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Recovery and Rehabilitation

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4 years into the looking

Hi guys.. I did the looking four years ago, and I've tried to write a post so many times, but just could not find the words. Something compelled me to write this account tonight so here goes.

The first thing that happened to me in the first week is that I no longer had any interest in spiritual matters, it just vanished, so I gave all of my spiritual books away. Then after about 3 weeks things went crazy and I suffered more physical ailments more so than physiological suffering, although some of that did heat up more, I went through a very painful drug detox from prescription medication, which before the looking I wouldn't have dreamt of coming off,

I lost my job, my mam, and my financial independence, I developed insomnia, which I still have, and then developed facial neuralgia as well which I still battle with .. but somehow through all of this my life long depression just fell away and I haven't had medication for that for over a year, them thoughts just don't enter my head, I don't worry and obsess about things anymore, I stopped biting my nails, and I've always been a habitual nail biter since my teens,

I've developed new interests that have surprised me. Sometimes I can be walking down the street and the feeling of me just happens really strongly, without me even trying. I feel my emotions really strongly and can't stuff them down anymore. I have been practicing the attention exercise with the breath, but find it really difficult as the pain in my face and mouth tends to be bigger and pulls my attention to it, and I wondered if anybody else suffers pain and illness and how all of that fits into the looking, as it hasn't been talked about really. I'm sorry for the really long post and I probably haven't said all I wanted to, but it's took me 4 years to write this report. Love to all. Yvonne

Dear Yvonne,

Welcome to the forum! We are very happy to see your post.

All the things you reported are experienced by a lot of people who embark on the road to sanity and self-reliance: loss of interest in spiritual stuff, drug detox, life-long depression that just goes away, old habits of self-harming just falling away, relationships ending, loss of jobs, finding new interests in life...

The experience of very strong feelings is also common. This happens because your mind does not have the old defensive buffer that protected you from your own life anymore. You are now experiencing life as it is. You may also experience people's pain and suffering a lot more closely. The sense of being overwhelmed by it will calm down over time.

You are going through a huge change in your mind and body. It takes some time for it all to settle down.

I myself had a lot of physical problems while going through recovery. My respiratory allergies got a lot worse for while. I had dental problems and ended up having two root canals done, one of them completely unnecessary. I also started having a terrible pain on the right side of my face. It turned out it was trigeminal neuralgia, which apparently is not uncommon on women over 40. I don't know if this is the case with you, but it looks like it could be. Doctors usually will refer you to a neurologist, but the only thing they can do is prescribe pills. The only thing I know that effectively deals with this problem without producing any side effects is acupuncture. If the acupuncturist is really skilled, it only takes one session for it to go away. Keeping your sinuses clear also help. When my allergies get worse and the sinuses get clogged, the nerves get pressured and some of the pain sometimes comes back.

Regarding the insomnia, it is also not uncommon. But it will go away eventually. We have heard from many people over the years who had the same problem. Be patient with yourself. Sleep when you can. Take short naps, if you can. Try not to get anxious about not sleeping.

If it is hard for you to focus attention on the sensation of breathing when you are in pain, try something different. When you are in pain, close your eyes and move your attention like a flashlight into the pain. Try to see it up close. Just try to dive with your attention into the core of the pain, and kind of melt into it. It is not easy, because the whole body gets tense in the attempt to avoid pain. Instead, try to feel it fully, don't be afraid of it. Relax your body as much as you can, lie down, breathe deeply, and look into the pain. Investigate it. Where does it begin? Where does it end? You will probably only be able to do this for a little while, but keep going back, whenever you can. This exercise will not stop the pain. But it will teach you something about pain and your relationship with it will change.

I suggest that you read this thread here in the forum:


You could also use the search box in the forum and look for the terms "insomnia", "sleep", "depression", etc. Each of these terms will bring up a number of posts that may help you better understand what is happening.

Please keep in touch here. Let us know how things unfold from now on. You will be helping all of us.

I wish you all the best.



Thank you Carla for this post, it has helped me immensely, I have tears in my eyes just reading it... Thank you to you and john for bringing this wonderful act to the world. And yes Carla I have just had one root canal pulled and they say it is trigeminal neauralgia, which does also effect my sinuses, I will try the exercise you suggested, love Yvonne

One more thing that I would like to mention is that I also had recurring nightmares for a few years in the beginning of my recovery. The best thing to do when waking up from one of those is to not pay attention to it. It's safe to ignore it. Many of us have been so accustomed to assigning meaning to dreams that it may seem hard to ignore a nightmare. The whole thing doesn't really mean anything at all. It's just kind of a cleansing, I suppose. They fade away eventually.

Hi Yvonne, welcome to this forum, I'm glad you decided to post. As I just mentioned in another post, I felt like I turned a corner after four years, things began to settle, and I gained confidence in my experience with the looking. It sounds the same for you. I had recurring aches and pains and insomnia, and still do to some extent I have learned, as my mind quiets, not to focus too much on the little pains, as they go away fairly quickly. Actually it's less that I learned anything and simply instinctually stopped, now that I think on it.

I had several bouts of insomnia, one early on in the recovery, which was just nasty, I'd wake up crying and think I was dying. The second was more recent and lasted for about 8 months (I'm five years post-looking). There's a funny little story to this which I don't intend to attach too much significance to, but it happened. So I was not sleeping well and waking up every 2 hours or so. I often abandoned the notion of sleeping somewhere around four in the morning. I was grouchy, moody, somewhat depressed and all the rest, but still had the deeper sense of peace that comes with the looking, so I wasn't suffering too much. Then one night I just started sleeping soundly. The first time this happened, after eight hours of sleep, I excitedly told my wife about it! After about two weeks of sound sleeping I read an article on feng shiu, the Chinese theory of energy flow (which I am highly skeptical of by the way). I got the article in relation to my qigong practice, which I am not skeptical of... In the article they were saying that a mirror at the foot of the bed will disrupt sleep. I paused and thought about two weeks before, at the same time I started sleeping soundly, I had moved a full length mirror from the foot of the bed, on my side, to do some drywall work and had never moved it back. Like I said, I'm mostly a skeptic on most things, but I didn't move the mirror back and have been sleeping great since.

We we live in a mysterious world. Here's my take. The looking dispels fear and regeneration happens, as John and Carla state. Our regeneration response is idiosyncratic to our own context, DNA, life circumstances, hard wiring, etc. We are exquisitely unique. For me, I have found that to be a more fully functioning human, I need to eat a healthy plant based diet, move a lot, and engage in a meditative discipline which serves as helping to hone my attention and keep my body healthy and functioning. This is discipline is qigong. I, in no way believe this should be a formula for someone else who has looked. They may thrive on red meat and Pepsi whilst playing video games non stop. These activities and practices are not salvation or transformative, we don't need that, it has already happened. Our natural intelligence simply guides us to do what is best for our bodies and circumstances. The interesting thing is, I suspect all this keeps changing as we move through the life long process of healing our mind.

Just my take and thanks for sharing your story.


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