How I got through a spinal injury with Emily Green | POP 741

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A photo of Emily Green is captured. She is an EMDR trained therapist. Emily is featured on the Practice of the Practice, a therapist podcast.

How do you grieve the things that you used to be able to do? How does a life-altering injury impact a marriage? What does it take to manage and overcome chronic pain?

In the sixth podcast episode of the How I Got Through It series, Joe Sanok speaks about recovering from a spinal injury with Emily Green.

Podcast Sponsor: Noble

A an image of Noble Health is captured. Noble Health is the podcast sponsor to Practice of the Practice, a therapist podcast.

According to a scientific brief released by the World Health Organization, between 2020-2021, the global prevalence of anxiety and depression increased by a massive 25%.

As a mental health professional, you have likely seen the effects of the pandemic and events of the past few years on your clients. With the great need for both anxiety and depression support in mind, our friends at Noble just launched Roadmaps on Anxiety and Depression that offers your clients the education and tools they need between sessions to begin to take the steps necessary to reduce their symptoms.

Noble makes powerful therapy simple with their app that offers research-backed, automated, between-session support for clients, assessments, messaging, and more. Learn more and join for free at

Meet Emily Green

A photo of Emily Green is captured. She is an EMDR trained therapist. Emily is featured on the Practice of the Practice, a therapist podcast.

Emily Green is a big-hearted licensed mental health therapist who is EMDR trained and believes that everyone has the capacity to heal and grow. Her areas of focus are anxiety, depression, emotional regulation and boundary creation,  relationship issues (codependency, closeness, breakups/divorce), addictions, and recovery.

Emily provides individual counseling to teens, college students, adults, and seniors. She also works with student-athletes and high-performing athletes. Her goal is for her clients to have the opportunity for deep healing and transformative growth.

Visit Branch Out Counseling and connect with Emily on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

In this Podcast:

  • Grieving the letting go
  • The change within relationships
  • Developing hobbies after healing

Grieving the letting go

When you suffer from chronic pain, you also grieve the loss of the things you used to be able to do with ease and without thinking.

You are not only in physical pain but a sudden accident that changes your life can lead you to grieve the old life that you used to lead.

At first it was denial, a lot of denials… the first three years were a lot of denial. (Emily Green)

Emily struggled with things that she had not considered would ever be an issue for her, such as rolling over by herself, dressing or feeding herself, and standing up on her own.

However, in some ways, the shame helped Emily to hold onto the fact that she would recover again to a level where she can regain a sense of agency that was lost with her accident.

I needed help at levels that were not okay for me to need help, and that denial helped me [somewhat unhealthily] deal with the shame. (Emily Green)

The change within relationships

When someone experiences a life-altering event, the relationships that they are in also shift as some people become caretakers.

At first, [my husband and I] really struggled. We both got thrown into each other’s roles … what had always worked for us [couldn’t] anymore. (Emily Green)

It took Emily and her husband a long time of figuring out how to be on the same team and cope with the injury in ways that were supportive to one another while maintaining their marriage.

Developing hobbies after healing

Emily found hobbies that she could do within her body that didn’t require moving it too much, such as breathwork and qigong.

That for me was a big turning point because I needed resources and I [didn’t] have access to my other resources. (Emily Green)

Discovering hobbies that helped her to do something, rebuild a relationship with her body, and let go of stress became integral in her daily routine.

Books mentioned in this episode:

BOOK | Mantak Chia – Transforming stress into vitality [unavailable on amazon but available on other sites]

Useful Links mentioned in this episode:

Check out these additional resources:

Meet Joe Sanok

A photo of Joe Sanok is displayed. Joe, private practice consultant, offers helpful advice for group practice owners to grow their private practice. His therapist podcast, Practice of the Practice, offers this advice.

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

Thanks For Listening!

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Podcast Transcription

[JOE] Just wanted to let you know that in this episode, we use some adult language and talk about chronic pain and medical issues, just to let you know what you’re getting into. Enjoy the show. This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok, session number 741. Well, I am Joe Sanok, your host, and welcome back to the Practice of the Practice podcast. We are doing this series, the How I Got Through its series and honestly, I’m just so excited about this series, as I’ve said it before in the previous episodes to just have different kinds of conversations. I love business. I love learning about marketing. I love optimizing time and money and all those things, but when it comes down to it, we are humans going through life and life is not always pretty. So to hear different things like back in episode 737, about how Kate’s son had so many seizures and her daughter was sexually assaulted or Rebecca shared about the death of a sibling and then Dr. Ashley talked about an abusive spouse and Cindy talking about abuse in a marriage, I mean, these are heavy, heavy things that we’re carrying. [JOE] To have an ability to share these things publicly, to think about how do I want to share my story and to just experience that someone else may benefit from it, that in itself is healing without having to have a pretty bow on the end. I mean, that’s something I’ve said throughout that none of these are stories where we then end with and they all lived happily ever after. So today I’m so excited we have Emily Green with us who’s going to be sharing a little bit about some of her health journey. Emily, welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast. I’m so excited that you’re here today. [EMILY] Thanks for having me. I’m stoked to be here. [JOE] Well, let’s just start with who’s Emily. Tell us a little bit about yourself. [EMILY] Let me see. Well, I’m a native Floridian. I’m located in Central Florida, so I have a private practice here, work mostly with individuals, but some couples. I’m a big, really big nerd. I love learning so books are a big thing that just bring me joy. One of my favorite books is The Show Gun and A Gentleman in Moscow, just a couple of my favorite and I’m really big into Kung Fu and Tai Chi. [JOE] Man, there’s so many different directions we can go around those areas. I definitely want to hear how those hobbies and the diversity of those hobbies eventually played into your, how you got through it. Because for me this last year of uncoupling having new and unique hobbies has been really fun and interesting. Even just yesterday, I went standup paddle boarding with a friend of mine and even though this airs in June, we are recording this in April and Michigan in April it just snowed today. So paddleboarding, the waves got bonkers. It looked really calm and then we were on our knees and like this cold water was busting over it. By the end of it, we felt like we were rock stars, like we had conquered Lake Michigan, which probably wasn’t the best of decisions, but new hobbies for me has been really helpful or even old hobbies in adventurous settings. Well, let’s start with your story of what you got through. So you had a spinal injury, take us through what happened with you. [EMILY] Ooh, man, I talk about a hell of a detour I’ve been on. My doctor gave me that word and I love it because it really just has been this really big detour. December 26th, 2014, I was working on some climbing routes here in Florida, flat as can be, so it was an indoor climbing gym where I always like to play and practice. On my third time I got up the route had previously fallen a couple times, but the landing was fine, but I got all the way up and fell and had a really bad landing. That was for me when my life changed. [JOE] Now when you say really bad landing, what happened? [EMILY] I was bouldering, so it’s the climbing where you’re not hooked up to anything. It was about 10 feet up in the air and when I fell, I fell and landed in a way where, everything landed on, I learned a lot about my body, my SI joint, and when I fell, the initial impact just tore, and it would take a long time to figure out what is this injury? What’s the extent of it, which is a journey and of itself. But that initial impact just tore all of my ligaments in my SI joint, which is really crucial to be able to stand and sit and just be a functioning, able bodied person. Then that second impact that came from that energy going back up and back down my L1 broke and then banged up my four and five underneath it as well. So I mean, just a moment where this thought went through my head, because at first I couldn’t move. I thought I was paralyzed and it was like, oh, my life just changed. [JOE] Whoa, I mean, what did, what happened after that? I mean, was it like an ER visit with an ambulance, was it friends carrying you? Just take us through what day looked like. [EMILY] I mean, this is like the thing that I, reflecting on this whole journey that has, like we were chatting a little bit before like chapters within chapters. It took so long to figure out like how to even get the right help. So immediately when I fell, I thought I was paralyzed and then I just wanted to disappear. I was just humiliated and wanted the floor to cover me up so no one could see. As soon as I got some sensation that I could move, but the pain was so intense I got my husband to take me home, which was very difficult. So just the process of getting to that first health practitioner and then that journey of finding the right health practitioner, it really took a long time. So that first day, that second day, man, I just was terrified and was so terrified. I didn’t want to go to the doctor because I didn’t want to find out what had happened. [JOE] So really just like avoiding it just because it was so heavy? [EMILY] Oh yes, totally [JOE] When you say medically, it took a long time, I mean, are we talking a few days? Are we talking months? What was that process of finding someone that could figure out and diagnose what had happened? [EMILY] One of the things that’s so hard about this was like when you’re going through something and your body hurts and I mean, pain to me, it’s like, I think we need like other words, like when we say pain or chronic pain, I think it should be a really difficult word to say, and it should hurt why we say it. Because it’s just so hard to really get what that means for people. So for me, that process afterwards of getting to a medical professional, first I went to someone that had been helpful for me, but it wasn’t helpful. So then I was like, I went to the conventional like, oh, okay, I’ll go to this doctor. They started treating me and the thought was, oh, like they didn’t diagnose everything fully. It was like oh, you broke your L1 and we can see this on the x-ray and in three months you’re going to be fine. So I’m like, yay, I can do this. I’m like, I can follow instructions. I want to get over this and leave this behind me. So what was really difficult is I’m this good patient and then when the progress wasn’t happening, I had a really negative experience with the medical provider and it was just really hard, but important to advocate for myself. But it’s really hard to do that when you’re hurting and, it took me, what I’ve learned so far, this isn’t that long, it took me me six months to get to the right care provider who could really, really help me and help me well. [JOE] Wow, what care provider really did help you? [EMILY] She is a wonderful woman. I love her so much. Her name’s Dr. Laura Rambo. She is a DO. She specialized and specializes in muscular skeletal medicine and regenerative medicine. For me, I had this really negative encounter with the prior doctor where it was, I felt it coming and so I remember this appointment, I had told my husband, I need you there. Like I need you there. This medical provider just ripped me apart, told me I was making things up that my injury wasn’t that bad, that I was pretty much just wanting to be lazy and stay on the couch and that it was all in my head. I’m there and I am desperate for help and I have someone treating me this way and the man’s yelling at me and I’m like, I want to get better. What’s what you’re providing isn’t the answer. He storms out of the room and I have to, in so much pain mind you, I’m like, oh my gosh, I climb so many mountains to even get to this appointment and then have to deal with this? His supervisor requested supervisor come in and they’re like, well, we can’t help you. So the woman Dr. Rambo, she was just, had this, when I first saw her, I was so nervous because I’m like, is she going to believe me? She saw me and she was like walk for me. I did. She was like, how are you walking? I was like, what? she’s like, how are you here? I just started bursting in tears and I’m like, you believe me? She’s like, I haven’t even touched you and I can see it. [JOE] How validating, oh my gosh? [EMILY] Yes, it was the first-time help felt helpful. It was the first time I really felt believed and that was a real big turning point. [JOE] I had this moment, so I’m Type One diabetic and my primary care doctor that I had had forever, so I switched over to getting my insulin from Canada, because it was like 600 bucks a month here and his nurse, three times in a row faxed in the wrong insulin. I just kept calling back like you keep doing it wrong and similar type of experience he freaked out on me. He’s like, “What’s really going on here, Joe. I know that insulin sells for a lot on the market.” I’m like, “You think I’m peddling insulin? What is wrong with you? I just want you to put in the right effing dosage.” It’s just sometimes when those things happen, it’s just, I don’t know, as a kid, I thought medical professionals always know everything and then to just see how, just finding the right one that believes you and works with you. and has like a broader scope of understanding. Wow, how great that you ended up finding that person and how terrible that you had to go through all that with the doctor. [EMILY] Yes, I mean, want to realize, like what you’re saying, I’m just nodding my head. I’m like, yes, yes. That’s what, I’m like, for me, at least up into this point, if I had been, I’ve always been able to do whatever it was to overcome something. I grew up playing sports, very physically active, so I’m used to being injured. So I’m like, hey, I’m your ideal patient. I’m going to do the homework, I’m going to do whatever it takes and really believing that this person is the expert but when the expert can’t handle, and what I found, what was the big difference between this guy and then the doctor who has been such a source of healing for me on so many levels is that she has this awe. She’s like, I there’s so many things I still don’t know about the body. It was that reverence where she could hold space for things that this person couldn’t and was much more it felt like really on my side, no matter if I didn’t “perform right” or if the benchmarks we set weren’t coming, she didn’t blame me for it like the other person did. [JOE] Now, when you think about maybe the next year or so of grief, of changes, of letting go of things that maybe like you expected, so like I had back surgery when I was 20 and had three herniated discs and a spinal stenosis and was at Mayo clinic. For me, just so many things that I could just do as a young 20 something I just couldn’t do anymore. I’ve been in constant pain since my twenties. It just comes in waves. For you with chronic pain, with letting go of certain things, what does that grief look like? [EMILY] Man, at first it was denial, a lot of denial because I really, especially, I’d say the first three years were a lot of denial. To some extent I think that was — [JOE] Let me just pause you right there. That really resonates with me because I’m a year into this uncoupling and I’m just feeling like, oh, I should be able to move on. I should want to be a good co-parent. To just hear that you were in denial for three years, personally makes me feel, okay, this process can take a long time and that’s okay. So I’m going to let you continue. I just wanted to underline that and be like three years of denial. Oh thank you for having three years of denial, because it just helped Jo Sanok act and feel like not as a shame of a person. [EMILY] Okay, cool. Well, you’re welcome. You’re welcome. [JOE] Thank you. So three years of denial [EMILY] Three years and now it’s still sprinkled in, I will say, but it’s more sprinkly and not just a constant like coffee drip, that slow drip. So for me, I think in the beginning, I really do, it was like when you’re, for me, a lot of it goes back to that thing you were talking about with authority with the doctors. It’s like, hey, they know what they’re talking about. They’re the pro so what they say, it is what it is, period. There’s no question mark. It’s the truth. For me I needed a little, I mean it was too much at the time. It wasn’t all helpful but part of it that was helpful in the beginning was this denial that my life has changed forever, that nothing was ever going to be the same, because it was just like a little too overwhelming to take in just how severe my injury was, which I get might sound really odd because I was bed bound. There was times in this process where I could not do the things that I didn’t even know were “physically active.” I couldn’t roll over by myself and then be able to stand up on my own. I needed help dressing, which was so humiliating. I needed help at levels that were not okay for me to need help and that denial helped me, not saying it was in the healthiest way, but deal with the shame of that. [JOE] I mean, what did that, I couldn’t imagine, not even as an older person having to help get dressed, but you expect when, yes — [EMILY] Yes, in my third, I think when did this happen, I don’t know, must have been maybe 30 when this, wait, how old am I now? I’m 38, so yes, 30, 31 something around that time. That’s the thing, it’s like you don’t, one you’re not expecting ever to really ever feel old, but you’re sure as hell not expecting to feel old when you’re still 30 and to go from being just extremely able bodied. Even if it was hard, I could always grit my way or I always loved, like my idols growing up or like the story of Rudy, it’s like, he’s got the heart, he can do it. I’m like, I got that. But then I couldn’t. That wasn’t working and needing that much help, man, Joe, that was just, it was at a time where, for me, the denial was more about being in shock and obviously not liking my life and just really being like a fish in water. A fish doesn’t know it’s in water and I did not have the bandwidth at the time to be like, oh, Emily, you’re really, really overwhelmed. Oh, wow, you’re terrified. Oh, since you can’t operate like you always have where you felt comfortable and confident, you’re now experiencing shame. I was just in it. I felt I was worthless, I was needy, I was all these things and that denial, I just wanted to hide from that. It was just too big. [JOE] How did that change the relationships in your life because I can imagine, because you had mentioned your husband helped you with the fall, I mean, to go from just being a married couple to now him also taking on a major caretaker role, what did that look like for your relationships? [EMILY] Oh, I mean, I would say I’m really glad if we were having this interview on year one or day one, year two or three. I’d be sharing a really different experience, but now being able to look back I have more of that path between then and now to see how things can change. At first we really struggled. We both got thrown into each other’s roles and, not completely, but what had always worked for us we just couldn’t anymore? We had a really hard time adjusting to that. We had a really hard time figuring out how to be on the same team. It was a big strain. It was really hard. I mean, this is the other thing that happened with other relationships is like all of a sudden, your world shrinks. My world got super small overnight and it was really isolating and then really taxing because all of a sudden now my husband, Garrison, he was having to do everything just because I could not, I couldn’t physically do this. We weren’t, it was very conflictual, a lot of complicated feelings. There was always that part of loving each other, but it was a lot of the other parts where it just felt like angry and hard and difficult and it took us a long time to figure out really how to how to adapt in a better way. [JOE] Now, — [EMILY] I will say one of my favorite things I do have to say was something that I think helped us connect when it was really hard to was my husband has these great one liners. I mean, it was the levity that really saved us and helped us because there’s this one memory I have that I’d like to share. He had to help me put on my pants because it, so I’m there and he’s pulling, he is helping me pick up one foot to put in one pair, one side of the pants and then the other one and mind you, all of this is so difficult. Even him lifting my leg, it’s just pain all the time. It just never stopped. I just had this moment where I’m humiliated, I’m mad that I can’t do this myself and I just start crying and he’s like, “What’s wrong?” I’m like, “I can’t even put on my own fu*king pants.” He looks at me and he goes, “I love when you don’t have pants on.” It was like these moments where he could just make me laugh. Even if it was just for a moment, those little moments helped us connect in a way that always felt like us when everything else didn’t. [NOBLE] According to a scientific brief released by the World Health Organization between 2020 and 2021 global prevalence of anxiety and depression increased by a massive 25%. As a mental health professional, you’ve likely seen the effects of the pandemic and events over the past few years on your clients. With the great need for both anxiety and depression support in mind, our friends at Noble just launched roadmaps on anxiety and depression that offers your clients the education and tools they need between sessions to begin to take the steps necessary to reduce their symptoms. Noble makes powerful therapy simple with their app that offers research-backed, automated between session support for clients, assessments, messaging, and more. Learn more and join for free at Again, that’s [JOE SANOK] Well, other than one liners, which I mean, that’s awesome to have that levity, so Tai Chi, Kung Fu, you’ve been surfing, I’m sure we could go through all the healing that happened, but just how did hobbies, some light physical activity, how did Tai Chi, Kung Fu, surfing, needle point, reading, what of those things, and maybe there’s more than that helped you get through this really difficult phase? [EMILY] That’s such a good question. This is, for me, oh, and the whopper of it all through this Joe, that was also another curve ball was I got pregnant six months into this. I know that’s just a little surprise throw in there, but for me, getting pregnant at this time was terrifying. We had, my oldest, our oldest was five when I fell and then getting pregnant with Dylan in this was just terrifying because you’re like my body’s broken and now my body’s going to be doing what? I don’t know if I can physically do this because I can’t physically hardly exist right now. So getting pregnant at the same time as meeting it lined up with that doctor that’s just a godsend to me. It helped me not fully get over the denial, but get open to things that I never would’ve been open to. It’s like when you get so desperate, you’re like, if you tell me to drink snake poison then it’ll help a little bit, I’ll try it. It’s like the seriousness that holy moly, I’m going to be pregnant, my body’s already suffering and I don’t know what this is going to look like. I need access to something that’s going to help my sanity, that’s going to help me just graft onto something and I had always had surfing. I grew up surfing. I’m from the Northeast Florida and so I had always had a physical way of coping with stress and feeling capable. I had that outlet and now I didn’t have anything. So my doctor introduced me to Chi Gong and it’s a intermartial art practice that I could do. I could do, it doesn’t require movement. You go inside and so it gave me, you wouldn’t even know what I was doing. I always joked with my husband and I’m like, you come in to check on me and it looks like I’m not doing anything, which is definitely touched some of my core stuff but I am. Having this other world inside me that gave me something to participate in. That for me was a really big turning point because I needed resources and all my other resources, I didn’t have access to I couldn’t. I couldn’t even go on a drive. I couldn’t even get out of bed by myself. I couldn’t go walk in the park, down the road. I couldn’t go surfing. I couldn’t go climbing. I couldn’t do any of these things that had always given me joy or just helped me let the stress out. So that was a, that hobby along with a couple others that came in at the time, because being still was really hard and coping with the pain was really hard. So Chi Gong helped with that. Then my mother-in-law, she came over and she taught me how to sew. She taught me needle point and that activity gave me something like I could do that completely laying down in the bed. I could learn how to sew and she would bring everything over for me. She taught me the basics and so if I woke up and the pain was about to just make me explode or just cry, I could do that, but I could also, I could pick up a needle and thread and I could do that. Those hobbies really helped. I mean, it felt like it saved my sanity. It gave me like a little rock I could hold onto and I knew I could do this. Like I could do this and I could focus. All my attention on if it was whatever Chi Gong exercise I was doing. Or if I was working on learning this new needle thing, I could put my attention somewhere and it gave me access to something. [JOE] If someone wanted to learn Chi Gong is there a YouTube channel or a resource that you would recommend? [EMILY] Man, there was this really good one. If it’s okay with you, I will I’ll look for it because I know I have it saved somewhere. [JOE] Yes, we’ll embed that into the show notes for people. [EMILY] This one was great because a lot of them at first were way more than what I could do. Like if you’re bedbound that’s, what’s so hard when you’re bedbound and you don’t have the capabilities of moving your body or getting up. It’s hard to adapt resources. So I found this YouTube that showed how to do these Chi Gong exercises in bed. It was really, really helpful because it’s like, I don’t know. I’m just like, Ooh, if there’s this video, it means other people are struggling with this too. I am not the only one lying in bed all the time. Then some others were, there’s this practitioner I follow, his name is Montack chia. Then Bruce Francis, he’s been a resource and these are people my doctor introduced me to which again, at the time I never would’ve been open to these things, but it gave me other worlds to get to know. It helped me get interested in something and that’s where I started getting into Daoism and learning more about that. They really were wonderful compliments to some of the things that I had as resources at different times in my life. So it just really opened up. I felt like I got introduced to this whole universe that I didn’t know about and I could find new universes. It just really helped me expand, even though I was stuck in bed and my world was so small. [JOE] What was it about Daoism that you resonated with? [EMILY] I think the thing that comes to mind right now is the emptiness and that for me historically, I’ve always been someone who was the more the merrier. It’s like, ooh, if I could have a friend why not have like a lot more? My life was very full and robust and I had never before developed that appreciation for space that was empty but the emptiness was full. So that was, it’s such a, obviously for me as a westerner, it’s a completely different culture. It’s a completely different approach in thinking. The patterns of that thinking process really helped me and it really was, it’s like, it makes me think of, there’s this favorite part of a beach I have here in Central Florida. It’s on the space coast at Play Linda and it’s a area of beach that is protected. There’s nothing out there. It’s just wild, there’s beach access, but you have to bring everything. There’s nothing out there. It made me think of that feeling that I loved about surfing out there at Play Linda was it was empty, but it was full. That concept just really resonated with me and it helped me deal with how empty my life had become, but being able to tolerate it with a little bit of a nudge and with a new way of thinking about emptiness. [JOE] It’s interesting that you talked about emptiness feeling full. Right at the beginning of the uncoupling when there’d be the few times that I didn’t have my girls, one of my friends who had been divorced or is divorced he talked about when his daughter left that there was the presence of absence and the absence of presence. It just was like such a powerful statement of, yes, there’s like this vibrance when my girls are running around and we have busy family life. Then once a month when their mom comes in town, it just screeches to a halt and I’m alone in the house and just that idea of it being full, but also being empty. I love that. Daoism has been such a great mindset and thing to learn for the last year for me. So any resources you have feel free to send my way out? [EMILY] I will. I mean, and that’s what, I think this has been the other, one of the many pieces of this has been like, I still would never willingly open this door. I would never willingly go through this. So for a long time, I was really, at some point in this process, especially I think it was like probably definitely like year two and three it got ridiculous, that denial, I became my own worst enemy and I didn’t understand it. I’ll never forget this moment. I’m lying on this table and my doctor, I had re-injured myself because I did not go down the conventional route to help the injuries. She’s a specialist in regenerative medicine and so I chose to go with PRP. PRP is a regenerative medicine that takes your blood and they centrifusion to get, I call it the crack, the really good stuff that your body needs to really grow these new tissues. So I had to go through a very aggressive treatment, which was really painful and I couldn’t use pain medication because I was pregnant. When everything that had always worked for me wasn’t anymore, at the time, like I just had these like, and as a clinician, I know this. I’m like, these are my habits. These are my patterns. These are my procedural learned behaviors. I kept doing the same thing and I would keep re-entering myself. It’s like as soon as I felt a little bit better, I tried to just do everything I could do at the level that I did and since I still couldn’t even get up out of bed, if I tried to just sit at the table for dinner, I would tear something. I would tear a ligament. I’ll never forget this one day I’m in and I’m laying on her table and I am in so much pain. I feel like I’m about to just like break apart and she touches my shoulder and she’s like, “Emily, when are you going to stop being your own enemy?” I just broke. It broke me open. It was like, I told her, I was sobbing, not able to really, the ugly cries. I was like, “I don’t know how. I don’t want to be this anymore, but I don’t know how not to be.” That again was this little bit of an openness and she was able at that time to really help encourage me through challenging me and helping me recognize that I have real limits. If I don’t learn to at least respect them, if not befriend them, I’m never going to get to where I want to go. That was, it felt, and I know this is going to sound dramatic, but it really felt like death. That’s for me. Some of the grief that has just been really hard to make space for was the good things that have come from here. Because up to that point, I was like, nothing good can come from this, like those people who would always be like, everything happens for a reason or like one day you’re going to love this time, I wanted to punch them in the face. It’s like I realized that I was already, I couldn’t not take the pain. The pain was a given. So I was like, well, if I’m accepting the pain because it’s just here, why would I not accept anything that could be helpful or interesting or good for me? So that was really such a real hard thing that doesn’t happen like overnight or it wasn’t like, oh, I had this epiphany. Then I was like, yay. It was this like, that’s the thing, nothing’s linear. It was all cyclical. There would be ups and downs and more downs and it really was this overall working to really help me accept, to learn, or even be able to tolerate, accepting some positive things like how to grow inside, how to expand myself so I can learn how to be more than just that her I had always been, but no longer could be. That was such this, it felt like this inner death. I’m like, no, I don’t want to give this up, because this has worked for me. It’s good to want to feel good in my body. It’s good to want to be better, which is all true but I just realized if I don’t do something, if I don’t like, then it, I don’t know, it just made me realize I can want those things, but I have to be willing. If I still really want to be here and live as best of a life as I could, even if it meant from bed, I had to learn how to be more than just her and that really felt like giving up in a way. It felt like giving up in a way that wasn’t a good thing to let go of, but it really was this shift that happened inside that helped me move from denial to, I don’t even know what the word is, but something else. [JOE] Well, I mean, that’s such a perfect place to end because I think that’s the thing, is that none of these stories have a perfect ending and they’re still unfolding and we’re still figuring out if we want to even make meaning out of what happened. But Emily, thank you so much for sharing your story, how you got through and you’re getting through this. Thank you so much for being on the Practice of the Practice podcast. If people want to connect with you or reach out to you what’s the best website for them to connect with you? [EMILY] They can connect with me through my website. It’s called Branch Out Counseling and there’s a form that they can submit a little inquiry or a hello note. All my contact information is on that website. [JOE] Ah, so good. Thank you so much, Emily, for being on the Practice of the Practice podcast. [EMILY] Yes, thanks for having me, Joe. [JOE] I’m loving doing this series to just learn different techniques or ways that people think through things and even hobbies that distract people from, like Emily from her pain, or just give her something different to think about. I hope you’re getting a lot from this series as well. Would love for you to email me, [email protected] if you have insights or things that you just love from this show. We could not do this show without our sponsors. Our friends at Noble believe in using technology to enhance, not replace human connection. With Noble, your clients will gain access to between-session support through their automated, therapist created roadmaps assessments to track progress and in-app messaging. You can try this totally for free and also earn some passive income over at Again, that’s Thank you so much for letting me into your ears and into your brain. Have an amazing day. [NOBLE] Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music. [NOBLE] This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. This is given with the understanding that neither the host, the producers, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.