“A chronic disease or a perpetuated problem has to become acute to be healed.” Thomas Huebl
Like people who wrestle with the label, “addict”, I‘m uncomfortable identifying myself as a “breast cancer survivor”. Even writing the word “SURVIVOR” feels like tempting fate. And applying “survivor” to an experience like mine dishonours the people who have been through hell to overcome their disease. I did not fight a battle with my body or the fact that she manifested a disease. I never blamed her.
Yet however queasy it makes me to talk about cancer and myself in one sentence, the positive interactions from the “Conflict Shock” newsletter encourage me to continue to cover the four stages of disease and to dig deeper into my own journey. Hopefully in finding the commonalities of our experiences, we can drop judgment of each other’s sadnesses and challenges and increase the chances of healing in every one, including people administering to someone with a disease.
According to METAMedicine* the process of disease goes as follows:
Shock Absorption – Beyond the 6-second Threshold
When a person experiences a shock (Sept issue of juice! newsletter), their mind absorbs the event, and their body absorbs the event. Both mind and body are active in the conflict.
Anabel Jensen, president of sixseconds.org says, “It takes approximately six seconds for molecules of emotion to get absorbed back into your body after you’ve had a reaction.”**
In most circumstances, an emotion – even the emotion of compassion – walks in and walks out with ease.
In a “normal” circumstance …
However with dis-ease, as the name suggests, the emotion doesn’t walk out with ease. The person keeps replaying the feeling. Even though they’re away from the direct threat, or the actual frustration or fear, they can’t let go of the energy of the event.
As Livia Pack, a student of Byron Katie’s “The Work” says,
“We do not choose to replay the feeling but we refuel it again
and again with our mind, creating stories about the event, about the feeling. Our mind interprets what that feeling means, how it should be read and dealt with. All of this mental gnawing is a distortion, as the mind has a very limited perspective.”
During the Conflict Active phase, the affected person continues with life as normal. They might even believe the situation is resolved. Yet the chemistry of the shock is not dissolved. They’re still adrenalized by the event.
Gorging on Emotion
The Conflict Active phase is characterized by obsessive thoughts. The person who is suffering has trouble sleeping, eating or both. There might be tears; there might not.
In my case, during the Conflict Active phase my dreams were pronounced and prolific. The following dream was recurrent:
(NB: In South Africa people often have burglar alarms installed in their homes. “Security eyes” are throughout the house.)
In this recurring dream, the red movement sensor in my bedroom was flashing constantly along with a warning: an admonition that if I didn’t pay the electricity bill for the whole world, its lights would go out.
Adrenalin rushed like shots of hot lava through my body. In one dream I stood at the edge of a precipice looking into blackness, acutely aware that if I chose to, I could take that one step further into madness. My glorious free will persuaded me back from that abyss.
When the Conflict Current Runs
To the sufferer, the notion which was set in motion in the Conflict Shock stage that he or she is somehow flawed, often leads to self abuse.
Body-wise, for two years I had a “runny stomach” (polite South African term for diarrhea). I didn’t seek medical attention; I just excused it, putting it down to stress. Another sign ignored.
And what experts have told us about the signs of disease: take seriously any marked changes in personality,..it’s true. Six months before my tumor was diagnosed, our security gate broke and I fell into a panic. I remember my husband saying that evening that he wanted ‘his wife back.’
When Dr. Edge confirmed that the lump in my breast was cancerous, I actually wasn’t surprised. I didn’t cry, I just drank lots of water as David and I listened to my treatment options, which were anything but a “treat.”
But that’s the subject of the next newsletter – Phase 3: Resolution. Enough reading for now. Except that I want to tell you I went for a walk with my 16 month old Buddy in Tokai Forest the other day and realized that I love rapture as much as joy. The mountains were so enormous and green and the wildflowers purple and yellow in abundance and the smell of the pines like Colorado. Give me my rapture.
I’m glad to be alive for 2015!