It has been a while since I have written anything here. I’ve found myself having to let a LOT of dust settle around me as I figure out what direction I am moving in. Good news! I’ve figured it out. For the last year or so my blog has focused predominantly on patient education but, since January, I have been pondering this fact; I am celebrating 10 years in practice this month! In August of 2009 I began working as an RMT and, here I am 10 years older and (possibly?) wiser for it. As I have reflected in the decade behind me I have been looking at the decade that lays ahead. What do I want from my career? What do I want to give to my work? And what marks do I want to leave on my profession? What is the most important thing to me, right now, that will still be important to me in 10 years. Through a lot of self reflection and work on my own mental health, after several years of studying things like stress, anxiety and depression, I have realized the things most important to me are at the intersections of mental health and physical health. Grappling with the way changes in our bodily functions can alter our mental health and, conversely, how changes in our mental health can alter our physical health. How being depressed or anxious have physical correlates like body sensations and energy levels; how pain and bodily dysfunction can create cognitive and emotional changes, like loss of concentration, low mood or fretful thinking. And, perhaps most personally precious, is how trauma impacts our physical health, relationships, and mental health. Links are being made between trauma and pain, how a traumatic experience in childhood may predispose that child to an adulthood with chronic pain. It bothers me how effectively stigma, even in health care and clinical settings, can be a significant barrier to people living with mental health disorders accessing the physical health care they need (not to mention the mental health care they need, too). All of this comes together not just as part of my direct service to my community (of course you, my patients, will benefit from this career direction) but also my professional colleagues. My mission now is clear: To build Trauma Informed Massage Therapy trainings for RMTs in Ontario and beyond. But first, get my own training under my belt. Earlier this summer I started training in Trauma Informed Practice (TIP) via the Faculty of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University; I have lofty goals of finishing the certificate next spring (though I may cut myself some slack and aim to finish it by spring of 2021). I also have been plugging away at learning more about pain, how pain works in our bodies, and what - if anything - we can do about it. I also intend to be learning more about Eating Disorders and Autism Spectrum Disorder as the future unfurls. Along the way I hope to participate in a yoga teacher training to begin offering more movement education in my clinical practice. Also, as a personal note, I am getting orthodontics! So expect to read about orthodontics and jaw and face pain, headache and muscle tension as I go along (braces HURT!). This blog is going to move away - somewhat - from patient education type articles to more closely reflect the work I am doing professionally. I will be sharing stories from my experiences as a clinician, as a professional and as a person as well as my reflections on the things I am learning and how I am applying them to my work as an RMT. These articles may well be useful, informative and interesting for the general public but will not be written with the intent to promote my practice any longer. Rather, these articles will be geared toward my colleagues to further my mission in building a kinder world for people who suffer with trauma and mental health disorders.
So, with that, here’s to the next decade. May my passion fill my sails and carry me; may wisdom steer my course.