Sometimes we take our inspiration and encouragement from outside the anxiety disorder realm. Sometimes we find someone that had been knocked down HARD, yet found a way to stand back up and get back into the game of life on good terms. Sometimes that person does it in creative and inspiring ways. Then we can use that story and apply it in our own recovery person.
Today that person is my new friend Lora Plank Cheadle. Let’s listen to Lora’s story. She was totally shattered by the discovery of infidelity in marriage, then had to figure out how to get herself out of a very dark place and back to living life again. While she may not be talking specifically about anxiety, the lessons she learned and shares most definitely apply.
- After 23 years of marriage, Lora discovered that her husband has cheated on her for 15 of those years with multiple women. She was left shattered, not knowing what was real, questioning herself, not knowing how to trust herself, and not knowing what to do next. She was on the ground and out for the count.
- Lora describes her situation as going back and forth between blaming herself, blaming her husband, and being somewhere in the middle. In her own words, she often felt helpless, crazy, and overwhelmed.
- One important realization that helped Lora start to move forward was the idea that she could solve all the problems facing her, but that she did not have to solve them all at once. Accepting that she has to make incremental progress to get her life back was a key.
- Along the path to getting her life back, Lora had to confront her perfectionist tendencies and accept that they were not a badge of honor, but an obstacle to progress in many ways. Perfectionism lead her to seeing herself as a failure at times, which was not true, and not helpful.
- Lora was brave enough to see that even in a situation in which she was blameless, there were lessons she could learn about herself. Her willingness to explore her own flaws and weaknesses, and to let her inner spirit and courage come through (this can be scary!) was a key element in getting herself back into the driver’s seat in a productive and healthy way.
- At one point, Lora made a conscious decision to not wind up as an angry, bitter, resentful old person. This is a very big deal. Facing obstacles like she faced, it would have been too easy to choose the victim role and to hang on to anger forever. Instead, Lora really had to examine the person she wanted to be, and then she took ACTION to be that person.
- A former corporate attorney, Lora was and still is a burlesque dancer! Dance and movement has always been an important part of expression and coping for Lora and remains as such.
- Burlesque is a risk! There is risk of judgment by others. There is a risk of feeling exposed, un-masked, and vulnerable in front of large groups of people. Lora was willing to take those risks and learn from them. Performing at various stages of undress (burlesque is NOT stripping!) is a hard thing to do, but doing that hard thing teaches Lora lessons that build her sense of empowerment and competency. Sound familiar? 😉
- “What I have found, is that every time I lean into something that I’m terrified of, the fear of that thing is greater than the experience of actually doing that thing.”
- Now, Lora spends her time helping people turn betrayal of all kinds into lessons that lead to a flourishing life full of confidence and empowerment. Lora helps build a safe environment where people are encouraged to move through their fears in a playful, accessible way. Being betrayed by your romantic partner, your body, or your confused amygdala does not have to be the end of life as you know it. Lora is a great example of how things can change.
About Lora Plank Cheadle
Lora describes herself as a “life choreographer”. She has taken her experiences and the lessons she’s learned and applied them in teacher herself and others how to find strength and confidence in playful, safe, and and empowering ways. Find Lora online at https://loracheadle.com .
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Podcast Intro/Outro Music: "Afterglow" by Ben Drake (With Permission)