We are so happy to welcome our friend Nancy Palagano to the CHOICE of NY blog. We thank her for sharing her voyage with us and hope those of you who are touched by her words, feel free to contact her through The Lotus Healing Project on Facebook…
A Beacon on My Voyage
It’s that time of year. A new course of life begins as we graduate high school and venture off to college with high hopes and dreams and purpose, waiting to be fulfilled. My course disappeared into the night back then. A piece of my soul detached and floated away like a chunk of a glacier does and my high hopes sank. Just like that.
Depression was the diagnosis at eighteen years old, and the reason I was hospitalized in 1977 for six months. Bipolar depression was the second diagnosis, two years later at twenty. I was hospitalized again for three months. These types of illnesses span at least a couple of generations on both sides of my family.
Recently, I became aware of the grief that was produced and suppressed during that very scary time in my young life.
There was grief about coming home from college after two weeks. Grief about medications and treatment plans I endured. Grief about being in a psychiatric hospital while my friends were away making new friends and having fun. There was grief about secrecy and unrelenting grief (and fear) from stigma. The most painful by far was losing the connection (inner and outer) to my very dear high school friends. Adjacent to that, and incredibly as painful, grief over not graduating from college with my degree.
One day several years ago I was sitting in my therapist’s office. A forty something, aware and credentialed professional. He said,” I just think you need to cry”. We both realized there was no treatment plan for these tears. Still I was not convinced of the genesis of this paralyzing grief. Albeit, I had some clues. Gazing up at his intelligently framed degrees on the wall, I felt a sadness expand inside me as the tears welled.
A few years before this final visit (2008), I was diagnosed with breast cancer and gratefully blessed with a successful recovery. I include this here because it awakened me to the grief and trauma that internally consumed me. Was all this intense grieving now just about the breast cancer? I had experienced a natural processing, an awakening and real acceptance. I was also aware of my aging process and current stage of life. Was this causing all the tears? I came to understand that the suppressed grief was also affecting the nature of my stage of life.
Close to forty years after the diagnosis of bipolar depression, its grief (and effects of its trauma) showed up and was abiding with purpose. Outing the original pain (deep feelings of loss, disconnection and denial) was revealed to be grief’s purpose. Not too long ago, I experienced a profound and transformational release of this grief and my inherent suffering. Course changing for my soul. I see it even in my eyes. I think for a long time I couldn’t let go because it’s what I so deeply identified with as “me”. My spirit and perpetual desire to be free of this suffering, the capacity to heal (as we all have) and a growing compassion for myself powered this renewal.
These, along with a steadfast commitment (not always practiced or on purpose way back then), became my constant companion. A beacon on my voyage through darkness, still waters, tsunamis and lightning storms. Even when I couldn’t see the light I knew it was there. For this I am eternally grateful.
Nancy Palagano is an Intuitive Channel with certifications in Neuro Linguistic Programming and Usui Reiki. She is also an Ordained Interfaith Minister, Writer, Speaker and Student of Life. You can follow her on Facebook at The Lotus Healing Project.