How many of us have tried addressing some embedded issues and only realized that the results were short-lived? Think of a time when you felt hurt, depressed, anxious, vengeful, aggressive, etc. How did you address this situation? Did feelings of distress linger on for longer than you would have liked?
Jay came to me complaining that he had been in therapy for a very long time, but nothing had worked. He could get some respite, but it would only last for a short time. He would find himself back on his knees with his issues. When he came to me, it was as a last resort. He had promised to give himself one more chance, after which he would just resign to the fact that he would never live a full life.
Jay had struggled with abuse by his father, and because of this environment, the mother was constantly anxious because she did not know what to expect from her husband. She therefore did not create a stable and secure attachment with Jay, and Jay always thought that all this was his fault. He lived in fear of his father, had trust issues, could not count on his mother to protect him, and therefore learned to keep to himself and avoid rocking the boat. He developed a people-pleasing attitude and never felt enough.
Unfortunately for Jay, every time he went to therapy, it was to deal with his symptoms and not the root cause of his challenges. He could meditate, exercise, eat healthy, seek to socialize, but deep down, he felt empty and dejected. He used his mind to think positively and will himself out of his misery, but that worked only to a certain degree.
You would ask: Why did Jay not feel better despite the efforts he made to feel so? Why was he self-sabotaging all the time?
The analogy of the jigger fleas would resonate with many African populations. Jiggers penetrate one’s body especially toes and fingers, and feed on your blood. They then find their abode there. If you want to get rid of the pests completely, you must remove the whole flea. I have seen many people who have removed the head of the jigger and thought that this was over because nothing further was visible. They then realized their feet were swelling, infected, inflamed, and this could spread to the entire body and wreak havoc to one’s system. You need to get the whole jigger flea out for total healing to occur.
We explored Jay’s situation and together discovered that he was focusing only specific aspects of his challenges and working solely with his mind. Gradually, Jay understood that healing has to do with Mind, Body, and Soul. Each of these components is very important in the healing process and overlooking one of them may lead to partial healing. He realized that the hidden part of the jigger was influencing his life in a negative way, and it spread throughout his body – since what spreads embeds, and what embeds spreads. Accessing those hidden parts requires a holistic approach to healing. Our bodies keep the score as Van Der Kolk says and learning to listen to the body is crucial to healing. Our consciousness is embodied, and the key to healing is within us.
After employing this holistic approach to healing, Jay’s cloud lifted, and he is now able to live life in his own terms, happy and fulfilled. We need to learn to listen to our body, it will not deceive us. Working with the body has shown to have more long lasting impact to healing.