I think it’s time I start writing shorter blog posts and spread out my thoughts. Otherwise I’ll be overwhelmed by the information I collect and feel pressured to cram it into one blog post (aka a 5 page word document).
Updates? I’ve been seeing a Mind-Body therapist. Her name is Allison Shaw, and she works in Arlington. She is baller.
I found her in a free copy of Natural Awakenings that was lying around the Karma Yoga Studio (which I unfortunately had to cancel my monthly membership for, since I strained my knee…well hello swimming). School had gotten to a point where I should’ve been enjoying everything that I was doing, but I was so consumed by insomnia that going to sleep became a stressful event for me. I also realized that yeah, I’m happy now, but I feel super blocked. I’m freaking out. My body is out of wack. I feel so uncomfortable complaining about anything pre-college. What’s going on?
I had always toyed with the thought of seeing a psychologist. What really did it for me was three things:
1) I read an amazing book called Eastern Body, Western Mind. A brilliant synthesis of all the bomb Western psychologists (Frued, Piaget, Reich, Lowen, Erikson, Maslow, Wilber, Kohlberg) and Eastern Chakra philosophy. Did you know that the seven chakra locations correspond to the seven major clusters of nerve ganglion cells from your spinal cord? They knew this way way long ago, without the need of cutting us open and inspecting the tiny neuronal stuff. I love this.
2) My vision had been tripping. One moment things were crystal clear – almost too clear – and then the next moment everything was blurry. My acupuncturist told me this was due to an excess of liver qi (since I don’t do 24 hrs of aerobic exercise a week), which can stagnate and then in turn can affect my vision (because of the connection between the liver and the occipital lobe of the brain). There was one particular night where I felt so depersonalized, sleep-deprived, stressed (from nothing), and disorientated that I broke down, sobbed on the phone to my Dad for an hour and couldn’t make it to class. When my Dad briefly mentioned the word “swimming”, I literally felt my chest tense up so intensely that I couldn’t breathe or make a sound. It was some disgusting combination of anger, sadness, pain, and well, a little extra dab of anger. And I couldn’t talk about it really to anyone, because I felt annoying. I knew I had to see someone.
3) Based off of my knowledge on yoga philosophy and Eastern medicine, I knew going to a psychologist wasn’t right for me. I needed body work as well. The body is a metaphor for the mind.
Therefore, when I saw her as the only person listed under “Mind Body Therapy” in Natural Awakenings, I called her up right away.
Why Mind-Body therapy over regular psychiatry?
Here’s the deal. We communicate in metaphors. James Geary notes in his book “I is an Other” (more on this in future posts), that almost every sentence we use is dripping with metaphors. Don’t believe me?
Here is an article taken from today’s NY Times:
As New Graduates Return to Nest, Economy Also Feels the Pain
Young people who can afford to move out have decided to wait until getting on more solid footing, and their prudence is depriving the economy of a lot of potential activity.
I could do this all day.
Anyways, my point is that we use metaphors way more than we realize. And metaphor therapy, art therapy, music therapy are all starting to make it big in the therapy world.
Because our emotions come from the primitive structures of our nervous system, and though those structures may be brilliant, but damn are they also retarded.
They can’t distinguish between situations you experience when you’re six months old and now. Nor can it understand English. No, I’m serious. Don’t even try Chinese on that thing.
So yes, psychotherapy is great for your prefrontal cortex/neocortex, the last part of your brain that gets developed. When does that happen? Oh right, way past when the rest of your emotional patterns are laid down.
I mean, pretend that you’re four years old. You are not going to justify the fact that your mom was strict on you because “Oh hey, she experienced neglect when she was young so her way of showing love is to smother me and be strict”. No. All your simple emotionally-based nervous system is going to know is fear.
And then that fear carries on throughout your life, shaping all your experiences, your sensations in your body, your perception of the world. Your neurons in your own brain start pruning so that the connections become even stronger (a la water making grooves on a rock – thank you MCB 80).
But can you change that?
I believe yes.
So the reason I’m seeing a Mind-Body therapist is because the way your Mind and Body communicate to each other is through metaphor. You undo patterns in your nervous system through imagery and bodily expression. Words only do so much, they only go so far back.
Daily Nutritional Facts:
Two noteworthy mentions –
Ramen Noodle Dark Chocolate – okay the “dark” bit is questionable. 53% doesn’t quite cut it, and it probably is more cocoa butter than cocoa powder. Nonetheless – derishoussss ramen noodles tickle your palette while it plays in the ballpit with Mrs. Dark, but not as epic as the tortilla lime flavored one. Still an interesting and satisfying combination. Komforte Chockolates loves to impress. Plus, seriously a fan on the small size of the bar. Other companies need to get on that, it really isn’t that difficult.
I am also obssessed with Lemon Chobani Greek Yoghurt. I know I’ve raved about lemon yoghurt before in SF, but this stuff is so real. Their other flavors have gross jams collected at the bottom, but this has lemon peels scattered gently throughout the creamy mixture. #hiheaventhatImayormaynoteatdaily