Betrayal of the body- how do we repair?
Hi everyone! My name is Izzy. I am a licensed dance/movement therapist and I have MS.
What is MS?
MS stands for multiple sclerosis. It is a disease in which the immune system eats at the protective covering of nerves (which is also known as myelin). Damaged nerves disrupt the communication between the brain and body. My job as a dance/movement therapist is to connect the brain and body, so as you can see, I have been met with difficulties. If you feel as if your body has betrayed you in some way, I will encourage you to keep reading!
Did you know that our bodies do everything for us to stay alive? Even while we’re sleeping, our bodies are working overtime! Our bodies love us so much, it will do anything to protect us. When we are met with dangerous situations, our bodies release adrenaline and cues our flight, fight or freeze. When we
are sick, our bodies work hard to repair so that we can be healthy again! When we fall and scrape our knees, our bodies repair our skin. Our bodies are prettyyyy amazing!
Everyday, I made sure to take an opportunity to thank my body for protecting me and to signalize things I need like food, water, and safety. When I was diagnosed with MS, this changed the relationship I had with my body for quite some time. I will admit, I was angry with my body. How could my body do this to me? Did my body give up on wanting to protect me? In a way, I felt lost. I worked incredibly hard to develop a healthy relationship with my body, just for it to be diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that I had no control over. Yes, I am taking the proper treatment for this diagnosis, however, there is an
underlying fear. When will my next flare up be? Will my muscles stop working? Will it be reversible? I went through many questions.
As I continued my journey into learning more about MS, I noticed myself not treating my body with respect. I began to eat and drink unhealthily; I was not moving, and my brain fell into a deep depression. Now, you’re probably wondering, “isn’t MS treatable?” Yes, luckily this is a treatable disease, however, telling a dance/movement therapist that her body is going through changes, might not be the best scenario (in my experience)! I did feel betrayed.
One morning, I woke up feeling extremely fatigued. I felt sick, low energy, nauseous, and irritable. These symptoms were not like me to experience. And then it hit me, my body did NOT betray me, I betrayed my body. I did not treat it with respect; therefore, my body was signaling to me that I needed to make change, preferably as soon as possible. It was the wake up call I needed. Sometimes in life, we know what we must do but we may find ourselves not actually doing best the thing. Noticing change in your body and behavior is a beautiful way to connect and reflect how you are towards your body. Your body
is always communicating with you but are you listening? Once I had my wake-up call, I took a few steps to repair the relationship with my body. Maybe you can
try these out too!
1. I continued to thank my body for all the hard work it is doing to keep me alive. Instead of
thanking my body as a whole, I began to thank each body part for doing its job. Example: “thank you hands for allowing me to hold things.” “Thank you legs and feet for allowing me to walk.” “Thank you, heart, for keeping me alive and to feel love,” etc.
2. I used any opportunity to continue to move. Our bodies LOVE movement. Movement keeps us healthy and happy! If you have free time, take a walk, run, dance, jump, sprint, stretch etc. A couple of minutes of movement makes a huge difference and you develop a deeper relationship with your body. If you experience movement restrictions, I will encourage you to focus on your breath. Breathing is our very first dance.
3. Rest. Any time I felt burnt out, I allowed myself to pause and rest. I know, there is never enough time in the day! However, if we ignore our burn out cues, we will find ourselves facing more consequences. Rest. Is. Important. Take some time to figure out what burn out looks and feels like to you so you can stop yourself from experiencing full burn out.
These are a few steps that have helped me, and I hope you give these steps a try! The goal is to do what you are comfortable with doing and do what your body NEEDS. If you are experiencing body betrayal, please contact me as I utilize dance/movement therapy to help develop trust and connection between your body and mind.