You're always fine

[Bite of Balance] Reflect, realign and rediscover

March 14, 2024 Even Health Season 2 Episode 8
You're always fine
[Bite of Balance] Reflect, realign and rediscover
Show Notes Transcript

Have you ever felt like the person in the mirror wasn't quite the one you remembered? On this week's Bite of Balance, we tackle the unsettling yet universal phenomenon of identity loss. I, Teresa, get intensely personal about my own encounter with this beast, sharing the journey from a career-altering injury to the all-encompassing role of motherhood. Life's unexpected twists can sometimes strip us of our familiar selves, but together, we navigate the murky waters of redefining who we are when the ground beneath us shifts.
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This week’s source notes:

Symptoms of loss of identity

https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/identity-crisis#outlook When loss of identity becomes an identity crisis.

https://www.betterup.com/blog/identity-crisis

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Speaker 1:

What's up everyone? This is Bite of Balance, your weekly snack size therapy session. I'm your host, teresa, and today's Bite is all about loss of identity, how it happens and how we can deal with it and move on to become exactly who we are meant to be. So if you missed that episode, be sure to check it out, but for now it's just you and me, so let's freaking get into it. Alright, before we jump into this, let's take a moment to ground ourselves.

Speaker 1:

When talking about a loss of identity, just know it isn't picky. It can strike at any age, any person, any gender. It's that unnerving feeling that creeps in when life takes a sharp turn, leaving you questioning the very essence of who you are. So buckle up, it's about to get real.

Speaker 1:

I think everyone at some point in their life, deals with having to reinvent themselves because the version of themselves they thought was forever no longer is. I remember in my early to mid-20s I was working as a cardiovascular specialist. I was the breadwinner, I had a two-year-old son, and life was going exactly as I expected it to, until I got hurt at work, which left me with a career-ending injury. The weight of losing that part of myself was so difficult. That injury not only took my job and passion for helping people, but it also took away a sport I have loved and participated in my entire life, since I can remember the immense sense of loss I felt was something I had never experienced before. It was like I didn't know who I was anymore or who I was now supposed to become. Identity loss looks different for everyone. For me, it was my job in sport, but there is loss even in other things, such as motherhood. As a mom myself, I can definitely speak to this. I think people don't like to talk about losing yourself during motherhood, because it gives motherhood a negative connotation. But let's be real, because that's what we do here. You can love your kids and still recognize that they are all consuming. I have two boys, but there was a period of time where I realized, wow, my entire world revolves around them and look, that's natural. But you also need to make sure you save space for yourself, even if it's just carving out 10 to 15 minutes of your day for you to do something that brings you peace and reminds you of who you are. Remember and I hate remembering this, but it's true your children will eventually grow up and move out and you don't want to be sitting there in that moment wondering who the hell you are.

Speaker 1:

I think a key point here when you're talking about identity and losing a piece of who you are is you need to actually allow yourself to grieve that loss when it happens. At the time, I was in survival mode. I had just lost my career and my income and my health all at once. I was in fix it mode. What I should have done was let myself sit with the feeling of loss and accept it and then move forward. It's important to do that and recognize that losing something that makes up who you are is hard. The only way you can move forward and reinvent yourself is if you allow yourself the space to grieve. This is important because, more often than not, you will experience loss of identity more than once in your life and you need to be prepared and learn how to cope with that loss.

Speaker 1:

Once you allow yourself to grieve that loss, it's time to start redefining your self-worth and your values.

Speaker 1:

Start thinking about what defines you at a value and behavioral level, what things are important to you and I'm not talking about the things like a home or a car, but things such as morals, things that you can use to help define who you are at your soul. Find out who that person is so that when you lose something, like a job or a sport that you felt defines you, you can go back and realize that those are just external things you love and not actually who you are at your core. So, as always, we like to leave you with a little take home tool or some homework, if you will. Actually, we're not going to call it homework, let's call it self-work, because it's important to invest in yourself. So for your self-work, we leave you with a compass, not the one you get lost in the wilderness with, but a mental guide to navigate life's storms, define your values, list the behaviors and live them out loud. When the waves of change hit, your compass will be your true north. Until next time I'm out.