By Flic Manning.
The very first time I got my period I was terrified. Not just because it was new, or because of all the hormones I was drowning in, but because of the pain that came before it, with it and after it.
At the age of 14 I didn’t know how to process it. I did what I was told, using hot water bottles and naprogesic, I sat in warm baths and tried to sleep. But the pain was so intense I would literally pour sweat through my clothes. To boot I was nauseated, moody, couldn’t sleep and at times I could barely walk.
It wasn’t until I was in my late twenties that I learned I had Endometriosis, up until then I did the same as every other girl I knew - I silently put up with it, feeling I must be weak.By the time it was diagnosed the pain truly affected my way of life. I can’t tell you the number of events, meetings and days of work I’ve missed because of pain, bleeding, hormonal migraines and vomiting. Not to mention the number of friends that stopped returning my calls when I had to bail on things. The sensation of having my ovaries pulled out from between my legs, the aching shaky legs, immense pressure in my pelvis, back and blinding headaches (and non stop vomiting) and fatigue meant that sometimes I just couldn’t face the world. At the same time I am also a Crohn’s Disease patient. Let’s just say my life involves a lot of pain and previously, a hell of a lot of sick days. I felt like my body was my enemy, as though I was trapped in my skin.
That was until I invested more time and energy into working out what could work for me. I wasn’t satisfied with anything I had followed so far and felt there had to be a way to live a full and active life despite what I was feeling - I had survived so much, giving up was not an option I was willing to accept. I was already a dance teacher and choreographer, but I wanted to learn even more (because knowledge is power) so I became a Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor, specialising in the Core and in pain management. I dug in even further and started Wellness coaching. I invested in meditation, trying dozens of different types, and about the concept of mantra. I studied breathing techniques and experimented with stretching as well. I learned the science behind it all. I also worked with a range of traditional and holistic health specialists to find a combo of foods and supplements that work for my system.
I knew dance had a huge impact on lowering my pain. I learned about what it does to the brain, how it lowers cortisol our stress hormone. Once I had all the info I felt I needed I got on with life. And its been a very special life living interstate and overseas, choreographing musicals and music videos, running classes and meeting so many amazing women. Finally when I was in a position to, I built a program that combined the best of dance, fitness and wellness principles together and tested it. It became Corethentic, my business that I now operate in Brunswick and Richmond and also online.
Recently the doctors found another complex ovarian cyst which will need to be removed. I have such a good and in tune relationship with my body I knew immediately something was off, I could pinpoint it exactly. And because I invest so much into my health and believe I should be both an advocate and an example to other women as a fitness specialist , I got it checked IMMEDIATELY and there it was. I got to it long before it became a debilitating issue. I also shared the experience on social media choosing to override social stigma around women’s health. I will continue to do that as I go through surgery. And I have been able to keep running a physically active life emploing the very principles I teach to others.
What started as a nightmare for me many years ago, has become a driving part of my life’s work. Rather than feeling down about it, I now see it as something I was given for the purpose of being able to help others through it. If I must experience this pain, then I must be able to channel that into something beneficial. It’s made me realise just how complex the human body is, how tough women are and how much more we should be talking about it! And now I spend my days encouraging my clients to prioritise their health, love their bodies no matter what and to seek answers rather than silently suffer in pain- and we do this through physical and emotional wellness techniques. So in a weird way I’m grateful for what I have experienced as it’s made me stronger, more empathetic and kinder to others. My body is not my enemy and I am not “less than” or “broken” in any way. I will leave you with one of my Mantra’s, perhaps it will help you too!
"I am thankful for my body because I live in it. It’s the only one I will ever get. So I will love it fiercely, I will protect it, I will nurture it, and I will allow it to evolve”.
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