One young woman’s story of healing, in her own words...
Healing your skin with your mind.
I dedicated 2022 to solving a chronic itch that had caused me a lot spent energy and worry. It turned out, this skin issue gifted me something more valuable than I could have imagined.
2020 and 2021 were years of of sleepless nights, wrestling with a chronically itchy body, having friends diagnose me things like scabies, dry skin, heat rash, skin cancer.. you name it. I was completely baffled and completely humiliated. I thought I was healthy, but here I was itching from head to toe 24/7, loosing sleep, unable to concentrate as I would in a healthy and wholistic state. I was able to block out the pain of the chronic itching using methods such as deep breathing and distracting my mind. However, even with all these tools, especially at night, these methods just weren’t solving the root cause.
I have a bit of an obsession with fixing problems when I know they are looming so I tried so may possible solutions. I tried Steroids, fasting for 5 & 7 days, various moisturisers, moved cities, changed environments and finally I had enough. I was convinced it was some kind of physical skin condition that had a simple out of the box solution. I just didn’t know what the condition was. It was time to see a dermatologist.
I went through the traditional process by visiting the GP to get a referral, my original doctor mentioned that appointments with dermatologists take a while, handed me a piece of paper and got me an appointment for 8 months’ time… all I could do was wait. Coming from a traditional western medicine background, I’m sure she thought I was a hypochondriac. In the meantime she told me to use moisturiser and hydrate. I left feeling hopeless.
After 2 months had passed, I was going crazy with the itch and feared what would happen to my skin if I kept scratching so vigorously. I thought I’d go to get a second opinion. I found a new doctor – a male doctor – His name was Dr Kato and he has experience working as a dermatologist in the past. I went to see him and described my symptoms. Instead of telling me to use moisturise, I was gleeful as he was curious and asked more questions about my lifestyle. He even pulled out his text book on skin diseases that I can only assume he used at university. He was concerned about me and with a perplexed look on his face recommended that I go to a dermatologist, just like my previous doctor. I must have seemed distressed and anxious as Dr Kato quickly made a few phone calls and got me an emergency referral for the following day. Now, that is service! We need more doctors like Dr Kato in the world.
The Cornerstone Dermatologist
I sat patiently in the dermatologists sitting room, waiting for Dr Young Jin Kim from cornerstone Dermatology in Coorparoo, Brisbane. He called me into his office and I was SO excited . This was the moment I was waiting for! He was FINALLY going to answer all my uncertainties about my itch and tell me how to fix it. And that is exactly what he did.
I walked into Dr Kim’s office, he took one look and me and nodded slightly, took the tissue box laid it between us and asked ‘Jacinda, what is going on in your life!?’. I was shocked.. taken aback even. I started trying to respond, but I couldn’t. The tears were coming thick and fast.. like climate change had not only impacted the atmosphere but suddenly impacted the magnitude and intensity of my tears rolling down my cheeks and creating noticeable wet droplets all over my jeans.
He went on to tell me, he knows why I was there. But how!? I hadn’t told him anything, I hadn’t even opened my mouth. He told me after 26yrs as a dermatologist he has seen this condition a few times before. The wounds on my skin that were caused by itching, he could recognise as easily as I could identify plants and birds within the Gondwana Rainforest. He could see through my determination to keep it all together. He knew.
He told me I had a condition that was caused by my mind. My itch was due to stress. The only way I could fix the problem was by fixing my mind.
Fixing my mind
Deflated, I went back to life, trying to keep it all together. I had been seeing a psychologist for a year at this point and I was still yet to make it through an entire session without sobbing uncontrollably. Something was wrong. Eventually, she diagnosed me with PTSD and all I could do was accept it. I tried going back again and again.. but nothing seemed to change. Depressed and anxious, there was no progress and no luck. Even though my psychologist was world class, she couldn’t help me. I wanted to fix my skin, but how could I do that if I couldn’t make progress towards fixing my mind.
The Emerging Leaders Retreat
Out of the blue, my friend Ash asked me along to a raising consciousness leadership workshop called Emerging Leaders in Tasmania with a Beautiful Woman called Mary Dwyer. Although I had mental health problems, I’ve always been exceedingly positive and investing in personal growth has always been a no brainer. I read the description and the final sentence was along the lines of; ‘if you don’t know what you want to get out of this experience then why not sign up and give it a go. What do you have to loose? ‘
So I went. I went along with a healthy amount of scepticism, and partially confident that this was a path that will cause me to pivot.
At the end of the weekend, I did not regret 1 minute of my time and energy investment. I had not only a renewed understanding of the pathway to becoming an exceptional leadership, but I also had an answer to my skin problems. Trauma. PTSD is a Trauma.
Within the course, Mary mentioned that trauma councilling should be a non-negotiable for leaders. The act of healing trauma stops you from running away from life in fear and transforms you into a position to run towards the things you LOVE. With a recommendation for Sally Wilson being one of the best Trauma Counsellors, I signed up in a heart bear and Sally was so keen to have me start with her.
I started working with Sally when I felt completely shut down. I was run down. Burnt out. I didn’t back myself and I didn’t believe I was worthy.
After just 3 sessions, 6 hours in total, Sally completely transformed my world. Using the TRTP model, Sally led me through trauma counselling with kindness, grace and respect. At the end of the training, I finally realised what It meant to lean into LOVE. To have energy. To have the choice to engage in what I FELT I wanted to engage in. To be confident in taking risks in my personal, professional and recreational life. And finally, to realise that I was more than enough just as I am, the only opinion that mattered to me was my own.
Just like that my itch was gone. I haven’t had a problem since.
After the 3 sessions I felt Fantastic. Everyday, even a few months later, still continues to get better. I have all this new found space in my brain, heart and spirit. I feel free. Liberated. I have energy to invest in my passions again.
Having more of a grounding in who I am, has meant that dealing with conflict is easy now. I’ve noticed that with the grounding and understanding that Sally helped me achieve, I have been able to bring silence to the chaotic emotions around me and positively influence the mood in my surrounding environment.
A lot of the situations that would previously cause me stress, panic and sometimes to spiral into depression, don’t have any impact on my emotional response now. I choose to live my life as I wish. I feel content, joyful.
Sally completely changed my life and my views of the world. I truly believe the work sally does is second to none. Sally helped me shift my fundamental beliefs and invest in my own personal wellness. Sally helped heal my skin, through helping me heal and shift my mind.
Sally gave me the tools to continue to lean into LOVE and to invest in my passions. If you’ve thought about working with Sally, just say yes.