If you’ve ever felt that your body is reflecting your state of mind or vice versa, then Ivana` s story, as the fifth of ten mental health talks in this series is for you. This one goes to show that the old folk saying we have here in Croatia – ´healthy spirit inhabits a healthy body´ holds the words to live by.
Ivana Karmišević is a slow-living, nature-loving homebody mama, creative photographer and conscious lifestyle blogger, but more importantly, a supportive IG friend whom I admire and love having around. I asked her to share her experience on holistic healing of body, mind and soul, as her story is one I relate to.
For I too have quietly gone through some of what she very openly talks about when sharing her health struggles.I know how it feels when you gain the strength of spirit with every mindful deprivation of toxic lifestyle habits, to make room for better. And I know how empowering it can be for one`s mental health to witness improvements in the physical body due to the love you choose to invest in yourself. So I invite you to read about Ivana˙s (@cupoftea.living) inspiring journey and take from her whatever you can to heal from inside out.
“That`s just the way it is˝
“That`s just the way it is˝ -A sentence I’ve been listening to for years. It took on an even bigger and more significant meaning when I gave birth, because now I’m a mom and, … it is what it is. It’s hard. It has to be. Any worsening of my condition was taken for normal because I don’t sleep at night, I breastfeed, I worry too much, I didn’t eat enough, and so on.
I was a mom for three and a half years when this condition of mine reached its peak. At that time I had headaches every day, at times when I went to bed at night the room spun until I fell asleep, and I slept for 12 hours, yet couldn’t get enough sleep. Also, I was unusually nervous if I missed my afternoon nap, and couldn’t eat more than a spoonful of food, or drink more than sips of water because I had constant nausea from migraines I had all the days of the cycle. And I could not get myself to pick up my child in the kindergarten which is a 3-minute walk from the apartment where I work, because I was dizzy and bothered by light and noise.
I think I have stated enough to make you understand the state I was in. The advice around me only made the situation worse because the blood tests seemed perfectly fine and then I had to be fine too. So I started psychotherapy because I kept forgetting things and I couldn’t concentrate. I later learned it was called brain fog. It is there that I learned to control my emotions after the earthquake which helped a lot, but the symptoms are still there. Absolutely all of them. And also I went to a physiotherapist because my entire body was in pain, but mostly my neck and shoulders. I thought that constant nausea and buzzing in my ears lead to that tension. The physiotherapist helped me to eliminate some of the pain, but the discomfort in the body is still there. That`s just the way it is.
I worked on my body, mind and spirit
But I knew, I believed and felt it was not so. Ivana, as I remember, is somewhere, I know she is somewhere in there, but she lost her voice. One evening I opened my laptop, put it in my earphones and did my first consultations that changed my diet, supplementation, therapy, lifestyle, … My whole life. I’ll tell you right away that I’m the person who ate a row of milk chocolate for breakfast, then spread a slice of warm white bread with butter, drank hot cocoa, and set off for the day. Now imagine what my “stripping” of flour, sugar, dairy, and quite a few more ingredients looked like.
I struggled quite a bit for the first couple of weeks. It seemed like the situation was getting worse, but then a stable period came which gave me more hope and strength not to give up. I learned to cook from scratch, got acquainted with a handful of new foods, went to bed at 10 pm and woke up at 6 am. During the day I stretched my body at least once, I worked on my body, mind and spirit. I do the same now, after 330 days.
I naturally start to calm down after 5 pm, what I did by 8 pm, is it for the day. Before 10 pm we are all lying down, the child is asleep, and we are slowly falling asleep. I plan meals in advance and everyone eats what I eat, but also foods that I can’t eat, and they can. We walk more and spend days in the sun together because we finally can. I didn’t mention that the sun bothered me and I avoided it all year long. I was also bothered by the cold. Yet, this September at sea I spent every day in direct sunlight for at least an hour without any consequences and I swam in the sea after 6 years! I thought I would never have a memory of playing with my child in the shallows of the sea or teaching her to swim as I was convinced I couldn’t because ˝that`s just the way it is”.
So I just want to offer hope in the possibility! Change is possible, and even one from the root if you take a comprehensive approach where you will not be alone. Body, mind and spirit – nurture them at the same time and give them time, give yourself the time. The change will come.
I promised you this as a person who thought it was too late for everything and had no idea that “everything” was just beginning.
Ivana Karmišević (@cupoftea.living) is a slow-living, nature-loving homebody mama, creative photographer and conscious lifestyle blogger currently relocating from her city home to a nature-based oasis of her dreams, here in Croatia. She is a landscape architect by profession, but her passion lies in nurturing the community which she recently took to a new level with her beautiful ´Cup of tea living´ online magazine, available via her newsletter here.