As a survivor of sexual violence, I spend a lot of time thinking about and working toward healing. Usually when I speak about being healed, I'm looking at it from an emotional/mental/spiritual viewpoint. Because most of my hurts are spiritual and emotional, I tend to focus on those, but I’ve noticed lately that my body also responds to these emotional hurts. Case in point: on the anniversary of the first time my ex-partner hit me, I developed a terrible headache centered on the left side of my head. It corresponded to the same area where he punched me last year. This psychosomatic pain was no less real than the pain I experienced when he first hit me. I had headaches for a week both times. This made me think about my body and how physical health is related to emotional health.
Most of the folks who know me know that I’ve had a long-term struggle with obesity. In 2007, I began working hard to lose weight and become healthy. Over the course of two years, I lost 130 pounds. It wasn’t easy, but it was definitely worthwhile. Through the process, I learned that I was worth fighting for, and that I could accomplish great things if I tried. This summer, I began struggling again with weight gain. The stress of obtaining an order of protection against my abuser took its toll and I know that I used food to help me cope. I gained 20 pounds from the end of May when I filed for the order. Again, here is this apparent correlation between the physical body and the emotions. So my question today is this: can the mind truly be healed if the body is struggling? Can the body be healthy if the spirit is suffering?
I will be searching for the answer. In the meanwhile, it is obvious to me that I must seek healing for both parts of myself as an integrated whole; body and mind must be healed in order for me to be the healthy, complete person I want to be.