Living with Hypermobility and Deficient Posture Syndromes

I have often written about how to cope with these things and how to take effective action to reduce pain and improve your body’s efficiency. 

I have never written about what it’s like to actually live with these monsters on your shoulder day in day out. Having the pressures of modern life – traffic, work, noise you can’t control, love quarrels, family discussions, sex cravings, differences at work – when all along you know a drop might tilt your glass and take away your ability to very literally take the next step. Walking step I mean.

I work with maths. It has the power to take my brain away from any pain. I dealt with my Father’s one month agony until his passing by throwing myself into maths wholeheartedly, 12 hours a day, which was all the waking time outside his visiting hours.

I do maths for a living now. It’s like having a big lego box to play with. And I do it well. So I often have people around me asking for direction, needing me to give them reassurance and spoon-feed them the next step. My work involves a lot of pressure. And a lot of travel. And I mostly like that.

But with these annoying syndromes, it means my brain requires more “space” than others to coordinate my muscles. And sometimes it goes into over-run when too many things pile up and it has not had time to recuperate. And it just gets overwhelmed. So overwhelmed it switches off my ability to walk. Or gives me extreme dizziness. And all I can do is lie down and hope it will pass. Anytime anywhere. And sometimes with a good rest it all goes away. And sometimes a little meditation is all that’s needed. Sometimes not. Sometimes there is some obstacle in my posture that makes the noise not go away. I have had a full month of dizziness and another of headache with no idea what to do to stop it. Then I have to control my fear and think through the causes that might be making the obstacle. It is often something in myjaw alignment  but sometimes it is some tight muscle for example. Then I need to find someone to help – a dentist, an osteopath, a massage therapist, normally the first. While all this is happening, there are still 15 people at my door asking for this and that. My nephew is still over-eating. My mother is still needing help with this and that. And I must just retreat. I have no other choice. And my boss gets upset. And I have to sit and watch this from my bed and just apologise and feel like shit. And if all this happens during the many months I live alone in London, then I’ll have to go through all that without even a person to bring me a cup of tea. And that’s so scary.

I have been known to be driving and not manage to walk when I get out of the car. To have some strong jaw or back click and just feel my muscle control switch off entirely. It happens because the click changes the relative position of my body and all of a sudden the brain has no idea where anything went and just goes “fuck this” and switches me off. And I never know when it’s going to happen. And as I travel the world doing my presentations that I do and going from airport to airport, I know this might happen any moment. And I have to manage the fear that it brings. Cos I don’t want this thing to dictate my life! More than it does! Cos I want to cycle and climb mountains and do healthy strong things too! And it feels alive and liberating when I do.

Lately I haven’t been managing to cope. I can’t quite manage the fear. I feel anxiety and panic over nothing. Shortness of breath. This started since I found out I needed an operation for something unrelated (?). My brain being more wired up than usual as regards the condition of my body (due to my syndromes) felt the invasion of the cut even if my consciousness registered no pain. Being told the option was between cut and risk of cancer also added to the feeling that I have no control. As no one does. But the illusion of control was what kept time going all my life. Hence the maths.

And so now I find myself entering panic states over nothing. Feeling my throat compress and shortness of breath, inability to sleep. I can still control it by saying “Ana, it’s just fear, it’s not real”, but the shortness of breath stays. I don’t know how to get myself back. And all along still 15 people outside my door ask for help with maths and think it’s all very very important. And my brain would much rather listen to them than face the fear of void. And has me ploughing along despite all the spites. And that doesn’t work.

And on top of it all, every so often I have to deal with someone thinking I’m weak, or vulnerable, or some physical therapist thinking they know so much more about this than I do, when they know so little. What they do not realise is that I have been dealing with sides of this for 15 years! Do you know how strong I’ve had to be to reach where I’ve reached with this Aquiles heal?! I’m just tired. Been doing it alone far too long.

Now that I’ve said all that, and aligning all this left to right has helped, I will go do some micro-cosmic orbit meditation and hope for the best.

Three dimensions of healing and health

We exist in three dimensions: the body, the mind and the soul. They are not independent, but instead are one same structure, with manifestations along the three dimensions. The correspondence is precise.

That is why you often see people in pain who are also perturbed in their emotions that day. Or people who live in negative thoughts and develop diseases to go with it.

I heard of a man who was in a concentration camp in the II World War. In his old age he has cancer and doctors are examining to see whether it is pancreatic or liver. Liver is the area of forgiveness (or lack thereof). Pancreas is the area of anger. How could he have forgiven? How could he have found peace after that? But because he hasn’t, the emotion gets stored in an area of the inconsciente so the brain doesn’t have to deal with it and can keep us functional. The inconsciente is the body. The area for that type of emotion is the liver.

For breasts it’s goals and self-pride. For womb it’s femininity. The cervix is associated with the heart. Cervix problems mean there is likely a dissociation between sensuality and feminine emotion and love. Resonate with our day-in-age of disengagement? And the epidemia that is going about of cervix HPV. 80% of women get HPV once in their lives and of course similar proportions of men, except they can’t die from it, women can.

The shoulders are burdens. The lower back is sadness. The heart is impatience and anxiety. The knees and legs are the foundation of the being. The left side overall your relationship with yourself, the right your relationship with the world.

The issues with the body appear as the emotions appear or vice-versa, chicken and egg, because they are manifestations of the same reality, a closed system.

And so, in order to get rid of the problem and heal, you can do it from any of the three angles, or all of them at once. Combining massage and meditation, understanding the emotional conditions that brought about your illness. What is your body trying to tell you? What are you doing / denying / feeling that is hurting it? 

If you take just a material approach to it, you miss out on handling the reasons that brought about the disease. Areas of the body that store negative emotions do not get adequately fed of blood and chi and energy, your brain just can’t reach them the same, hence disease arriving. If you cut out that part of your body, fine, but your brain still can’t get to it. And often cure is temporary.

If you just take a psychological approach to healing, you often never truly heal either. Psychotherapy is awesome to get things started, but it itself admits it can’t reach the inconsciente, except sporadically. It can’t because inconsciente emotions are stored in the body and the brain is good with ignoring them. NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) is a bit better. It combines words with tapping specific Accupuncture points in the body and therefore you can sometimes get a deeper response. I once healed a psychological trauma with a self-back massage. I massaged the muscle that stored the memories of my father’s death and my divorce. Just behind the pancreas it stored huge anger (death of loved ones does bring about anger, I’m afraid); a bit lower, huge sadness. I massaged the whole lower left side of my back, from ribs to hips, from spine to end of me, until every naught was gone, as deep as I could go. At times I was overwhelmed with emotion that I had to leave the area and return to it later. But I didn’t give up. After that, my boyfriend of 4.5 years could get as angry with me as he wanted, I never had these muscles spasm again, like they used to at the very start of every fight. And I started managing to stand up to him so much more. Cos I wasn’t afraid of losing him no more. Cos the emotional wound of the death of my loved ones was no longer a scar in my body. I healed body and soul and spirit. With a deep self-massage. The only true way to heal, in all three dimensions.

So if you are sick or in pain, stop, listen, analyse, hear about body theories (Taoism, body reading, chakra healing, shamanism). Do meditation, peace yourself down, understand the body map against your personal history, understand which emotional wounds you avoided or handled wrong, how your body and soul and emotions need changing. By all means visit the doctor and discover which options he has for you too. But don’t approach it unidirectionally, it’s a three dimensional system.

The quest for peace

I think the quest for peace is the point of life. And if at times we do manage to find it, deep within ourselves or deep within a hug, and we do manage to keep it, peace is often interrupted by times of profound disturbance. I think disturbance happens when we have to traverse yet another door in the path to our self development. Therefore, neither should we search for disturbance nor should we deny it. We should just embrace the flow and let it run its natural course and teach us what we must until we reach peace all over again, a better peace, a deeper peace.

My 42. Vibes. God. And what we are doing here.

I believe in God. Because I believe in vibes. I believe there are constantly two choices for each of us: love or fear. Love is the energy of all good things (and good vibes) – trust, optimism, happiness. Love believes in the best in us and others and the future. Love expands our chest, lets us take in more air, cleans our cells and leaves them ready for come what may.  Then there’s fear, contracting, conniving, expecting the worst from the Universe and from people around us, depriving oxygen from come what may, fear is the basis for ‘us versus them’, fear takes on weapons and engages war. Want to kill your love affair? Let fear creep in. It kills it within days. 

When we choose love, love for ourselves too, the whole universe conspires to make us right. When we act on fear, likewise. It’s like the yin and yang, betting on God or the Devil, light or darkness, lightness or burden, life or death.

I think each moment of our lives that we act based on love and optimism and we believe in ourselves and a better world with all our hearts, we inspire the same good vibes in those around us. We exude light and people want more of that and good things come to us. Fearful people can’t stand the light of that and walk away to their dark holes or they maybe start wondering if maybe there is not a better way and start taking their fearful steps towards the sun, when they’re ready.

I believe that our role in life is to bring ourselves closer and closer to a space in the sun. One that works for our love lives and professional lives and our role as citizens and the feeling we get deep inside our souls when we go to bed. I think the more we do and feel this, the more positive vibes live in us and around us. And the closer we come to God.

I believe in the persistence of the soul after death. Those 21 Grams (watch the Sean Penn movie). I believe our soul cares only about love and fear and cares nothing about our other earthly affairs. 

I believe God is the congregation of all good vibes in the world. Therefore omnipresent and omniscient because it is boundless. Good vibes and very evolved souls understand the Universe as one entity, are devoid of ego and vanity, when they come together they mix in an entity of pure love and light and make 1. What we as humans came to call God and in our lame understanding imagine in the image of us. Which “he” is, because perfect love is attainable to our souls as we progress through our path of self-development from fear to love throughout the millennia. As we progress, the limits between us and the universe dissolve, as ego dissolves, and we become pure light that can unite with the rest of God. And until we reach there, we can help those more fearful than us also progress towards the light.

I believe God wanted nothing more for us than for us to willingly grow into him and become part of him. Hence the idea of us being in “His” image. 

I believe “He” created humanity and creation as a way to allow the universe to converge to him, as a way to transform fear into love, minus into plus, in the whole universe. How do you create matter from vibes? By compressing it, says Einstein (E=mc^2, any small amount of matter contains a very large amount of energy). Nothing gets created, all gets transformed. As we, in matter form, evolve from minus to plus, from fear to love, we cleanse an awful lot of vibes, so it’s all very efficient really.

And that’s my 42, my answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything.

Girls like money. Right. Take a look at yourself

It’s been my experience that the more well off I get the more men want to marry me. I want to think it’s not that greedy thing guys see in girls.

– In a time where so many people struggle, including guys, meeting someone who doesn’t is refreshing and surprising.

– I am seen as providing access to a life they can’t get to otherwise, with any travel anytime and all the meals one fancies.

– Guys like girls who heighten their social status. Showing off a girl who is almost as pretty as the professionally pretty girls but can also talk equal to equal with just about anyone sorta does that.

– When so many girls search for emotional harbours, on comes Ana wanting to exploit the world full of independence. Bit scary, but exciting stuff.

So maybe that’s why so many men resent not having a car that attracts girls. Because they’d be attracted by a girl with a big car too!

Personally a man’s earthly possessions have never done much to get me ticking. Nor have their looks. It’s a combination of things – their professionalism counts, but their ability to look into my eyes does too, extensive hugs, listen and talking, open-mindness, lightness of heart, liking of cycling and hiking, laughter, simplicity of ways, and the depths we can reach in our intimacy, all that does it for me lots more. And yet I do like the idea of a man who can keep up with me financially, without burdening either of us. 

Warm pebble beaches, the power of now and the importance of self-massage

Yesterday I was at a beach with warm pebble from the sun like Brighton but gorgeous in every way except the pebbles.

Some people were lying on 12 euro chairs, some were reading a book, most were chatting. Great though books are, and I do love them, they do take your thoughts away to a place that only exists in your head, which is a shame when you’re in a place like this, that is probably more gorgeous than the ones in your book. Sometimes I find it a shame the way people search for mental stimulation rather than mental relaxation, myself often included…

 I lied there and felt a pebble right against the back of my head. I picked it up and it started, a full day of self-massage with warm pebbles: head, neck, shoulders and lower back, even a bit of sacrum. Nobody at the beach seemed to mind 🙂 Now my back is sooo happy and my headaches are nowhere to be found.

Self-massage is one of the most precious and powerful resources we have. Whether you have chronic pain or just a stiff neck every so often. No one knows our body like we do, no masseur can get to those naughts like we can and none will do it quite like we need it. My trick is to search for the point that hurts the most and declare war. Gently of course. And allow for anything that wants to click or readjust on its own to just do so, for example your foot may want to be in a different position now, don’t overfocus on the massage, let your foot go, give yourself any stretch your body asks for, anywhere else in the body, feel your whole body enjoy the relaxation you’re bringing to your point of stress. Experience your body as a fully connected organism.

In meditation, they tell you to focus on your breath as you empty your mind of thoughts, but they say you can focus on anything really. For me, self-massage is a form of meditation. You can’t think of anything else but what you’re feeling. And noticing what you’re feeling, not what you’re thinking, is a great way to let the now envelop you and to find your inner peace. My take on mindfulness for the day.

But you don’t need a warm pebble beach for self-massage, great resource though it is. On the lift to work I found a corner that is just perfect to reach my upper back. On the lift of the subway I found an amazing corner that reaches the sacro-iliac joint like nothing else. Be creative. Use your environment.

Today I feel like singing

“I’m coming home, I’ve done my time, and now I gotta know what is and isn’t mine, I’m really still in prison, and my love she holds the key, a simple yellow ribbon is what I need to set me free, I wrote and told her please ‘tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree, it’s been three long years, do you still want me’ […] I can’t believe what I see, a hundred yellow ribbons round the old oak tree”, Frank Sinatra. Count down to go home. Hope do find 100 yellow ribbons, one for each friend who is happy to have me back. I’m all smiles already.

A personal account of (im/e)migration

I’m an immigrant in the UK. Some might call it ex-pat cos I don’t struggle. The point is I’m away from home. And have been for 11 years. 

Emigration was not the plan. I came to study abroad for a while, have the big adventure. But the here and the now have so many innercia points holding you back. Especially when, when studies finish, you have a job here you like better and pays better than the one waiting back home.

But here I am a foreigner. Not by choice of others. Just my skin doesn’t resonate here. Everything is foreign to me: from the look of the houses, the choice of carpets, the love of alcohol, the flowery dresses, the breakfast, the flirt style, the sense of sensuality, the sense of humour, everything is not natural to me. And so all the time I must find an inner comfort despite all the things around me that, pretty tho they are, are not natural to me. It’s tiring.

When I go home, everything makes sense, nothing needs explaining. It’s like the exchange of my skin cells with the environment is a take and receive of the same chemistry stuff. I don’t think everything is pretty there, but even the less pretty I understand, a bit of lack of taste from the 80s explain that building just like my mother used to have puffed up hair. I know why the lady in the caffe looks like she has some old sadness in her eyes. Why the man makes loud jokes. Why that couple walks like they own the world from their house to a hundred metres each way. How the ocean has sounded that way from the beginning of times. And what weather to expect at the beach when it’s warm in town. And I get the jokes. And the poetry. And the heart moving songs. And the modesty. And I just rest.

I am finally going home on Wednesday. I’m here now in my favourite London caffe thinking that I just have to wait a little longer to feel immersed. Immersed in a mess that is all mine. Ugly here and there but mine. Filled with people who will be angry with me and love me immensely with the same profusion. And so many of them. People whom I have known my whole life. People who have been friends for generations. Made of the fabric that I get!

I deserve that already.

Accepting imperfection

When I was about 14 years old, I discovered nothing was black and white, not my parents, not school, not me. “Grey” was one of the hardest concepts I have ever had to learn. Nothing’s all good nor all bad. We are all all the time a shade of grey in search of improvement.

Milan Kundera in his unforgettable “Unbearable lightness of being” put it nicely. To deprive the memory of a person of his bad traits is to disrespect him. We are all white and black mixed and the unique manner each of us balances that imperfection is what makes our core. The way we embrace ourselves and try or fail to make the most of us is what makes us us.

A Ted Talk the other day said how boys are brought up to take risks whilst girls are brought up to be perfect. And the expectation of perfection makes us give up in front of difficult tasks where boys take difficult tasks as a challenge that entices them. Expectation of perfection is probably what makes us too stuck in intolerance and probably what made Thatcher and Merkel such fowel leaders.

Once in a sermon my favourite priest spoke of forgiveness. Forgiveness of ourselves and forgiveness of others. Being able to forgive ourselves is key to self-improvement. Being able to forgive others is key to love.

I have trouble forgiving others. I tend to take the hurt the first time people hurt me and just give up on them. Something deep inside me breaks and I struggle to rebuild anything after that. I tend to slowly but surely cut them out of my life. But the hurt is no better friend than the friend him/herself so I’m the one loosing in the end.

This is of course wrong. None of us are perfect and innevitably everyone will one day let us down. We must be willing to discuss it, to expose ourselves and our emotions, to reach out, to complain if need be, to give people a chance to do better by us, or not, accept them with their divergences and love their convergences anyway, have the humility to understand our ways are not the only good ways, and have the love to love other people’s greyness like we hope anyone out there will love ours.

And if our friends can’t be bothered to hear our point of view, so be it, at least we didn’t give up without a fight. Happiness is worth fighting for.

I’m trying to learn this now. Again.

Faithfulness is overrated

I’m a woman. And I’m faithful. But I think faithfulness is overrated.

My grandmother would now be 100 years. My grandfather was a butcher. And was unfaithful. Those were the days back then. As a butcher he had tons of female clients with a lot of time in their hands and he was a handsome man. Grannie suffered horribly on account of this. When her husband passed away, my mother, who was then 14, fell ill with symptoms similar to his. It was the sadness. So her evil aunt called her to one side and told her all about her father’s imperfections. Mum was shocked. And turned into a woman having to reconcile the image of the unfaithful man with the loving father and husband that he had been. For her, the latter mattered more. She later had to make decisions about her own marriage. Dad was not an unfaithful man by tendency, but wouldn’t say no to a dish well set. He would now be, God, he would now be 85 and those were the times. Mum never minded too much. She didn’t applaud of course, she was sad for a while, but she went over things.

Of course, in this day and age, husband of mine who leaves my bed to see another woman and then returns to my bed is in trouble lest I find out. Personally, I find the behaviour promiscuous and I do not like promiscuosness in any of the genders. Things have to have class and respect and a heart. And womanisers for the sake of it deserve to be treated for the object they are.

But at times we must be sensible. When I was married, my husband went through long term unemployment. Then he found a great job in Mexico, which is on the other side of the Atlantic from me. I decided I couldn’t cut his chances to grow as a man. And I embraced the certainty that he would, sooner or later, despite any promises, at a point be unfaithful. I embraced that as part of my decision. I was never jealous. As long as he treated me and only me with all his love.

Thing is, we can’t want irreconcilable things. We must embrace the consequences of our own decisions with adulthood.

There are marriages out there with years and years without sex. And one of the partners, often the one denying the sex, has the nerve to be jealous! That is not love, that is possessiveness and pride and desire for power!

There are marriages out there that are an emotional desert. Where people are there for the sake of the children because from their spouse comes no more “enoughness”. And the spouses know it, if only they took the time to notice. Emotional deserts are created by two people and can be fixed by two people. With love and attention. But people let it drag and then wonder why all of a sudden their marriage is a triangle. Marriage is about looking after the needs of the other as well as ours. It is not about permanent complaining. It is not about not noticing our partner because we are too busy. Even if we are too busy trying to achieve the objectives we think are important for the family, like a career or minding the children. Minding your spouse is important for your family too. One day someone passes below his or her nose and then society points an angry finger at the unfaithful one. But how did he or she get to that? How many silences did he or she have to sleep with to feel so alone? Is that fair on anyone? We all just have one life and one life is all we have to be happy in!

I know, the complaining and the emotional deserts did not appear out of the blue, they came from a place of emotional pain that we can not get over. I remember looking at my husband, knowing he was saying he loved me, knowing he loved me, and still just seeing pain. The pain of 3 years of long distance marriage I no longer knew how to surmount. But, as a divorced woman myself, I can surely say, pain is a nasty little thing, if you don’t make an effort to get over it, it will steal everyone you love and, trust me when I say, it has nothing at all to give to you, it is there just to take.

So yes, do whatever mourning you need to for any sadness you have accumulated in your relationship, but then soon enough make an effort to make your relationship an enoughness or even an abundance for all involved. We all only have one life.