By Dorrit Karlsen
Photo by Luemen Carlson on Unsplash
On a regular day of Tuesday, I had hit the wall.
I am laying on a bench in the office of an Osteopathic healer. I was there because I had been struggling with terrible pain in my left shoulder and hip for many months. And I was tired–terribly tired all the time.
Laying there on the bench, I feel him remove my socks, but I am too tired to think why. He barely touches the soles of my feet and I start to cry uncontrollably! It’s like an explosion of feelings in my head. Tears are rolling down my face and I am sobbing loudly. He looks at me, and says, “You are not in the right place. You should be in a hospital NOW”. In a haze, I get to my doctor’s office. I can’t even remember driving there. My doctor gets me an ambulance to take me to the hospital. I spend a week doing a lot of tests before I am sent home. They say they can’t find anything wrong with me.
For two weeks I am curled up in my bed, sleeping and crying. My boss keeps calling me, asking when I will be back.
I have been managing his shop all by myself for two and a half years, seven days a week. No one but me to do the heavy lifting, the inventory, the cleaning, ordering supplies paying bills and seeing to the costumers. At home five kids, three dogs, a hardworking husband and a big house demand my attention.
Lying in bed, I realised that I can never go back to that job. I am in constant pain, have zero energy, trouble sleeping, loss of short time memory and brain fog. What job could I possibly have…? While I am grieving the loss of my job, I become very. When you have worked from the age of 10, and you suddenly have to stop–it’s heartbreaking. How could I be useful when I struggle to remember even simple things – like how to make soup, or to pick up my kids from school…?
Six months pass with a lot of trips to doctors and specialists. I am diagnosed with two permanent issues, both triggered by stress. It has taken me seven years to find balance—being able to determine how much can I take on before the stress flares up.
So how did I end up in this situation? I have been thinking about that for a while. The answer became clear to me in a coaching session that I attended at the Leadership by Heart Academy in Oslo Norway. I was raised to be a “good girl”. My mother and grandmother were very strong and strict. I grew up learning the value and importance of always working hard, having pride in everything I did and never saying no. But no one taught me to relax, take care of myself, unwind after work or anything like that. I think if I had learned that in my younger years I would never have hit the wall.
I could not and would not accept that I was going to be on disability for the rest of my life. So, I began searching for a solution. My life had to be more than painkillers and sleeping pills.
I prayed for something positive to help me improve life, to have less pain and be able to help people. My prayers for a solution were answered when I connected with two remarkable women in the US, who shared with me their knowledge.
After nearly seven years, my brain fog finally lifted, I had energy again, a lot less pain and slept like a baby (without sleeping pills!). I was eager to find something (anything!) that I could do to be useful again. I decided to take courses and study to become a certified Leadership by Heart Coach.
What I have learned from this period in my life is:
*Listen to and respect your body
*Take breaks, do things that give you energy and joy
*It’s not weakness to ask for help
*You are not a bad person just because you say no
*Trust your intuition
*Follow your heart
Sometimes life will force us to change course, but we have the ability to adapt and to heal.