Down the Rabbit Hole

I have been in a dark time. For the past many months I have been living in a world of physical illness paired with spiritual and emotional struggle. Most of my days have been spent lying in bed wearing my pajamas and watching movies and HBO television on Netflix. I turned down note-taking jobs that would have provided a small boost to my bank account because I could not rely on my body’s ability to support me on a consistent basis. I dropped one of my classes for the same reason. While I was far from knocking on death’s door, the weakened state of my body over a prolonged period of time brought me face to face with the fragility and vulnerability of human life.

Alice Falling\

I fell into the darkness, down Alice’s rabbit hole, kicking and screaming the whole way. I was resisting the illness that attacked in symptomatic waves of intestinal terror. I did not have time to be sick, I did not have the energy to be sick, I did not have the money or resources to be sick. But, I was sick. After two months of discomfort, a diagnosis of intestinal parasites, IV fluids and blood tests I found myself in a state of panic every time I left my apartment. Paralyzed by the fear that I would be struck to my knees in a helpless heap while away from the safety of my home, anxiety rushed into the vulnerable spaces of my psyche. I was broken.

My doctor assured me that the medication would work, but that I would be worse before I was better and it would take months to eradicate all of my symptoms. The only thing I could do was surrender myself fully to the illness. I had to accept that I was sick. I had to accept that I was fragile. I had to accept that this body of mine has an expiration date. Hours were spent on the floor of my bathroom waiting for the nausea to pass, days were lost to emotional panic and exhaustion. Some days all I could do was sleep, other days I could not catch a wink no matter how worn out I was. I was sick if I ate, I was sick if I didn’t. I sank into the darkness and prayed that I would hear the voice of God or the voices of my ancestors. I wanted answers. I needed to know how to climb out of this hole. But, there was only silence and more dark. I let myself be sick. Only sick people can heal.

I didn’t think it would ever end. This body of mine is still not completely healed, but something has changed. Two weeks ago, I was putting myself to bed. My small medicine pouch was hanging on the bedpost. I whispered to the tobacco leaves inside the way my auntie taught me. I said, “My beloved ancestors, if you can hear me, please tell me what to do. How do I heal the layers of sickness inside me?” I wanted to hear about herbs and tea and doctors and medicine. Instead I heard and saw the word, “WRITE!” I should have picked up my pen in that very moment. I should have started writing and kept my pen moving no matter what. But, I didn’t. It wasn’t the answer I was looking for, so I chalked it up to my imagination and went on being sick. Then, I caught a terrible head cold and cough. Then, I walked into a wall bruising my arm and stubbing my toe at the same time. Then, I bruised my other arm when I accidently dropped my trash can into the trash compactor. Then, I ran into a door and re-bruised my first arm.

I picked up my pen and started writing. I am writing through the sickness. I am writing through the vulnerability. I am writing through the anxiety and panic attacks. I am writing through the fear straight into a brave and beautiful heart.


5 thoughts on “Down the Rabbit Hole

  1. Melissa,
    Thank You for writing and beginning the courageous journey of taking care of yourself. It can only get better, right? The next time you are not feeling well, with no energy, but a spirit who is asking, check out this podcast from a local shaman. She is not native, but she is very good at what she does. When I’ve listened I always come away feeling a little more enlightened, my spirit a little brighter.
    It’s called Why Shamanism Now? with Christina Pratt

    Much love,

  2. Bless you in this renewed effort.
    This is the way of the Medicine Path. Nobody sane would want Medicine powers. The archetype of the Wounded Healer was not formed from whole-cloth. It is true. Across culture for ages it has been shown only those who have been very ill and faced their mortality and demons of vanity and will can heal.
    Only an empty bowl has spiritual utility. You are being emptied. It is a long and difficult process of pain and reconciliation with your self, the Spirits, and the physical world.
    Each walk to the emptiness of spiritual power is different. It will not be rushed. It will persist. As was demonstrated when you chose to ignore the spirits advise and kept injuring yourself. The spirits may have been saying,” OK…you don’t want to use your hands to write. We will make you conscious of those arms. You will be made to think of them. WHAP!” Now you are writing. Have you bonked yourself since you blogged this entry?
    Physical prayer is powerful. Tobacco is a spiritually and physically powerful relative which insists on honor and respect.Praying with power is a delicate act of sending a request for assistance and accepting the advise or assistance you are given. It is not a method to barter with Universe for a desired outcome.
    Bless your walk. I am beside you.

  3. You go, girl! Being sick sucks, but there is definitely a lesson in all this. Keep writing, no matter what. Perhaps the poison can only be excreted through the pen. This is beautiful, if heart-breaking. I look forward to reading more blogs!

    Sending you healing energy,

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