I’m going to call you out on your bullshit right now. You may scoff and hate me for it by the time you’re done reading this, but I don’t care. If you have a reaction to the following that means it hit a nerve, and you’ve got some self-reflection to do. No matter what you eat, what supplements you take, or your diagnosis, you will remain chronically ill if you keep doing these three things…
No-No Number 1 – Ask yourself right now: How is your illness helping you? This can be a hard question to face. Think hard before you dismiss the idea. Sit down and write out ways that being ill is helping you. What was happening in your life right before you became ill? What were your repetitive thoughts? Possible answers might be…
I was overwhelmed with life.
I experienced something traumatic.
I just don’t want to try that hard (in life) anymore.
If I’m ill then I/others will have lower or no expectations of myself/me.
I want to be taken care of.
I want to be free of responsibilities.
I want someone to help me for a change.
I want someone to pay attention to me for a change.
If I fail at this I have an excuse/reason because I’m not at my best right now.
Sometimes we want to drop out of life for a while because we cannot handle it one minute longer. We may even be repeating under our breath “I can’t do this anymore”, “I don’t want to do this anymore”, “This has to stop”. Did you simply needed a time out to re-evaluate and make life changes?
This isn’t usually a conscious decision, of course, and totally innocent – so don’t beat yourself up. No one would wish to be ill, however, the body “somehow” complies with our secret wish for things to change. Why a better way doesn’t “happen” I don’t know. We must play the hand we’re dealt.
I am in no way what-so-ever saying that your illness “is all in your head”. I know first-hand that it is not. I have been on the receiving end of that implication and it is simply not true. Thinking you have to prove that you’re really and truly having physical symptoms, to justify yourself because you “don’t look sick” and your vitals are normal is a load of horse shit. You know the truth and that’s that.
What I am saying is that there is some mystical connection between our repetitive conscious and subconscious thoughts and what our body does. We need to examine these things so we can move on from a life in limbo and pain.
Are you using illness as an excuse or reason to avoid life or situations you can’t handle right now? Is there an emotional cause you need to address?
Are you simply unwilling to return to the hustle and busyness of pre-illness life? If the answer is yes, then perhaps you can figure out a way of living that is gentler on your health and that you find fulfillment in a way that remaining chronically ill is not. I believe that living in a way that is too busy, or too harsh, or interacting with the wrong people and doing things that we simply don’t want to do all contribute to chronic illness. Then, that time-out, if used constructively, can allow time to contemplate and build a lifestyle that will support, nurture, and fulfill. A life in which contributing and receiving are in balance.
Doctor’s say that 99% of illnesses are caused by poor lifestyle choices. (You can google this and read the many articles that come up about it.) I say take all the time you need to rest and rebuild while regaining your health without guilt or pressure but, beware of making it your comfort zone.
No-No Number 2 – Self-obsession, navel-gazing, head-up-arse syndrome, analysis paralysis, whatever you want to call it. Focusing deeply on yourself constantly will keep you from getting well.
The saying “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop” comes to mind. Treading the hamster wheel in your mind about everything wrong with you and your life – every symptom, feeling, and bowel movement – then talking about it to others incessantly will not only make you crazy, it’ll keep you stuck and drive people away. It will probably cause depression too.
Focus on other people and ask about them and their lives. Restrain yourself from going into a laundry list of what’s wrong with you and the minutiae of your life. Do you notice that when you talk about it people don’t really listen or understand? Or do they offer solutions and you have many “reasons” why they won’t work? Do you notice that talking about it brings up negative feelings within you? Stop! Stop talking about yourself and your health issues!
When you do think of it, stop yourself and think of something else.
Pay attention to things outside of yourself. Not a screen for hours, but anything else. For me, painting, writing, and walking all focus my mind on what I’m doing and not how I’m feeling or thinking. Start a project within your ability. Go outside and look at nature, sit there and really look at the sky, the trees, watch the birds, if you’re not well enough to walk around yet. Pay attention to the fresh air going into your lungs, the sun or rain on your skin, the sounds of the animals.
There is something that you can contribute, to give, to make life a little better, a little sweeter, for someone else. Yes, I know that giving too much is probably what helped create your situation, but you did it because giving feels good.
There is something you can contribute to society that will make you feel good and take you out of your own problems for a while. Find it, and do it for your own well being.
No-No Number 3 – Using the possessive when talking about your illness. Saying “MY this” or “MY that”. For example, I can’t because of “MY chronic fatigue” or “MY diabetes”, or “I’M sick”, “I HAVE a chronic illness”.
When I was ill, it helped me immensely to think of it as something my body is temporarily doing. It was not truly “me”. You can have an experience of illness without being ill, just like you can have an experience of standing in the rain but not being the rain. You get wet, but wetness does not become your identity.
In other words, dis-own it.
Do not associate your identity with illness – in your own mind, nor plant it into the mind of anyone else. Do not make it part of who you are. You are not a victim of some random lottery that chose you.
Take the emotion out of it.
Take your power back from the illness. Refuse to allow it to dictate your life any longer!
No one is coming to save you. There is no magic pill or wand that can be waved to make you well again. You’ve got to take complete responsibility for yourself if you want to be healthy.
How can Sloanespiration help you?
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