Ohhh goodness…this week has brought on another prescription claim that’s been rejected twice, medical bills overflowing on my desk, and fainting in my doctor’s office yesterday. The stress of dealing with my illness are never-ending – which means more flair ups – so I’m escaping to the Happiest Place On Earth and some good ocean time this weekend just to get away from it all.
Sociologist Brené Brown talked about this idea of “escaping” in her TED Talks video. She said most of us numb the pain and the stress to escape from feeling it. Unfortunately, we can’t just numb the bad stuff, so we have to numb everything because we don’t want to make ourselves vulnerable to fear, to pain, to failure, to illness.
Okay, I’m definitely guilty of the numbing thing – I don’t want to feel physical pain, so I take prescription drugs – I don’t want to feel sadness, so I drink away my sorrows – I don’t want to be a disappointment, so I hide my difficulties from those I love – I don’t want to feel heartache, so I stay alone in my little apartment…I escape from my reality most days, it’s true. But especially in coping with my illness, I tend to numb myself because it is just too difficult to face every day knowing that I’ll be sick, and battling this illness, medical bills and insurance companies, for the rest of my life.
And so my illness starts controlling my life. Because I try to escape from the pain and stress of every day, I don’t notice the little things that are filled with joy, with love, with fulfillment, with support. For instance, today was a wake-up when I was chugging through the endless emails at work and one of my clients sent an email that said she had looked up my name up in the dictionary and found this:
Lauren Marchi –adjective. exceeding ordinary human power, achievement, experience, etc.: a Lauren Marchi effort.
This almost brought tears to my eyes – I realized that numbing myself to the daily difficulties would only numb me from these daily successes.
Brown says the way we stop the numbing process is to fully embrace vulnerability. We have to allow ourselves to be vulnerable to all the feelings and experiences, good or bad, instead of numbing ourselves to the things that are difficult to face. Being vulnerable means to have the courage to be imperfect, the compassion to love and be kind to ourselves, and the willingness to let go of who we think we are supposed to be. Because vulnerability can also be the birthplace of joy, creativity, love, support, fulfillment.
I’m going to take this with me to SoCal this weekend – instead of an escape from reality, I want to practice my vulnerability…and what better people to start with than my family.