Today, I wanted to write about something that can truly inspire you to turn your attention to yourself. AWARENESS is a precious ability that within our nature as human beings. But, sadly, the world has turned into a place where we don't live. We survive. We have been raised to learn fast, to be competitive as EF! (sorry! lol), to wipe our tears and just keep going because crying is a waste of time. Specially us, women. We don’t allow ourselves to feel, we just push ourselves to resolve whatever challenge we may be facing. We overcome obstacles, but we never stop to actually acknowledge our emotions. We endure. After I lived the experience I’m about to tell you, it took me a while to rationalize the dangerous situation I experienced. I almost died and it took me a while to understand the real meaning of that. My first thought was “I need to get out of this darn hospital because I have kids and I am in Weight Loss Journey that I won’t quit!”. I did not allow the emotions to flow, I wanted to resolve and keep going. The most precious thing I got out of this tragic situation, is the re-activation of my awareness. To be fully present and to be an observer of my life, which is allowing me to stop surviving and live my life at its fullest. Now, let’s get into the story.
It was January 1st of 2020. At 20.00 hrs I was bathing my middle child when I saw the image of the bathtub blurry and then it was like my brain was copy-pasting that image everywhere I looked (pretty much like a computer with a virus).
Long story short, the brain scanner showed a DOUBLE CAROTID ARTERY DISSECTION. In simple words, the 2 carotid arteries we all have in the neck, broke into pieces (not really, gotta spice it up a little! LOL!).
My left one had 4 layers broken. And my right one had 3 layers broken (out of 5 layers). The doctors still cannot explain how is it that I'm alive and how is it that the last layer of the left artery didn't explode, because that one was supposed to kill me.
I guess the universe has a plan for all of us. Because after that, I took the conscious decision to become who I am today.
Now, WHAT WAS THE CAUSE OF THIS BRAIN STROKE? Doctors said it could be ANYTHING. But that's not an answer for me. So, for the last 3 years I've been reading medical studies and articles, and I've found quite a few linking emotional stress and even physical stress to spontaneous artery cervical dissection. You can read one of them by clicking here.
One thing I want to highlight is that studies shows that high blood pressure can be a RISK factor to suffer cervical artery dissection. In my case, at that time I was enjoying myself drinking way TOO MUCH champagne and Ramazzotti Spritz, which I know for a fact, altered my blood pressure. And I know this because of my symptoms. Every night, I had a glass of wine or 2 glasses of Champagne under the excuse that "it was my way to relax" and have a daily moment of connection with my husband. But also, every night and as a result of this constant alcohol consumption, I used to wake up feeling my arms and legs numb and suffering of hot flashes at the point that I went to my obgyn who got me tested to check if I was perimenopausal, which I was not.
Today, I strongly believe that alcohol cannot be normalized anymore as a way to RELAX. If we want to relax, we can take a walk, we can take a few deep breaths to activate our parasympathetic nervous system (also known as our relaxation and digestion state). Many people are suffering of different types of diseases, and the majority of doctors are treating those diseases with medications that are causing other ailments, when they all should be asking their patients the one and only basic question that will define the following steps in their treatments, and that question is “HOW ARE YOU”.
I am and I will always be very loud against alcohol consumption as a “relaxing” mechanism. It cannot be promoted and encouraged to be used "to cheer people up" anymore. That's a social custome, an expected pattern of behaviour. But we cannot rest in the excuse that society must change so we can change. Just because your friends drink heavy doesn't mean you have to. Everyone is free to do as they please. But you cannot become a slave and a victim of circumstances that can be changed. If that is your case, do what I did. I changed my circle of friends because it was affecting me. If we are going to talk about actions steps, this is a very important one to give if you want to see real changes in your life. Society's customs are very hard to change, but not ipossible and it starts with 1 single person at a time. And that person can be you.
On the other hand, when we are the ones who are not willing to quit drinking, we need to be mindful of being respectful with people who've decided to quit drinking. If you enjoy having drinks and you see someone who is not drinking anymore, be empathetic and think about how hard it is for that person to take that decision. There is pain in that person and if that person is your friend or family, the biggest act of love you can do towards them is to support them instead of questioning or attacking them. And I cannot finish this paragraph without asking you to turn your attention to yourself if you feel ANGER every time you hear someone saying “I don’t drink alcohol anymore”. Ask yourself, where is that anger coming from? Why do you feel like that? In my case, I felt anger one time but I will never forget it because it was a huge "Aha moment" for me when this person said "I don't drink alcohol". When I discovered why I felt such a rage, I realized I was angry with myself for not being capable to control my urge to drink. I felt like a damn prisoner of a liquid that had the power to regulate my entire humanity. And I felt insulted by people who didn’t drink, and I think a lot of people feels the same way, and that is because alcohol is our coping mechanism, so whoever dares to say that alcohol is bad, is actually messing with our deepest and most private emotions like pain, suffering, self-shame, trauma, etc., and so alcohol is like the lion tamer that keeps those emotions under control and has the power to appease them when they revolt.
Just think about how much you wait for that happy hour or the weekend barbecues with friends to share a few bottles of wine, only to feel that lethargic state that makes you believe that you are relaxed, but you’re actually not. Because the the truth is that your body (specially your brain) is getting dangerously and silently ill.
That was harsh, I know! And I am unapologetic about it, because this words can actually help someone to realize they deserve better in life. And I wish someone has said this to me 15 years ago.
Now, let’s get back to the main story. As I told you, I was extremely focus on my weight loss journey. So, I used to gym train 6 to 7 times a week. 2 hours daily in average. This, in theory, shouldn’t be something bad or dangerous for your health. But if we consider that I was binge drinking, extremely tired raising my 3 toddlers, sleeping less than 7 hours daily and not having a healthy nutrition, I was just creating a formula for disaster.
Emotional Stress + Physical Stress (Overexercise) + High Blood Pressure = Cervical Artery Dissection.
It took me 2 years to actually accept that the brain stroke I suffered was the result of my lifestyle. We refuse to believe that we are not conducting our lives correctly, simply because it’s too painful. To be able to accept that we are not ok, we need to face our demons. And that’s scary, and we fear we may not be able to bear all that pain.
I wanted to write this article telling you my experience and my thoughts about it for 2 reasons. First, to inspire you to start your personal growth towards a mindful and healthy lifestyle. And second, because I also want to help whoever may have mirrored herself in any part of this story.
So, I want to invite you to Subscribe to my Newsletters, because in June, 2023, I’m going to launch a FREE ONLINE COURSE called “FEED YOUR BRAIN TO CHANGE”. Is a 6-weeks course that will give you a basic tool kit with the actions steps you need to follow if you wish to swap your current habits into healthy habits. I have structured this course in a way that is going to be completely private for you. Not even I will be interacting with the participant, since instructions will be sent via automated email. I came up with this structure because I know how hard it is to start addressing this type of issues and I truly believe people don't get out of the vicious cycle because of feelings like shame and rejection that prevent them from seeking help. Starting alone IS A BIG START and it paves the way to a healthy, better and balanced lifestyle. More details will be sent in due course via newsletter, that's why you need to be subscribed!
Is important that I mention that I am not offering a psychological or psychiatric therapy, this will be a Course based on my knowledge and experience as a Health Coach, keeping all my recommendations and suggestion within the scope of my practice.
I hope you enjoyed your reading and it may have served of inspiration for you.
Loads of love!