Wellness Pearls

04 January 2018

Symptoms as a Means to get our Attention

Instead of heading for a big mental breakdown, I decided to have a small breakdown every Tuesday evening. ― Graham Parke, author

Symptoms can be an astonishing way for our bodies to get our full attention and bypass our minds.  Projectile vomiting announces food poisoning, severe abdominal pain can proclaim appendicitis.  Other signs are less flashy. We tend to ignore symptoms, such as living in quiet desperation, being overwhelmed, or tolerating an intolerable relationship or work. When we consistently ignore these less intrusive symptoms, it can lead to a **Breakdown, according to Alain de Botton.  We stuff, we ignore, we deny, we distract…. then one day, we explode, act out, do something destructive or totally out of character.  It is a 10 out of 10 on the pain scale and it can create hurricane-force destruction.  The Breakdown can be a way to move our symptoms to the front of the line and get our full and undivided attention.

It is a clunky way for our body to let us know that we must do something now. The Breakdown is a way for us to pursue wellness.  A Breakdown is a painful yet effective means to address our illnesses.  The result of becoming unhinged is to transform the status quo, to make the barely tolerable into the unacceptable. It’s a scream for us to look inward to our lives, it forces growth and change and to rebuild more authentic lives.  Losing control over ourselves via a Breakdown is an inconvenient and brutal means to listen to what we don’t want to hear.

**Breakdown: a sudden collapse in someone’s mental health

7 Responses

  1. MaryLou

    Hi Eileen,
    This is a wonderful article and so so true.
    Have experienced it myself and saw it many times over the years
    as a nurse and holistic practitioner.
    Thanks for continuing to share your pearls of wisdom!

    1. Eileen O'Grady
      Eileen O'Grady

      Thank you Marylou, from the rubble, comes growth, its been my experience too, but not what anybody wants to hear when in the middle of it. Happy New Year. Eileen

    2. Loved this piece! Totally true. In fact I would go so far to say that this is the MAIN way we get called to do something about our health or personal and work situations. Most of the time we simply hope all will go away and we won’t have to address what is staring us in the face. Eventually we have not choice but to attend. Thanks for sharing this!

  2. Nancy Sharp

    Eileen —
    I am so impressed with the schedule of programs you have for 2018. Very impressed. Good luck to you, your fellow faculty and your participants !!

  3. Diana

    This is so interesting and yes I have seen this happen. I love the idea of scheduling a weekly mini breakdown each week, would two a week be be too many I wonder…

  4. Yes, the whole body knows best. I’m grateful to have some symptoms from time to time. they help me to keep me in the moment and get beyond the tyranny of the organ in my head. What is that symptom really saying?

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