12 march 2019
river jackson-paton
offered to so many healers, friends, family, loves…

with a nod to Brené Brown
and the spiritual breakdown awakening
these last weeks have been filled
with breakthroughs, awakenings and healing

after my breakdown in April 2018
(yes, coming up on the anniversary!)
it has been a really tough slog with
major depression, anxiety, hospitalization
injurious behaviors, social withdrawl
and much more

2019 began with another dicey episode
which led my psychiatrist to suggest
another hospital stay
I offered one last option

a brief backstory…
about 10 years ago, I had a traumatic brain injury
and “western,” “mainstream” medicine had nothing for me
besides medications and a lack of understanding
so I sought out
acupuncture, chiropractic, cranial-sacral, massage, yoga
and most transformative of all
body-mind centering…

these all cultivated a deep healing in me
so that while I might still have “symptoms”
they didn’t always “drive the bus”

and something else truly remarkable happened
I realized in my body who I really was
who I had always been
I was finally able to be river

but as is true for countless trans*
and gender non-conforming folk
this triggered depression, anxiety,
substance abuse
and a return of so many of my “old”
brain injury “symptoms”

even as I fell into deeper and deeper despair
I knew what I needed to do
(I had done it before!)
but that I had to do it all again
filled me with sadness, hurt and pain

many times, to many healers in my life, I said
“why do I have to do this all over again?”

so, here I am after two months of intensive support
from gifted and caring healers
(including my psychiatrist!)
to report on a few breakthroughs
to report that I am arriving

I resist saying better
because it plays into a binary of health
because if you’re not better
then you’re worse

first, being a trans* parent
is so difficult to navigate
but my kids are amazingly supportive, open, and honest
so, they asked me last week
if I wanted to be called “mom”

while I’m still hanging out with answering
it provided deep salve
for the wounds inflicted by a rigid
gender and sexuality binary
awakening healing memories of being a teenager
and a young parent
(bottle) feeding my kids

second, several of my embodiers
(bodywork makes it sound like work!)
have gotten to the place
where we are checking in
about how & where I am
while leading me through yoga
or doing a chiropractic adjustment
or giving me a lymphatic massage

last week it resonated through my whole body
I remembered the feeling
this is what I had done before
embodied therapeutic care

I have nothing against “talk” therapy
indeed I have done a lot
I have a couple of current therapists
who I care for deeply

and, yes, I’m taking three medications
prescribed by my psychiatrist

having been on viibryd for just over 7 months
someone recently asked if
I felt I was a poster child for viibryd
I said, “no”

when I shared that story with another
of my healers, they replied
“a poster child for holistic care”

and another breakthrough…
I am writing again!

so, a final breakthrough
I have been my own full-time client
and the “holistic care” I am engaged with
is mending the tears
gluing the cracks
picking up the pieces
helping me to arrive

so that I can begin to offer that to others
once again…