Since the end of November, I’ve been spending an hour twice a week with a new physiotherapist. She’s been working on my jaw issues – which have turned into shoulder / neck / upper back issues. She’s lovely. I haven’t bitten her once (noteworthy, because I can’t actually say the same about other physiotherapists I’ve seen for my jaw).
I’ve recently been demoted to once a week appointments, which is exciting because going to physio twice a week has sucked a lot of my time and energy and spoons – but scary because I know that my ‘graduation’ is coming and I’m only a little better off than when I started. It’s kind of the nature of chronic illness. But I can bite and chew again (even if it hurts) which is amazing progress. It was getting a little sketchy for a while there.
If nothing else, this time is forcing me to prioritize myself – and to be still. I spend up to 30 minutes of these hour-long appointments with my head / neck wrapped in heat packs, lying on my back with no one to talk to and very little to do. I’m not really a girl who likes to be still – so at the beginning, it was hard for me. Now, after a few months of practice, it’s turning into something that I look forward to.
Stillness is underrated, you guys. Don’t get me wrong – it’s boring as hell. It’s also hard to find (especially in this world of 24/7 connection we all live in). But it’s so important. The stillness is where you can pause and find your centre. And once you know where to find your centre and get comfortable there, you can take that strength with you into the rest of your life. It’s the thing I miss most about going to yoga classes – something I’ve needed to give up because I’m only able to do about five minutes at a time, and it’s just not worth the drive and the class fees.
It seems counterintuitive, but that still, calm centre is where all my strength and fight comes from. When I gave birth to Briony, Geoff & I both expected that I’d be That Lady who’d be cursing like a sailor and making sure that everyone in the hospital knew exactly what was going on and exactly how I felt about it. But that’s not how it went down. It surprised us both, but the more intense the labour became, the quieter I became. I went inside of myself and found my centre. I was super calm and just focused on my breath (thank you, prenatal yoga!). All of my strength came from the stillness. It was a powerful lesson.
I’m determined to make some space in my life to create and prioritize stillness this year. I don’t know yet what that will look like – and I know it will require deliberate practice – but if I’m not going to get any healthier than this, I will absolutely need to figure it out.