What were you doing just before you put yourself last?
My physical therapist asked me this question this evening. It struck a nerve. Almost as strongly as the treatment I’m receiving for my back.
Her question prompted some soul searching. How did I let my life – and my body – get to where it is today? Motherhood, career, family, divorce, depression, laziness, wanting to be loved and accepted? All of the above? Or does it even matter?
Knowing only matters if it helps me to get past the inertia and move me towards making real changes in my life. In many areas I am satisfied with my life, but in others, I am not. I work too hard in my job and for not enough results, like promotions or salary increases. I do too much for everyone else and nothing for myself. Oh sure, I sew clothes for myself – mostly because I enjoy the sewing, but also because I’m trying to save money since I’ve spent so much of it on my daughters. There’s never anything left for me.
We talked about food and nutrition also. I told her how I wished I could just live life and never have to think or worry about eating. (Uh, eating disorder tendencies?? You think??) She told me I have to start asking myself several times a day, “What do I need?” “What does my body need?”
You see, I have degeneration in my lower back spine, along with disk bulges and a tear. She looked at my MRI and speculates that on one of my vertebrae there may have even been a compression fracture at one time. And for at least four years, my back has worsened to the point of debilitating pain and inability to stand up or turn over in bed at night.
Again, putting myself last, I ignored it. Finally, one day my daughter saw me in such pain and she insisted I start by seeing her chiropractor. It’s funny how God puts people in your life. Through this chiropractor – who I have learned to trust after being terrified of chiropractors – I met this physical therapist.
Now I’ve been to physical therapy before, but it was those big PT shops where they just run you through them and there’s really no personal connection. This woman is a one-woman shop and has credentials up the yazoo. To boot, she’s just plain nice and down to earth. And I feel safe with her and can be honest with her. How can someone help you change and get healthy if you aren’t willing to be honest and tell them how you really live your life?
Baby steps. Tonight I’m going to think about what I was doing just before I put myself last. And start putting myself first.
But it’s a hard habit to break. And scary.