I was on my way to Colombia, when I felt my first cramp in my neck. I just came from the refugee camp in Greece and carried heaps of impressions with me. I was mentally weak at this point and I had to deal with anxiety. The trip to Colombia came perfectly to clear my mind and recharge my batteries for the new job I was about to start after the trip.
With each day of travel, the pain in my throat expanded slightly. First on the shoulders and then on the upper back. At the time, I was reluctant to take pain seriously. Pain come and go, that was my motto. I explained the stiffening with my travel backpack I had to carry all the time.
Three weeks later, I landed in snowy Switzerland and could barely stand upright. My neck was now so stiffened that every movement felt like a lock stitch in the back. When I could barely sit at the desk, I finally dragged myself to the acupuncture. The acupuncturist has explained the reason for my stiffening would be the cold I took home from Greece, and after the sixth session with needles sown all over my body, he blamed it on the stress level I had at the office.
It was now spring and neither yoga nor acupuncture helped. Meanwhile, I jumped between my studies, my new job and the preparation of a dance competition. Whenever I had some time to breath I rolled around on a tennis ball or went to a professional massage.
Until I woke up one day and asked myself, do I still have neck pain or have I become so used to it that I don’t feel it anymore? My throat, neck and back had loosened. Finally.
The story could now end, but actually, it just began. Winter came. The same game started again. First the cramps in the throat, then the neck and finally the entire back. But this time I recognized a pattern with my pain.
I have been suffering from winter depression for about five years now and as soon as my psyche goes downhill the cramps show up. On stressed and especially unhappy days I can hardly walk in pain. I recognized my pain as a call for help of my body.
It is how anxiety shows up. Sometimes every day, sometimes only once a month. My throat closes up. I can barely breathe and then my neck starts to get stiff until my full back is in pain. I used to push away and suppressed my emotional depths including pain throughout the years. I never told someone what I actually think about my pain attacks or my anxiety. I hate to say it, cause everybody has it.
Since I try to follow my heart more often, the cramps have resolved. In emotional conflicts, existential worries or other extreme situations, my throat cramps come bac every now and then. But it’s different now. I don’t ignore it anymore. My body talks and I learned its language.
Meanwhile, I learned more about mental illness. I also learned about the Chakras and that my fifth Chakra, Vissudha which is the throat Chakra very sensitive is. I know that it starts to hurt when I can’t express myself or when I’m in fear of rejection and obligations. And suddenly everything makes sense to me. All the pain that I have been through was a wake up call and I’m so thankful to now know, when it’s time to listen to my body.
The most important thing, though, is that I know how to handle it. That I do not ignore when my body talks to me and that being happy, is so existential for our health. There is no doctor in this world that can fix mental illness beside yourself.
If you deal with something similar, there is a nice documentary on Netflix called Heal that talks more about the topic. I also listen better to my body since I’m practicing meditation and visit Reiki (energy healing) sessions. If you have or need any advice, please let me know.