EXCERPT : “LIKE A ROCK” – A SHORT GUIDE TO EMPOWERMENT OF WELLNESS THROUGH SELF CARE AND SPIRITUAL SOLUTIONS – Wendy Blanchard, M.S., CHHC, CPS

“Self care is the actions that we take to achieve wellness and wellness is where we stand in our power!”

 

A short guide to empowerment of wellness through self care and spiritual solutions.

Wendy Blanchard, M.S., CHHC, CPS

“My hands were steady

My eyes were clear and bright

My walk had purpose

My steps were quick and light

And I held firmly

To what I felt was right

Like a rock

Like a rock, I was strong as I could be

Like a rock, nothin’ ever got to me

Like a rock, I was something to see

Like a rock…” – Bob Seger

PREFACE :  RECOVERY, REBIRTH, RELEASE

Using self reflection, self observance, self awareness, and truthfulness of our emotions and feelings provide us with an opportunity to authentically connect to our inner most emotions, our deepest wounds, the environment around us, and to tap into what we inherently know that we need to heal, and to thrive. Our mental health and our physical health are directly correlated. When we are feeling unwell mentally, we become unwell physically, and vice versa. When we are experiencing “dis-ease,” and “dis-orders,” it is up to us individually to take responsibility for our own health and wellness. We may do this by going within to search our soul for the answers that only we have. What are we feeling? Why? When did it begin? How can I bring myself back to wellness? What do I need in this moment to provide me with wellness, peace, and sustainability?

In order to change it, we must see it clearly, validate it authentically, and possess the willingness to create the changes which we know are imperative for our health and wellness using an open perspective, open mind, open heart, and flexibility. We must humble ourselves and ask for that which will heal us, and/or provide ourselves with what we know will heal us, whatever that means for each of us individually. It will look different for everyone, and it will change over one’s lifetime.

For me, it was going to a rehabilitation facility, eliminating all toxic substances, people, and situations from my life, beginning to add in natural and organic means of healing, engaging in loving, healthy relationships, and most importantly, strengthening my connection to God/Spirit/Universe.

In order to heal and to live in a state of wellness, we must go within to reflect, and to identify and name the emotion(s) that are causing “dis-ease” and “dis-orders” in the present moment. We have to be willing to observe and validate where these emotions originated, assess how long they have been a source of “dis-ease” and “dis-order,” and what impact it has had on our overall health. In the quiet of our own space, we know our truth. 

It was that truth that offered me a new freedom. It was that truth that was the catalyst in my choosing life over the slow death I was experiencing through drug use, an eating disorder, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

I grew up in a highly dysfunctional and toxic environment where my parents were living with mental health disorders, and addiction issues. The toxicity of the constant screaming, raging behaviors, neglect, physical abuse, mental abuse, and abuse of toxic substances became their legacy…and for a time…mine as well. I had also been sexually abused at age 14 by an older boy, age 18, and five of his friends on the side of the road on a busy highway as I was walking to the local movie theatre. Not one person stopped to help me. I never told a soul…until I began my recovery.

When I woke up from a near fatal overdose of prescription opioids and benzodiazepines in early 2013, and realized what had happened, and that my son and daughters would never recover if I were to leave them this way, I asked for help to save my life.

Growing up, I always said to everyone who would listen, “I will never be like my mother.” My daughter, Nicole, once said to me a couple of years ago, “You’re nothing like your mother.” But, the more time I’ve had living in wellness and with clarity of mind, the more I realize that we can only BE a product of our environment as we live what we learn, especially if we are children living in the thick of it, day in and day out, year after year. If we grow up in toxicity, we too, become toxic. It is those of us who are deeply connected to our inner spirit, our inner truth, and are self aware, who, when we are old enough, and brave enough to ask for help, transform ourselves through a variety of self care practices, and spiritual solutions…working diligently and with great discipline at achieving wellness. At least, that is how it all unfolded for me. And, for those whom I coach and teach about mental health and wellness, most have followed suit.

I grew up around two parents who lived with anxiety and depressive disorders, severe and debilitating neurosis, inflammatory anger and rage disorders, and although there was never a formal diagnosis for either one other than alcoholism and pill dependence and an anxiety disorder for my mother, my work and training in the field has given me reason to believe there were additional disorders occurring simultaneously, for each of my parents.

Now that I have achieved my ninth year thriving in wellness, and in recovery from prescription drug addiction and co-occurring disorders, I have developed a deep and compassionate empathy for both of my parents, both of whom are now deceased. I have had the unique perspective of living on both sides of this equation…living with these dis-orders, and presently, working in the field with others living with these dis-orders. 

My parents, like myself, were victims of circumstance. My parents did not have the resources or the tools that I have had, that which I had discovered in my desperate search for sustainable wellness, and that which I have tapped into, and practice daily. Hundreds and hundreds of resources and tools, including a team of holistic professionals which I have surrounded myself with, and where I have also become a “team member” as well for my own clients, and students in my mental health and wellness trainings. In this, my ninth year of wellness recovery, I have allowed myself to heal implementing a holistic lifestyle, and checking myself with the truth every day. Calling B.S. on myself when need be is also part of my self care. Truth.

The truth did in fact, set me free. Free of the disease of Substance Use Disorder, and Mental Illness, together also known as “Co-Occurring Dis-orders.”

When I became older and acknowledged secretly to myself that I was unwell, I knew that I could not continue to live in such an unwell state of body and mind. My body’s organs were shutting down. I had become emotionally bankrupt, physically depleted, and spiritually disconnected. I had an inner yearning to break free from the toxicity, all of it. The drugs, the environment, the relationships, all of it. Even removing myself from toxic family connections. Yes, to save myself, for myself, and for my MY family…Matthew, Nicole, Olivia, Rose and my newborn granddaughter, Harper, and my future grandchildren.

For forty years I had been numbing my pain, numbing my trauma, and my “never good enough” mindset caused by my upbringing and early childhood trauma, by using a lethal cocktail of prescription drugs, which nearly took my life in early 2013. 

It was my ongoing and devoted connection to Spirit, albeit slightly fractured in that moment, that saved my life on the morning of April 3, 2013. Spirit lovingly coaxed me, and guided me out of the darkness on that morning, at the 11th hour…right before the ship became fully immersed in water where I was destined to drown an imminent death. Instead, Spirit sent a lifeboat. In my confused and weakened state, I slowly climbed aboard, all 100 pounds of me barely standing at 5’2”. I fell heavily onto the deck of that lifeboat…my only lifeline. I was taken to the emergency room where I would begin my healing journey. I began to build an interconnected foundation where I created and developed a spiritual interior, and to implement only natural and organic solutions to secure my wellness, body and mind, standing firmly in my faith through any, and every challenge, worry, or loss that visited me…deeply connected to God.

Like a rock…

God/Spirit/Universe is the rock in my hand that keeps me grounded as I follow each stepping stone along my path that has been provided for me to learn, to grow, and to share with those who continue to ask, “Where do you get your strength?”

As I began to allow myself to come face to face with my pain and trauma, that which had embedded itself deep within my cellular structure, repressed for over forty years, I felt Spirit’s presence even more deeply as I began to “peel away the layers,” as they say. I felt very safe, never judged, and felt a deep sense of feeling so loved and protected. I was being guided to surrender to my faith in this recovery process. Just the night before, I had gotten down on my knees and prayed to God to show me the way out of my active disease. “Dear God, if you show me the way out of this, I will devote my life to any path that you put before me. If you can hear me, please give me a sign.” I had asked for a specific sign through the next song that would play on my radio, one that would be meaningful and completely recognizable only to me as a sign that God/Spirit/Universe has heard my prayer, and one that would reassure me that I was being Divinely protected and guided. When I turned on my iPhone music station, the first song to play was, “Jesus, take the wheel.” (Jesus take the wheel, Take it from my hand, I can’t do this on my own, I’m letting go. So give me one more chance, And save me from this road I’m on, Jesus, take the wheel”).

I knew that my connection was loud and clear…

I have been listening to “voice” ever since…

Copyright 2021 Wendy I. Blanchard, M.S., CHHC, CPS (LIKE A ROCK)

DRAFT #1

Wendy Blanchard, M.S., INHC, NYCPS