I’m Not Ashamed

“If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.” 
~ Brené Brown

‘Oh, Nicole!’ That’s how the email started.

‘Darling friend, I’m so sorry to hear you are still battling Lyme disease. I hope you’re on the mend soon. Just wanted to give you some advice. What you write stays on the internet forever unless you decide to remove it, and even then it may be too late. So why on earth did you write about having incontinence? Nic, pull it down as soon as you can. That kind of stuff is so damaging for your image, and if you ever get a publishing deal you’ll regret this kind of over-sharing. Trust me.’

Hmmm….

Over-sharing? I don’t think so. Damaging? Some people will judge me, for sure. But they are not my people. You, dear readers, are my people.

Here’s what I know about my tribe, and about life in general.

Shit happens. Terrible, awful things can happen to good people for no reason. Life-changing accidents can happen in the blink of an eye. Wear and tear, illness and calamity can render the most sound of bodies and minds suddenly limpy, broken or cobbled together with tape, string, tears, stubbornness and fervent prayers. Many illnesses and incapacities are invisible. People live with all kinds of pains, traumas and problems that most people around them will never even guess at.

Right now I am suffering from neurological incontinence. Inflammation in my brain and nerves makes a signal go haywire and sends a message to my bladder instructing it to void. Which it does with no permission from me. One minute I have a full bladder, the next minute my bladder is emptying wherever I happen to be and no matter what I am wearing, doing or what my plans might be. It’s happened to me dozens of times over the years since I first began treatment for Lyme, and my solution is adult diapers. Which mostly work, and sometimes don’t.

People can suffer from neurological incontinence as a side effect of MS, advanced Lyme disease, brain or spinal cord injury, brain lesions, degenerative brain diseases, or the long term effects of radiation or cancer treatment, alcoholism or diabetes. It affects men and women, children through to people in old age. It affects me.

One day it may affect you or someone you love.

Few of us get a free pass through life with no adverse side-effects! My dear friend Carly-Jay and I often have a laugh over the bits of our bodies or bodily functions that fail us. We belong to a club of people who live well despite how our bodies sometimes misfunction or misbehave. We call that club the Unreliable Club and I’m sure some of you are already card-carrying members. (Maybe we need t-shirts!)

When I was first diagnosed with neurological incontinence (which comes and goes in me – I last had an attack a few years ago!) I looked everywhere for information and found almost none. It’s something no-one talks about.

So, I’m talking about it here. It’s not the end of the world. It can be managed. And it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

It’s just wee. Everyone does it. Every single day. It’s a normal part of life, and for some people it’s a part of life that doesn’t work well for any number of reasons. If more people talked openly about this kind of thing we’d realise just how prevalent these kinds of issues are AND THEY ARE NOTHING FOR WHICH YOU NEED EVER FEEL SHAME.

The Continence Foundation of Australia offers the following statistics:

  • Urinary incontinence affects up to 13% of Australian men and up to 37% of Australian women (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report, 2006).
  • 65% of women and 30% of men sitting in a GP waiting room report some type of urinary incontinence, yet only 31% of these people report having sought help from a health professional (Byles & Chiarelli, 2003: Help seeking for urinary incontinence: a survey of those attending GP waiting rooms, Australian and New Zealand Continence Journal).
  • 70% of people with urinary leakage do not seek advice and treatment for their problem (Millard, 1998: The prevalence of urinary incontinence in Australia, Australian and New Zealand Continence Journal).
  • An Australian study found that over a three month period, 50% of women aged 45-59 years of age experienced some degree of mild, moderate or severe urinary incontinence (Millard, 1998: The prevalence of urinary incontinence in Australia, Australian and New Zealand Continence Journal). 
  • The prevalence of urge incontinence, which is strongly associated with prostate disease, is fairly low in younger males and increases to 30% for those aged 70-84 and 50% for those 85 years and over (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report, 2006).

It’s wee. It’s not working in a very controlled manner in me just now. That’s okay. I have bigger stuff to think about. This is just small stuff, not worth sweating over.

If you feel the need to unfollow me, unfriend me or avoid me because of my bladder control issues and embarrassing habit of oversharing then go right ahead. I’ll still be here for you when life gets bumpy. And then I’ll remind you that you can still live the dream while rocking adult diapers and I won’t love you any less for it. Instead, I’ll be cheering you on!

Much love, Nicole xx

Do You Have Psychic Anxiety?


“Anxiety was born in the very same moment as mankind. And since we will never be able to master it, we will have to learn to live with it—just as we have learned to live with storms.” 
~
 Paulo Coelho

Over the years I have come to recognise a certain set of feelings which I have given the name ‘Psychic Anxiety’. It’s a very unpleasant sensation that can last from an hour to a couple of days, and it is one of the least fantastic aspects of being spiritually and energetically sensitive.

Don’t get me wrong.  It’s not unbearable, and in fact I have worse feelings related to psychic work at times, especially if it involves violent crimes and dead people.

The biggest problem with psychic anxiety is this unshakable feeling of impending doom, dread and unease, that sensation of icy chills and ‘something crawling over your grave’ as my Nana used to call it.

Psychic anxiety became so bad for me yesterday that I threw up and felt ‘off’ for most of the day. There was no logical reason for it, but then I long ago stopped needing logic to explain my life.

People who are psychic, or sensitive, generally feel the highs and lows of life more acutely. I like this diagram below, because for me it represents the differences between me and someone who is less sensitive.

Most people live in the middle of the red and green lines, and can go to the high or low ends of those fields but may seldom do so. They also usually have a physical robustness to them.

Energetically sensitive people are represented by the blue line.  We feel and react to energies both above and below those regular red and green bands, although we may also live somewhere in the middle of our band of felt frequencies most of the time. Sensitive people are just that – sensitive – and without the robustness of some other folk. We may act with great robustness for a while, while we are needed or need to get things done, but that sort of energetic output is always at a price.  And sometimes that price is high. Still, while we are not robust we are resilient, and sensitive souls have great inner strength to draw on. Remember that. Sensitivity is not weakness.

The blessing of sensitivity is that we can feel, see, connect with and know some wonderful and amazing things. It is easy for us to tap into creative flow, to feel love and gratitude, to notice things around us and with the emotions of people around us, and to get high on life…

The difficulty is that sometimes it connects us into those more extreme energies, and this is a painful experience on a soul level, tough emotionally and sometimes physically hard as well.

Usually if I get a psychic message or connection out of the blue (in other words I’m not consciously inviting or controlling it) it feels like this – a big bang on an otherwise normal day:

I get a sudden flood of images, sounds, sensations, feelings, knowledge – all flooding me with a great intensity.  It’s momentary, it passes; although the information will remain, the emotions and energetic kick dissipate quickly.

Psychic anxiety is different.  It’s like an unseen hand rachets up the control knob.  I can’t turn the emotions and energetic kick down or off, but I am also given no information. All I have is the feeling, sometimes so strong that it wipes me out in the same way a severe migraine might. Like an old TV with no image on the screen, cranking out a discordant sound that makes you want to cover your ears or run away screaming.

I know that certain things affect me.  When there are polar shifts I end up flat and exhausted, a little depressed, and often with big hormonal swings.  When there are solar flares I feel restless, unable to sleep, irritable and wound up tight.

But this, this is different.  And I’m grateful it doesn’t happen too often. It’s always tied into great disaster, injustice, cruelty, suffering, death. It’s either building up to happen, or happening as I feel it.

In the days to come the news may let me know what it was all about.  That’s how it was for September 11, the Bali bombing, the tsanamis in 2004 and 2011.

Sometimes I find out years later – a massacre in Kosovo, in Iraq, in Rwanda…

Sometimes I never find out at all.

So I ride it out.  I keep myself away from crowds.  I swim in the ocean.  I sit under trees, walk in the rain, spend time in the gracious and calming company of my cows.

When I feel stronger I meditate.  I pray.  I light candles. I flood the world with love.  It’s all that I can do. A tiny flicker of light in what can seem like a sea of darkness. But I do it anyway and hope that somehow it helps.

If you ever feel that same hit of psychic anxiety remember that it will pass. Take care of yourself and withdraw from situations that overburden you emotionally or energetically. Eat foods that ground you, and get plenty of rest. Hydrate. And then, when you can, radiate love and light back out into the world. Focus on what is good in your life and practice gratitude. Don’t focus on what is troubling you. It might not seem like those simple acts of self-care and energetic expression will help much but trust that they can make a difference.

Embrace your sensitivity – it’s actually a strength. Keep shining your light in the darkness and stay true to you.

I’m thinking of you, and sending love, Nicole ❤ xx

Dealing with Psychic Anxiety

Over the years I have come to recognise a certain set of feelings, to which I have given the name ‘Psychic Anxiety’. It’s a very unpleasant sensation that can last from an hour to a couple of days, and it is one of the least fantastic aspects of being spiritually and energetically sensitive.

Oh, don’t get me wrong.  It’s not unbearable, and in fact I have worse feelings related to psychic work at times, especially if it involves violent crimes and dead people.

The biggest problem with psychic anxiety is this unshakable feeling of dread and unease, that sensation of icy chills and ‘something crawling over your grave’ as my Nana calls it.

People who are psychic, or sensitive, generally feel the highs and lows of life more acutely. I like this diagram below, because for me it represents the differences between me and someone who is less sensitive.

Image from http://www.acoustics.salford.ac.uk

Most people live in the middle of the red and green lines, and can go to the high or low of those fields, but may seldom do so. They also usually have a greater physical resilience, a robustness to them.

Energetically sensitive people are represented by the blue line.  We feel and react to energies both above and below those regular red and green bands, although we may also live somewhere in the middle of our band of felt frequencies most of the time. Sensitive people are just that – sensitive – and without the robustness of some other folk. We may act with great robustness for a while, while we are needed or need to get things done, but that sort of energetic output is always at a price.  And sometimes that price is high.

The blessing of sensitivity is that we can feel, see, connect with and know some wonderful and amazing things. It is easy for us to tap into creative flow, to feel love and gratitude, to notice things around us and with the emotions of people around us, and to get high on life…

The difficulty is that sometimes it connects us into those low energies, and this is a painful experience on a soul level, tough emotionally and sometimes physically hard as well.

Usually if I get a psychic message or connection out of the blue (in other words I’m not consciously inviting or controlling it) it feels like this – a big bang on an otherwise normal day:

Uniform sine wave excitation graphic from opensees.berkeley.edu

I get a sudden flood of images, sounds, sensations, feelings, knowledge – all flooding me with a great intensity.  It’s momentary, it passes; although the information will remain, the emotions and energetic kick dissipate quickly.

Psychic anxiety is different.  It’s like an unseen hand rachets up the control knob.  I can’t turn the emotions and energetic kick down or off, but I am also given no information. All I have is the feeling, sometimes so strong that it wipes me out in the same way a severe migraine might. Like an old TV with no image on the screen, cranking out a discordant sound that makes you want to cover your ears or run away screaming.

I know that certain things affect me.  When there are polar shifts I end up flat and exhausted, a little depressed, and often with big hormonal swings.  When there are solar flares I feel restless, unable to sleep, irritable and wound up tight.

But this, this is different.  And I’m grateful it doesn’t happen too often. It’s always tied into great disaster, injustice, cruelty, suffering, death. It’s either building up to happen, or happening as I feel it.

In the days to come the news may let me know what it was all about.  That’s how it was for September 11, the Bali bombing, the tsanamis in 2004 and again last year in Japan.

Sometimes I find out years later – a massacre in Kosovo, in Iraq, in Rwanda…

Sometimes I never find out at all.

So I ride it out.  I keep myself away from crowds.  I swim in the ocean.  I sit under trees, walk in the rain, spend time in the gracious and calming company of my cows.

When I feel stronger I meditate.  I pray.  I light candles. I flood the world with love.  It’s all that I can do. A tiny flicker of light in what can seem like a sea of darkness. But I do it anyway and hope that somehow it helps.