Holistic Psychology – Why talking about your problems is not enough
Hello to all of you fighters. Hello to all of you going through something right now – anything really. And welcome to those of you feeling misunderstood or alone in your struggles. To everyone else who is suffering with someone, a mother, daughter, brother or sister. I just want you to know that you are not alone.
Even though it is still very hard for me to write about this topic, I know that keeping quiet about the truth will not help others struggling with similar (mental) health problems – being it an eating disorder, depression, anxiety or any other mental struggle.
The truth is that I am still incredibly ashamed of my own story. My ego doesn’t want people who know me to see me like this. To see me so vulnurable. To know so many details about my past, but I am so over covering the truth and what I have been going through the last couple of years. I don’t want to hide any more – pretending to live a happy, fullfilled life while feeling hollow from the inside out.
This is why I am finally opening up and speaking out loud what has been buried for far too long. Writing about it helps me and I hope that those who find themselves in a somehow similar situation can take something from my words for themselves. Remember that staying silent might give you some comfort and spare you the confrontation with what is really going on, but it won’t help you in the long-term.
The real problem lies beyond the visible
Most people don’t know that when I was at my worst physical health state (in my case lowest weight), I always covered up in big sweaters and loose pants so no one would realise how skinny I truly was. Ironic isn’t it? People think you want to be really skinny when you lose a lot of weight, when the truth is that being skinny is not what keeps you going. The problem is NOT THE FOOD. It’s something that is broken deep inside of your soul.
When I was at the lowest weight and very close to death, I was hospitalised for 6 weeks at a special clinic. During my stay, I had several psychotherapy sessions per week – both in private and group settings – and talked to several doctors and psychotherapists. Unfortunately, even though I gained enough weight to be released “physically healthy”, I was far away from being holistically healed. I was treated as a patient but not as a human being, whose needs rise far beyond the words written in (psychological) textbooks.
Many times after my discharge from the clinic, I felt misunderstood and lost in my vicious circle of fear and failure all over again. Several years past by. I had ups and downs but was far away from being fully recovered. It got really bad again when I started a PhD position in Switzerland. (You can read more about it here.)
It was only, when I traveled to Bali and immersed myself into the spiritual culture of the island of gods and goddesses, when I realised that it was me and only me who could chose my thoughts, my feelings and ultimately my reality, that I slowly gained my life back. Only then I was able to connect back to friends and family and gain back my power, my laughter, myself. But I had to choose recovery over my comfort zone every single day!
Knowing “the problem” is not enough to fully recover
The sad truth I learned on my journey is that traditional therapy alone has little effect on lasting change. The conventional model of psychology – that I was ironically introduced to during my studies in Psychology – still encourages talk therapy. But what we know as mental illness is not a disease that we carry as a label for a lifetime. It is a symptom with a clear message to provide mind and body with homeostasis. I strongly believe that every illness has a purpose.
For me, talking did indeed help in the short-term as it made me realise what “bull shit” was actually going on in my head, but it did not change my life in the long-term. Only scratching on the surface does not heal you from a broken heart. Therapy’s aim is to find the “problem” of your thoughts, emotions and behaviour. But there is no “problem” with a one-way-fits-all solution. Knowing “the problem” is not enough to fully recover. You need to develop a vision, a future version of yourself and consider yourself already there (also know as “manifestation” of “future-self journaling“).
Usually, no one tells you that you can simply change your thoughts at any time, if you really want to change. As I have said so many times before: “Life is not about finding yourself. It’s about CREATING yourself.“
Yoga, meditation and continues breath work taught me that I am more than my thoughts. That I am more than the pure reaction to whatever it is that I am feeling.
Introducing the body to the mind.
It was when I realised that there is no disconnect between the mind and body that I slowly started to really recover. But for most people they are completely unaware of their connection. To change you have to purposely work for the two to align. This looks different for each person, but it means choosing physical and mental wellness each and every day. The mind needs proper nutrition, meditation, mindfulness, and examination of thoughts. Just as the body needs proper nutrition, physical movement and rest. You need to make choices to nurture both over an extended period of time. Through this practice, I was slowly able to develop new, nourishing habits.
What I have learned is that your body will begin to tell you when it’s hungry, tired or when it needs more movement. Only when I really started to sit still and listen (no talking here), I finally started to feel hungry again. Hungry for food, for joy, for an exciting new life.
Just like the body, I learned that your mind will tell you when it’s stressed or when it’s balanced. When I started to nurture both of them, my life slowly started to attract and invited more positivity into my daily routine. I develoved a mission. A mission that was way bigger than myself. The mission to heal, to love, to open up, so that one day I could inspire many others to do the same.
I started to become so eager about learning more about proper nutrition, about the human brain, the mind as well as the mind-body connection. This is when my actual healing journey began.
Are you happy?
Most of us will say “yes” as a matter of politeness and habbit. But here is what I would respond without any shame or fear of judgment:
“In all honesty? No. But I am curious in my sadness. I am curious in moments of joy. I am finally feeling the sadness and anger apart from the the long-lasting numbness. I am everfeeling, everseeking for more. I am in awe of the beauty all around me. I am in awe of the dark parts of my days as they highlight the bright ones. And I am grateful for EVERY SINGLE DAY I get to experience both – the darkness and the light. Always longing for more, I want to feel it all. I don’t ever want to cover it up ur numb it again. And would never regret what I have been going through. My life is a gift. A joyfull, adventurous, marvolous miracle. So no. I am not happy. But I am open to feel the feelings, and wouldn’t have it any other way.”
When people ask me: “How did you get so deep?“
I answer: “From digging.“
My everyday Mantra
“My body is a vehicle for beauty, grace, and expression. I am in awe of the beauty all around me. I honer and share my talents and skills. Appreciating my strength and my wisdom. I am blessed for the deepest feelings and ready to feel them all.“
Let me know what else you want to know about me or about my journey. Remember what this blog is called? At the end of the day, it’s always About The Good Life. About a life that is coloured with ups and downs, happy and sad moments. But we always have the chance to change our perspectives on the events going on in the outside world. We always have a choice!
Thank you for reading! This shows me that you are ready to make a change on your own. Change takes courage. It takes courage to tell the story of who you really are beyond the visible surface. It takes courage to be vulnurable and share your scattering truth. And when you are ready to go deeper, I would be honored to support you on your very personal journey!