During the aftermath of the poisoning, I was seeing an environmental specialist (a doctor who was helping me to determine what damage I encountered from the poisoning and how I could change my environment while detoxing to get better.) I found myself so completely over-whelmed during that time that it was adding to my problems until he broke it down into an analogy. (In case you haven’t noticed, I think almost completely in terms of analogies.) He told me to imagine that my body was a big barrel (Of course, my immediate reaction was “Hey…let’s go with a slightly smaller than average barrel alright doc?!”) In this barrel, I place all the things that weigh on my body: chemical exposure like pesticides, chemicals in food, pollution, and the chemicals from the poisoning…stressors like the financial strain of paying out of pocket for this treatment, the unknown of whether or not I would be able to get back to a place in my health that I could be satisfied with, the worry about the impact of my illness on my small children and on my marriage, and the lawsuit that we were in the middle of over this entire debacle…allergies and other physical contributors like my reduced immune function and the fact that I was suddenly allergic to most of my diet (which meant that every time I ate something, I was weakening my body.)
Continuing with the barrel analogy, my doctor told me that my body is resilient. I take on a lot of these stressors every day in stride…they are no big deal…my barrel can hold them…until my barrel gets full. Once the barrel is full, it over-flows and that is when symptoms begin to get noticed. So part of the treatment for me was to identify my barrel-fillers and try to eliminate as many of them as possible so that my barrel can be at a healthy amount of fullness and I could reduce some of my symptoms.
Ok. That is when I finally was tracking with him and was eager to get to work with identifying my stressors…until I actually had to endure it. Many expensive medical tests and hours upon hours of painful allergy testing (not like you normally see at an allergist…this was getting a small injection of a item and seeing how bad the reaction is and continuing to lower the amount of the item until we could encounter the dosage that did not result in an allergic reaction.) I literally spent 10 hour days throughout that summer getting injections every 10 minutes for the entire 10 hours! Then, I would go home and rid my house of every food item that contained these allergic-reaction-causing foods and I would avoid them for two years or more depending on the severity of the item. Fun, no?
The thing is…it worked. Once I started eating primarily organic foods, eliminating as many allergens as possible, and following his instructions to begin the process of detoxifying my body (by the way, I can not recommend dry heat sauna enough!) I started to feel better. I started getting my quality of life back (even though I chaffed against all of the restrictions, I was beginning to feel human again.) On occasion, I would get lax with the restrictions and it would appear through symptoms…anything from irritability and a return to my anger to pneumonia to more pronounced symptoms of my brain damage (primarily forgetfulness and clumsiness.)
So, you’re probably wondering why Bekah is talking about barrels and sauna and chemicals? Well, despite seeing myself as an 8-foot-tall-bullet-proof-ninja, I was really a stressed out, broken and sick mother of two little ones who was battling depression and bitterness and anger. As long as my barrel was over-flowing, I really was not much good to anyone: I resented my children for needing me, I had emotionally abandoned my husband because I wanted to be numb (the pain seemed like too much to carry) and I was really angry with God…so that left me alone with just me and my stupid over-flowing barrel. But I healed…it was slow and it took years to occur but it happened. I NEVER want to go through it again, but now that I’m on the other side of it, I wouldn’t necessarily un-do it because I learned some things that I simply would not have had access to otherwise: I learned that God can handle whatever I dish out…it doesn’t overwhelm him. I learned that my Stanton Billy is a giant among men…really, this man continues to show me that he is made of some of God’s finest stuff! I learned that children are resilient and while those early years are very formative, they don’t always remember all of it…they don’t seem to remember Mommy wanting to be away from them, being irritable, and being so exhausted that I would lay down on the floor while they were playing and just fall asleep. Finally, I learned that we are humans and until we see heaven, we are stuck existing in the barrel that we have so we should really watch how full we allow those barrels to get. Trust me, you can’t be yourself when you are over-flowing.
So how are you doing with this? How full is your barrel? What could you be doing to reduce your barrel’s contents? Are you the person that you want to be? If your answer is no, is it followed by an explanation of not enough time or energy or resources or too many demands? If so, I think your barrel is too full.
Friends, my prayer today is that we would all come to grips with the fact that we are humans…and with that comes frailty, brokenness, and limitations. When we don’t accept that fact, we over-fill our barrels…and we are replacing God with our own abilities. My prayer today is that we will put God in the position that he deserves in our lives and that we would take care of ourselves so that we can bring him praise and have the margin to love others well. Much love friends,