Body-Mind Connections: Working Together to Heal
A guest post by Danielle Johnson
In 2019, at the age of 24, I felt that I had everything I ever dreamed of. I started my career as a teacher, bought a house and was about to marry my high school sweetheart. I was loving life and felt I was right where I needed to be. My soon-to-be husband and I bought a house that May, and we got to see all of the exciting steps of our house being built and put together. After eight years together, we were finally getting married, and I was so excited! I knew that even with all that stress, I was about to start the best chapter of my life.
Our wedding day was the beginning of November, and I kept thinking about how my life was going to change after that day. It was a big deal for me to leave my childhood home and move into a new one without taking my family with me. I was beyond anxious, but that morning, I woke up and felt at ease, and I knew that was where I needed to be. My wedding day was one of the best days of my life, and one of the last days that I remember being pain-free.
After our wedding, we had a 6 a.m. flight. I remember waking up being so excited, but I felt an uncomfortable feeling in my pelvic floor. I thought that I was developing a urinary tract infection (UTI) because it had a burn and uncomfortable feeling to it. The pain was unbearable. I found an urgent care to treat what I thought was a UTI, but my results came back negative. They thought it could be a yeast infection and recommended some over the counter medication. I started the meds, but throughout my honeymoon, I was in the worst pain I’ve ever felt. Four days later, and still not knowing what was wrong, I was in a full-blown panic.
When I got back to Tucson, I called my OB/GYN and made an appointment right away. At the appointment, the doctor diagnosed me with a yeast infection. She prescribed medication, but as the days went on, I still wasn’t feeling better. Deep down, I had a feeling this wasn’t just a yeast infection.
I would come home and just cry. The only thing that made me feel better was sleep, so that’s all I would do - that was the only time I didn’t feel the pain.
I went back to the doctor, and she prescribed me more meds. But after another week, they still didn’t work. I wanted a second opinion, so I got in with another OB/GYN. After she assessed me, she told me, “drink some wine and relax. I don’t see anything wrong with you.” I remember getting in my car and bawling my eyes out, thinking to myself that I was going crazy. I was living my worst nightmare. I was in so much pain and had so much anxiety.
I went back to the first doctor, and she said I most likely had pudendal neuralgia, which is a nerve being compressed between my thigh and pelvic floor. It causes pain 24/7 and it was excruciating. She prescribed me pain medicine - which didn’t work - and referred me to a physical therapist. Being in severe pain for two months, I started to think dark thoughts, even contemplating suicide.
I started PT with a regular physical therapist, and after she got to know me, she referred me to a different PT who did acupuncture. At this point, acupuncture was the only treatment I was receiving for my pain. It gave me hope because it provided some relief, but it did not eliminate the pain.
In February, I had an appointment with my primary doctor. I hadn’t talked to her about my pelvic pain, so I made sure to come to her with a lot of notes about what was going on. I planned on asking her for anxiety medication, as well, to help regain some mental stability and ease the thoughts of suicide that were tormenting me. When I explained to her everything that was going on, she told me she didn’t want to medicate me and gave me a card. She told me to call the number on this card because this person could help me. I read the card and the name on it was Sylvia Boyed.
When I first met Sylvia, she was so calm. I remember feeling safe, and it was the first time I felt that someone was listening to me. As we were talking, I was wondering how she was going to treat me since I didn’t see any medical tools around. It wasn’t a medical office, and it was totally different from anything I was used to. She explained that this would be a different kind of process to fix the pain my body was in, and that I needed to believe in it and be patient.
After talking with me at length, she had me lay on the table to begin treatment. I knew by the look on her face as we began that she believed me and knew that I was in pain. Her treatment was gentle. She simply held parts of my body and used subtle techniques to shift & adjust my soft tissue & organs. I felt better after my first appointment.
I’ve been on my journey with Sylvia for about 2 ½ years, and I have learned that the mind and body are connected & you cannot heal one with out the other. Her treatment emphasizes how the body’s energy affects the emotional dimension of the person’s healing. She gives me the opportunity to talk at each visit, sometimes about big emotional problems, and this leads to an opportunity to grow as a whole person within the context of physically healing my body. Sylvia’s approach to integrating physical, emotional and mental treatment techniques has been key to my healing.
As I think back, I can identify several major breakthroughs in my journey that led to my total mind-body healing.
I accepted the fact that I would never be my old self again. Pain changes you, but can make you a stronger person. As part of my healing experience, Sylvia helped open my eyes and understand that I couldn’t go through this and be the same person that I was before.
I stopped comparing myself to others. In the midst of my worst pain, I would look at social media and envy other people because they were not suffering and looked so happy. I found it healthy to get off certain social media sites, and once I did this, it was another step forward.
I got control of my drinking. Alcohol made my pain less and it was one of the only times my pain would go away, but I never realized how anxious alcohol made me. I gave it up for a period of time, and I found myself less anxious and made more progress in my healing. I realized I had the strength within myself to cope & made the decision to stop using alcohol as a form of self-medication to cope with my pain.
I learned to be kinder to myself. The way you speak to yourself matters! I had been stuck in a loop of negative and destructive self-talk. When I finally started accepting that this was a new me, I changed my mindset and started speaking to myself in a positive way. By shifting to telling myself positive, loving messages, my healing accelerated.
As I continue this journey, I keep growing and feeling better after each session with Sylvia. I have learned that the overall healing process involves not only consistency and showing up, but your mind and body have to work together get to a place where your pain doesn’t take over your life. I have no pain anymore, only occasional aches that Sylvia continues to help with. Allowing myself to accept Sylvia’s treatments with complete openness, even without fully understanding it, has resulted in significant growth & healing for me. I put my trust in Sylvia and she helped me find myself again. I’m confident she can do the same for you.