Approximately 2.5 years ago, I was feeling mentally and physically unwell ALL of the time. The kicker though, I felt as if I was doing ALL of the "right" things.
Lots of sleep
Balanced nutritional lifestyle
Engagement in alternative spiritual practice(s)
Meaningful social interactions
Satisfying romantic/non romantic relationships
Recommended primary care visits
......I could go on & on & on.
The more I delved into finding the source of my dis-ease, the more dis-ease I experienced. I started where anyone might think to start...the doctor. I received a full panel of blood work and it came back "normal." I connected with my gynecologist in hopes of receiving a more woman-focused perspective. Guess what? Everything was "normal." As a therapist, I then began trying to diagnose myself (3/10 recommend) as I was desperate for answers. I honestly felt like I was spiraling. If I was making such an effort and still feeling unwell, then it must be me, right? I kind of felt like having the infamous "it's not you, it's me" talk with my wellness regimen. It would go a little something like this:
"Hey wellness, it's me. I've been really committed to you with the hopes of improving my well-being, but I am getting absolutely no relief. Medically I am "normal" and you seem to be working for EVERYONE else (but me). I think we should break up, but hey, it's not you, it's obviously ME."
It was me, but/and/also it was SO much more. First, let's explore the SO much more and chat about some (very disheartening) facts. Historically, women have been excluded from medical research. What comes from that? Well, essentially all diagnoses, symptomology, and treatments are based on white men. There has been some movement and improvement, though. In 1993 (not that long ago), the National Institute of Health mandated the Revitalization Act, requiring that both women and minorities be included in medical research moving forward (see more here).
Additionally, I'd venture to say psychology (i.e., the study of the mind and behaviors) and social work (i.e., the understanding of human development, behavior, as well as, the social, economic, and cultural institutions and interactions) have been widely approached the same way. Most pioneers/theorists are males, giving us yet again, a male-centered lens to understand the psycho-social-spiritual female experience.
Women's Wellness has been and still is mismanaged. Women, altogether, are misunderstood.
My wellness journey began in this mismanaged and misunderstood space. A place that dwells in my soul. A cold, dark, unvisited, space with limited research, exploration, and answers. A place filled with hopelessness, anger, frustration, sadness, exhaustion, and self-blame. I resided here for quite some time. I didn't necessarily want to stay, but if I decided to leave it would remain as I left it. So I shifted my perspective, thinking who/what can I invite in? Who/what can bring life, nourishment, and growth? Who/what is prohibiting me to flourish? Clarissa Pinkola Estés said it best in Women Who Run With the Wolves, "We must be more interested in the thoughts, feelings, and endeavors which strengthen women, and adequately count the interior and cultural factors which weaken women."
Luckily, there's an abundance of information that is easily accessible through the interwebs, books, media, podcasts, and blogs. Similarly, there are a variety of experts. Whether conventional or alternative, evidenced-based or anecdotal, healers exist all around us. There is one expert I didn't mention. This expert is often, but mustn't be, forgotten: ourselves. These resources are valuable, but by the same token, overwhelming. And that is how I got here.
align (v)-come together in agreement or alliance + gyn- woman = aligyned
My intention with sharing (a very shortened version of) my story is that we join each other in navigating our uncharted territories that are filled with so much wisdom and wonder. My hope is to encourage the strengthening of one's relationship with self and the divine feminine, while empowering harmony between our individualized cycles, phases, and seasons.
Let's get growin' and connect🤍
Until Next Time,