I have so much to be grateful for – my amazing husband and children are at the top of the list – and I don’t want to focus on what hasn’t been good.  But since the accident, part of my healing process is to allow myself to say that yes, we’ve gone through really hard stuff, one hard thing on top of another and another, all piled on top of each other; each one of those things being situations that people seriously struggle with when it’s only one thing.  When I stand back and look at it through someone else’s eyes I do kind of wonder how we’ve managed.

I have a resistance to being told how strong I am.  I know this is always intended in a positive way but sometimes I have a sense it’s almost like implying that things are easy for me to get through because I have amazing coping skills.  No, it’s not easy for me.  I earned whatever coping skills I have through being forced to develop them.  I’m grateful – beyond grateful – that I and my family have gotten through so many tough things without falling apart.  Sometimes I feel conscious of being an emotionally strong person.  But with equal honesty I can admit that often I feel weak and scared and powerless.  In spite of that weakness or maybe because of it, God has been very good to me and He somehow gives me what I need to keep going so I can keep putting one foot in front of the other.

So when this physician today continued and said I seem to have a lot of inner quiet and faith, she touched on the real answer.  I don’t have so much inner calm and I don’t have so much faith, but whatever faith I have enables me to seem as if I have inner calm. :)  Obviously I need these constant reminders about Who is really in charge and to let go and trust Him to take care of me or I wouldn’t be getting them; I just have to remember that on a daily basis when things aren’t in crisis mode and then I’ll be in good shape!


7 thoughts on “The truth about being strong – it’s not always how it seems

  1. I can totally relate to what you’re saying Avivah. When I made aliya on my own at age 21, I didn’t think I was being brave or strong – it was just something I was going to do and I just went ahead and did it. I got a lot of those comments, about how brave and strong I ‘was/am, and they didn’t make me feel good at all. It wasn’t easy, maing aliya on my own, but I just kept ploughing on, doing what I had to do and dealing with all the situations that arose. I didn’t think about being brave – it just wasn’t part of the equation in my mind.

    Much later, looking back on all I went through then, I am quite amazed at my young self. I had some really bad times then and suffered some extremely difficult situations, and it really is a big deal that I got through it all successfully and without lasting trauma (and that I’m still here in Israel)!!

    I think the ability to keep going and live “in the moment”, dealing with what needs dealing with and keeping the focus there, is a wonderful ability to have. I think there is also tremendous value in being able to look back or from “outside” and realize our strengths after the fact. And even to draw more strength from that to be able to deal with difficulties that may (will) arise in the future…

    May you go from strength to strength and may your body heal fully and completely from all the recent stresses and trauma.

  2. Avivah, you know who I am and you know what I do! Recently, we learned some techniques for balancing adrenal fatigue. Apparently, nourishing the adrenals is not enough! One has to calibrate adrenal function in relation to the liver (where hormones are metabolized) and also possibly hypothalamus (the master gland). Send me an email for more info….

    1. Rena, what do you do? I’m interested in what you have to share. I think so many women are struggling with this even if they don’t realize it.

  3. Thank you for sharing this. Regarding the adrenal issue, have you considered using herbs at all? Nettle infusion is considered an adrenal tonic. There are also the adaptogens, like eleuthro for example, which help your body respond better to stress. Nettle is fun because you can forage for it (in the springtime).

  4. Wow thank you sharing this very emotional post. I wish you and your family so much brachah and revealed goodness and only healing.

  5. I am often told that I am amazing or so strong for making aliyah with my kids, but I actually think some of the people saying it, are really thinking that they would never do it.

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