I know about the body and mind connection but I was not prepared for what happened to me last week.
I recently felt called to make an appointment with a physio who specialises in pelvic floor dysfunction in relation to a few niggling complaints. In particular, I had experienced a return of mild urinary urgency and frequency, which I have not experienced in a long time.
Just to note here, many people with adrenal depletion battle with urinary/bladder issues and some are diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis (a need to pee all the time but there is no bladder infection present). Also, most people with adrenal depletion have pelvic floor issues – most usually a very tight pelvic floor (and even if you are one of those moms who pees when you jump on the trampoline that does not rule out tension in the pelvic floor!) The pelvic floor and lower back are related to how held and supported we feel by life and when we don’t experience this sense of security we hold ourselves versus feel held. Some might even call it being ‘uptight’!
So, to return to my story, when I met with the physio she immediately said “Tell me ALL your symptoms that you experience and have experienced” – a medical practitioner who wanted the whole picture. How refreshing?! She became visibly excited when I shared my history of adrenal fatigue, IBS, re-current UTIs (for about 6 years until 2012), urinary frequency/urgency, sleep issues, etc. She immediately told me they are all connected, which I know as we treat the body as a whole with the BodyTalk system. However, she then told me that to address the urinary frequency/urgency she would like to try skin rolling. What?!….. I know that everything is connected but how does skin rolling help? I was relieved that I would not be receiving an internal pelvic floor examination but was really not sure how skin rolling had joined the menu.
This is what she explained (in a nutshell): As recently as 2017 a new layer has been found within our skin tissue that forms part of the submucosa and is not a part of the fascia but rather a fluid-filled space containing collagen bundles found within and between tissues.
While researchers cannot be sure what this layer does it appears to play a protective role and is found around the gastrointestinal tract, our organs (including the bladder and urinary tract), around arteries and veins, around the lungs and even the fascia. Many of these expand organs and body parts expand and contract and this fluid-filled interstitial layer appears to somehow support the expansion and contraction.
Now, here’s the kicker. Perhaps you’ve heard how I explain that holding in life (controlling, holding it all together, holding the self to high expectations and generally armouring and adapting the self to be safe) results in parallel tension and holding in the body. My osteopath has pointed out how this is held in fascia and muscles but it also obviously impacts this interstitial layer and when this layer is impacted then the contraction and expansion of the organs and body parts that it surrounds is restricted.
So much can then be impacted – the bladder can’t empty properly, the gut has issues with peristalsis, the adrenals and kidneys are constricted, the liver is constricted, the lungs can’t expand sufficiently resulting in more superficial breath and less vitality, and so much more restriction resulting in impaired functioning. Which results in less energy and many other symptoms of adrenal fatigue.
Knowing this made loads of sense to me and I signed on the dotted line to allow her to do the skin rolling. This lifts the skin to loosen the ‘armouring’ and create more and a softer space underneath for interstitial tissue. There were places where I felt she was trying to rip the skin off me as it was so sore. In other places not so much. Then she got to my lower back and, immediately I felt huge anxiety flood through me as she released some deep emotion held in the lower back (this is where our adrenals and kidneys are and is linked to the feeling of being supported and safe in the world).
My immediate feeling afterwards was being incredible spacy and I felt like I was walking underwater. My body felt both very heavy and very light at the same time. I felt some mild nausea as well. There was no doubt that things had been stirred up. I was yet to learn how much.
Over time I became more and more anxious and wired and realised I had to create space for what was coming up so I did that later in the week after feeling some deep anxiety and fear that I recognised from childhood. I created a space and felt into it, unearthing an awareness that I have not been able to reach fully through therapy.
It had so many layers and the long and short of it was a fear of being abandoned if I showed myself to the world in my full power and truth (i.e. being unapologetically me – which I stopped doing as a child as my father, in particular, felt threatened by this and would shut down). I realised that I actually, on a deep, unconscious level believed that I had killed my father because I started to shine my light and power into the world then (he died when I was a young adult – “the ultimate abandonment”). I shut down again after that without realising why and it’s taken years to be courageous enough to live my truth and release my holding and adapted self (partly to stop feeling so exhausted but also because it is the birthright of us all to stand in our truth). Now I know why it has been so difficult, as a fear of abandonment is a deep, primal saboteur for so many. This realisation and shift was like lifting a huge burden (and armouring!) off of me and I promptly booked my next skin rolling session.
I cannot emphasise enough how important the body and mind connection is, in so many cases, to heal adrenal depletion, systemic inflammation, autoimmune issues and more related to chronic exhaustion. There are many ways to do this and just starting with massage or seeing an osteopath will work with the physical holding in your body to open you up to flow and healing. However, your journey will be a lot easier if you see someone to support you with the psychological stuff that is related to that holding so you can process and release faster and easier (and feel contained with the emotions in a way that you likely did not experience as a child).
With this sharing I wish to reveal what is possible in the realms of healing and treatment – beyond supplements and even the right foods and a gut repair (which are also useful). So if this post got under your skin a bit may it perhaps tweak some of your armour….