I wish somehow I could articulate what it is that I need to say. Yet, I often feel like I come up short and I don’t get my point across in a way other can understand. Conversion Disorder is the topic and even though I found my way through it, it isn’t easy describing what I did to heal and get through it.
So many that are going through it feel like this is what they have to live with in their life. This could not be further from the truth. There are some people that the symptoms subside and so they believe they have dealt with it. There are others that turn to tricks and gimmicks thinking it has healed them, but unfortunately it is a hidden poison they cannot see lying there in wait.
I know that what I write goes against a lot of the mainstream thought on healing Conversion Disorder. I’ve had countless people lecture me on what I don’t know while they don’t seem to be making progress through it utilizing what they know and I don’t. Just to make it crystal clear, I don’t subscribe to paradigms in life. I really try to blow the paradigms up and look for what works.
Myth #1 – You’re Faking Conversion Disorder
All too often people who are suffering with Conversion Disorder are told they are faking it. I wish those that say these things could have a little more compassion and think before they speak. I’m sure there are some that would fake symptoms, but for the most part it is as real as taking a breath. Yes, I do realize that people can mimic others which has been done in many instances throughout history. However, I would have given anything to not have to experience and endure the symptoms and stuff I went through when I had Conversion Disorder.
Myth #2 – Its All In Your Head
While the neural pathways, neurons, and thoughts in our head do have a considerable role in Conversion Disorder, it is experienced in the body. What happens in the mind, even in an unconscious state appears in the body. You can think of it as “issues in the tissues” but the mind and body are connected. Yes, we experience things in life and when these experiences become so great, they can shut us down. They affect us in a somatic way even if we can’t recall them. If we can recall the experiences, often we so numb and deadened to them, that our conscious thought does not reconcile with our unconscious thoughts and patterns.
Myth #3 – Trauma Is Not Needed For Conversion Disorder
I believe the definition of trauma is what makes this myth messy. Everyone’s view of trauma is different. If you’re a soldier that returned from battle, seeing a pet be run over may not be that traumatic. However, if you’re a little kid that loves that pet and witnesses this, it could be highly traumatic. We all see trauma in different ways from our own life’s experiences and through what we’ve been taught. The buildup of little moments in life can be just as bad as one big overwhelming trauma. All too often, we minimize trauma and to me, that is a strong characteristic of those who suffer from Conversion Disorder. We can minimize with the best of them!
Myth #4 – Quick Fix For Conversion Disorder
We often want to be out of pain or physical limitations immediately and in all reality, healing from Conversion Disorder is a process. It is not an overnight awakening where you wake up the next day and all is well. Yes, it can improve quickly and dramatically, but it still takes time to deal with the hidden monsters and poison in life that have permeated every pore of our mind and body. Healing from Conversion Disorder is about taking the time to get acquainted with innermost and deepest parts of your existence while people who are safe and supportive walk with you through every step of the healing. Its about allowing yourself permission to go into these moments so that you can reclaim all there is for your life.
Myth #5 – Nothing Happened To Me!
Boy, did I ever swallow this myth up for a long time. Yet, I knew I didn’t have a perfect childhood, but I had myself convinced that it was as normal as everyone else. I would not allow myself to think of the horrors I had faced. In many ways, I did not even understand they were horrors. In fact, it took a year after I was paralyzed to even begin piecing that part of my life together. I had blocked it out. I refused to see it. I didn’t want to see it. My life couldn’t handle it if it came to the light of day and so it was easier for my subconscious mind to just make it disappear.
Myth #6 – You Have To Live With Conversion Disorder
I was told that most likely I would be on medication and living with the affects of Conversion Disorder all my life. At the time, just being able to walk and talk was the most I could have hoped for in my day. I didn’t think I would ever get back to 100% functionality in life and I have. No one else thought I would either, but I did. You don’t have to live with Conversion Disorder. There is a way out. I’m working on writing more about that, but I have not completed this yet.
Myth #7 – Chasing Cures
While there can be many different biological causes that could definitely contribute to Conversion Disorder, much of it is learning how to go inside and release the crap that is there. I know that sounds like someone telling you to add mud to ice cream to make a milkshake. It doesn’t make sense most likely. However, until you dive in and start figuring out what is beneath the surface, you’re only resting on the top of the ground. Chasing cures will only take you away from where you need to be. Chasing cures will keep you from healing yourself and finding the treatments you need.
Myth #8 – But I’m Happy All The Time
Yep, I was happy all the time too! In fact, most of my friends thought I had it all together and nothing ever bothered me. I never showed sadness or anything but a constant smile. I had everyone fooled including myself. The thing is, we humans are very good and tricking ourselves into believing that everything is all together and we’re happy as a lark. It is the way we humans avoid the horrible we cannot face and we don’t want to face. It is the way we convince ourselves that everything in our life leading up to this point was fine and dandy. It can be the ultimate definition of minimizing in our life.
Myth #9 – Medications Needed
There are times when the medications help. In the early days I fought my doctors on medications and while they let me go without them, I soon found out that I needed them to help get me past the point of life where it was just too much to deal with all at once. Of course, I see an over-medication of people going on and so for every symptom, a medication is prescribed. By doing this, you just push yourself deeper and deeper into despair, rather than allowing yourself to find the healing path out of Conversion Disorder. Sometimes the discomfort is the blinking light that leads us to the path of transformation.
Myth #10 – I’m Not Strong Enough
One of the things that Conversion Disorder does to us, is it takes away all your confidence in life and your body. When you can’t trust your body to function as in walking, talking, and not having seizures or other conditions, then its hard to have confidence that you’re strong enough to get through this. Depending upon your body to function is essential to life and self-confidence. When these things have been taken away from you, it is anything but a fertile ground of growth and healing. One therapist once told me that if they could have given me a shot of “self-confidence”, I probably would have gotten better much quicker. You’re strong enough to have survived life to this point and please work to convince yourself that you’re strong enough to survive and heal from Conversion Disorder.
When I was first going through Conversion Disorder, I didn’t think I would ever make it. In fact, at the time, the doctors never told me that this was what I had. This is the prevailing wisdom and while it was probably the right thing to do, I really wish I would have understood more what was happening to me.
In the year 1991, there was not an internet that I could search. There was very little information on the subject of Conversion Disorder. I could NOT go on and find YouTube videos or message boards or other things that people had written. In fact, it took me from 1991 to 2012 to meet another survivor of Conversion Disorder.
Treatment for me was focused on integration into daily life and dealing with the physical issues I had. It was about learning to relax and take time out in life for myself. It was learning how to begin getting in touch with emotions that always remained hidden deep below the surface. It was about me starting to ask the right questions so I could begin to heal.
Healing wasn’t a step-by-step process of medication and medical procedures. It was me asking myself on a daily basis, “how can I get better?” It was me not taking the status quo or accepting where I was at in this moment which allowed me to find the next step, and then the next and going after additional steps. The steps weren’t clear in the moment, but with each plateau, I could see a little more.
Healing from Conversion Disorder was about learning to go in and feel, not run and hide. It was about learning to connect feeling and sensation in my body with my brain. In Conversion Disorder, there is usually a big loss of feeling and sensation and part of healing is learning how to turn this back on. Unfortunately when you turn it back on, you also awaken the monsters in life you are very likely running from.
I don’t write these things because of not understanding Conversion Disorder, but of knowing what it is like to live through this and seeing others begin to deal with it and heal their lives. I know that some will disagree with what I write and state that I have no clue what I am talking about on this condition. Yet, I have healed my life and I’ve seen others do it, so I’m not talking out of ignorance. Everything that I state here is what I have seen personally and in others.
Each person has to make choices in what they do. We all make choices of how we heal or succumb to conditions in our life, especially Conversion Disorder. Sometimes just this realization is a major one in healing.
We often want to be out of pain or physical limitations immediately and in all reality, healing from Conversion Disorder is a process. It is not an overnight awakening where you wake up the next day and all is well. Yes, it can improve quickly and dramatically, but it still takes time to deal with the hidden monsters and poison in life that have been experienced.
Healing from Conversion Disorder is about taking the time to get acquainted with innermost and deepest parts of your existence with people who are safe and supportive, walking with you through every step of healing. It is about allowing yourself permission to go into these moments so that you can reclaim all there is for your life. Healing from Conversion Disorder is possible.
Please take a look at my book. While it doesn’t give the complete story of healing, you’ll get an idea of how my path unfolded and what I used to heal. I am working on a more comprehensive book that deals with how I healed from Conversion Disorder.