As I created a family and built a life with my husband of ten years I never expected to be faced with illness so young. I had cleaned up my diet immensely and also got rid of most toxic chemicals in my home, I did yoga consistently and was flourishing. However, my immune system had other plans for me. Once infected by Lyme disease with a tick in my leg, my whole life shifted. I am truly blessed to have the support I needed to go through the healing process, which I’m still in, and luckily my body didn’t degrade as badly as many I have read about who deal with Lyme. During this journey I have met many beautiful people who also deal with physical illness.
It doesn’t matter what physical ailments you are currently experiencing, one thing is pretty much universal – it sucks. But does it have to all the time? Even when one is generally a positive person, the toll that it takes on the mind and spirit when the body is sick is tremendous. Social activities are limited or ceased, time with children is lessened since healing time takes precedence, families often break up over illness, jobs are lost, hobbies are forgotten, and even your physical appearance can tank.
I’ve struggled just as much as the next person with the changes that have happened in my life over the last three years, but I’ve learned so many things through the process as I’ve gone within to search for meaning. I mean, why is this a part of my experience? What are things I need to learn? How is this serving my life; what are the silver linings?
I invite you to consider the following things as you deal with your physical ailments to find some level of peace. I encourage you to explore the effect that emotions have on your physical health and how they can make you sick. Spend some quiet time with yourself or God and be open to the messages you receive about why you might be experiencing what you are.
1. There is Always Healing Support Available
Many people feel they hit dead ends with doctors and practitioners. Thousands of dollars are often spent while looking for someone to help with your health and wellness. I feel that I have a good doctor, research smarts of my own, and wicked intuition but I’ve still spent upwards of $15,000 in my healing journey. When one form of care doesn’t work anymore and all you are doing is maintaining a certain quality, or non-quality of life, then there is always something else you can do to find more healing. Cures? Maybe, maybe not. But there are many different types of holistic, conventional, and energy healers out there to make your journey easier. It does take time, money, and patience to weed through them and decide what is right for you, but don’t give up. The more research you do into how your body works, what it needs, what it is lacking, and what systems need to heal, then the more educated you are on your body AS A WHOLE and the more you can find to help it out.
2. Allow Your Priorities to Shift
There can be lots of anger, resentment, and disappointment wrapped up in being sick when you are missing out on things you used to enjoy. One of the biggest struggles for me was that I couldn’t do my treatments, or rest, AND clean my house most times. A clean house makes me feel organized, complete, and open, whereas a messy one does the opposite. It took about a year but I finally learned that my health and time with my kids were now my priorities. I only had so much energy in my “account” every day and I had to be careful how I spent it. I’ve spent many hours of reading and coloring time with my kids and that is what they will remember of me, not how clean my house was.
As you spend more time caring for yourself, learn to delegate. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! This is hard one for many, but asking for help does not mean you are weak, it means you are human and we ALL need help from time to time. Call upon friends, family, neighbors, and church groups to name a few. Ask your immediate family to be sensitive to the shift in priorities and ask them to pick up a little extra slack when needed.
3. Don’t Stop Living
A friend on Facebook one day commented on one of my posts and she told me that she has never known anyone to work as hard at living so fully while being physically ill. This was fantastic for me to hear. You see, on days I struggle with nausea, weakness, headaches or sensory issues, to name a few, I have been known to be all dressed up out dancing, singing karaoke, going to the park with my family, date nights with my husband, Halloween parties, and more. Granted, some of those times I’m more quiet and sit down more, or I might leave early, but I’m there; I’m there enjoying my life. Be it my stubborn nature or something else, but I simply refused to let this illness keep me from living my life. I have already made sacrifices to account for the healing I need, but it wasn’t going to ruin my fun! I have often had people ask me if I wasn’t pushing myself too hard, or why I do what I do while feeling so crappy. So, for my friend to acknowledge that I was working hard to maintain a quality of life that I liked, it validated me.
Our mental state about our health, or the lack thereof, makes or breaks us. I know that if I allow the dark days to overtake me, I’ll sink into a depression of epic proportions. Not only will this make my body more ill, but it can be really hard to get out of once there. We are all allowed bad days, just don’t unpack and stay there.
Listen to your body, but don’t let it dictate everything. Dealing with symptoms while at a party or a luncheon is not ideal but it is possible. To be honest, I find that when I’m living my life like this, I often get a relief from the symptoms because I’m distracted!
4. Find Your Silver Linings
There are always blessings in even the worst of traumas, we simply must be open to looking for them. Perhaps you never would have met your new best friend if you hadn’t been sick and at that doctors appointment or support group. Maybe you never would have learned about how the body works and how to care for it as well, maybe you never would have known the satisfaction that comes from educating others about disease. A few silver linings of mine include having had more empathy for my mother when she was hit with lymphoma, I am able to relate with a girlfriend who is quite sick when others have accused her of it all being in her head, I wouldn’t have had the many enlightening conversations with family and friends about the importance of gut health, how magnesium and vitamin D deficiencies make us really sick, or how to eat high vibrational healing foods, I have learned to slow down and quit being so busy being busy.
We might all prefer to be completely healed, some of us may reach that goal, and others of us might live our lives out while maintaining as best we can. However, there is a lot power in embracing the situation and working with it instead of against it.