Much of my healing process I’ve been going through in the past year is centered around my desire to heal holistically from the numbness and sciatica I have on my left leg and foot. From something that originally started in 2010, my perspective on it has changed dramatically since then.
I believe strongly today that there is a mind-body connection. Having read a few books on this subject by a Dr. John Sarno many years ago, I learned that the mind can create pain in the body due to emotional turmoil. Essentially, when an emotional trauma is too painful to deal with consciously, the mind creates a pain or pains in the body to shift the focus away from it. The more that a person focuses on the emotional trauma, the more the pain dissipates. The more the person focuses on the pain itself, the more it increases. For years, I followed this theory, and consistently was able to combat various phantom pains that came about in my body as each of them were connected to one of many emotional traumas that I had endured in my life. But then April 27, 2010 arrived and I developed sciatica and numbness in my left leg and left foot.
When it began, I tried to apply the same principles from the mind-body connection, but as time went forward, I lost faith in what I had learned. As days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months, and months turned into a year, I lost confidence in the path I had followed for so many years and figured it was something more serious. I went to the doctors and had test after test done and then had an MRI which showed a minor protrusion in L5-S1 on my spine. I consulted with the best back specialists in the Boston area at Massachusetts General Hospital and was told that the disc may or may not be causing what I’m experiencing. Even worse, I was told that if I pursued surgery, it may or may not alleviate the symptoms I was dealing with. I opted for a cortisone shot path with physical therapy instead. Neither helped. I then went to chiropractors, took pain meds and anti-inflammtories, and followed the doctor’s orders explicitly on his other suggestions. None of them helped. In fact, more pains developed as time moved forward.
What I didn’t understand then that I do now, is that I was focusing on everything that I could do externally to treat it. I would go to this doctor or that doctor, take this pill or that pill, have this test done or that test done, and was getting nowhere. After a year of doing this and a seonc year had gone by with me enduring so much pain, I realized that there was one path I hadn’t tried. I hadn’t gone within to look at some very deep seated emotional issues that I have avoided for all of my life.
In the first two years of enduring this, I was engaged in highly sexual addicted based behaviors. I spent most of my time toxically with people that were active alcoholics and drug addicts. I didn’t follow any spiritual routine or seek God’s will on most days. And I continued to look for quick fixes and highs in my life to make me feel better. Worse of all, I hated to spend any time alone and had no relationship with myself and soon came to realize I never did.
So at the two year mark, I then made the decision it was time. Time to get to know me. Time to go back to the last memory I had of when I did, and start again. The first action I took was telling all the people in my life that were part of my addictions that I had to say goodbye. Then I started removing friends in my life that were codependent with me or vice versa. And then I began following a daily spiritual practice that I maintained diligently with God at the center of it. I started going deeper within myself in therapy and began spending time alone doing things that I might normally do with someone else. Little by little, I began to develop a relationship and best friendship with me.
It’s now been almost a year of following this spiritual path and I definitely am noticing a difference. Spiritually, mentally, and emotionally, I have had many better days and feel a lot lighter more than not. Since the end of 2012, I have even begun to have a few hours here and there where the physical pains in my body seem to disappear. I’m confident that these are all signs that I’m on the right path now.
Where I once looked at the sciatica and numbness as the end of my life, I now look at it as a gift. I was on a serious path of destruction where nothing was slowing me down. I’m convinced that I would still be on that dead-end path if this had never happened. I use a comparison today that seems to make sense to others when they ask me how confident I am that I’ll heal in this way with God’s help.
For a cancer patient, most times the course of recovery is through chemotherapy. Week in and week out their bodies are exposed to the radiation to eradicate each and every cancer cell. There are times during that process that the patient wants to give up and feels it’s just not worth it. The truth is that if even one cancer cell is left within the body and not eliminated, that full blown cancer could return. So they trudge on, trusting it’s helping, and for many, the chemo ends up working and they return to a life free from cancer. I believe that the same thing holds true with my sciatica and numbness. I look at God now as my chemotherapy. I believe God knows exactly when to stop it. I am convinced that God knows when the last bit of toxins and poisons from my life are gone and at that moment, I believe that’s when I will see the sciatica and numbness lift.
The first year I had this, I was angry, I begged and bargained with God to remove it. I busied myself with addictions to pass the time by. And I watched 365 days go by with no avail.
The second year I worked with every doctor and practitioner I could afford with both time and money and focused all my efforts on getting it out of me by all of their help. And I watched another 365 days go by with still no improvement.
In this third year, I have done the one thing I never wanted to do throughout the whole process and throughout my whole life for that matter, I remained still and have begun to get to know me. And now I can say that in this 365 days that are passing, I am healing.
Be still. For a body in pain, that’s tough. Especially in that I don’t take any medications. How much longer must I endure this pain? I don’t know. But I believe that God knows. Until then, I believe I have one job and one job only and that’s to continue to do what I can to stay healthy on every level and place God’s will before mine. And as much as cliches can be annoying, everything really does happen for a reason.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson