Deep Within – Truth Time

2 Jun

My friend sent me this the other day when I was having a particularly rough time. This is my current mantra.

I have frequently stopped to consider the profound impact chronic illness and disability have on my character and growth as a person. I have spent countless hours in and out of therapy wrestling to come to terms with a way of life that is so vastly different from the one I envisioned for myself. The past few months have brought significant changes and have given me a glimpse of what life could be like “if only” I manage to pull my body around to a state of complete health. I have been over-zealously researching, tweaking, charting, scheduling, reading, researching, researching, researching. My efforts have not been in vain, however, and I have noticed that I have more endurance, more stamina, and my GI symptoms have steadily decreased. Unfortunately, the more I research, the more I read about others out there who have spent 10+ years running circles around their symptoms and trying to solve the mystery of their failing health. It leads me to more questions, more “what ifs”, more second-guessing, more doubt, and more of the one thing that has always sent my body in a downward spiral: stress.

The past few weeks I have noticed less improvement and more of a plateau, and some days, I have noticed what feels like a decline. It has left me frustrated, scared, angry, and I am frequently beginning to feel as if there is little point to endlessly pursuing an answer that might not even exist. The intricacies of the metabolic pathways are numerous and even the best researchers barely scratch the surface with their understanding of how things really work.

Last week I had a “lightbulb” moment that was so profound; it sent a surge of adrenaline through my body. My thoughts burst into a stream of consciousness that included a picture-perfect future – health, medical school, a career. I had noticed that I had been having difficulty digesting certain fruits and vegetables and decided to do more research into why, which led me to discover phenol and salicylate sensitivities. I picked up a new enzyme to try, which seemed to be helping until I started noticing some side effects. It’s a balancing act this business of “eating” and it leaves me more and more frustrated as time goes on. Further research left me wondering about a depletion of sulfate in my GI tract, which would help explain the issues with intestinal permeability and sensitivities to so many high-phenol foods.

I was thrilled to have found something that might indicate I was on the road to a definitive answer with steps I could take to improve my situation. Except the more I researched, the more anxious I became. How will I ever figure out what is really going on in my body? How will I ever correct the mitochondrial dysfunction? Which treatment plan should I really be focusing on? And is it sound to pump my body full of artificially produced supplements and enzymes even if it supposedly cannot function without them?

I started to feel myself back-peddling to the “me” I was before all of this started. The me who is perfectionistic, high-energy, with high expectations, whose stubbornness surpasses all tolerable levels. Nothing was or is ever good enough for this version of me, and I felt myself quickly losing all of the lessons in acceptance, patience, and meditation I had worked so hard throughout the past couple of years to grasp. I was feeling unusually restless with all of this uncertainty the other day and thought about what one of my friends would tell me. This friend has known me for several years and has an uncanny ability to help me re-focus and re-center. I thought about what she would tell me if I sent a panicked “I am never going to beat this” text and realized she would tell me to do the one thing I was resisting doing the most: sit with it.

Sitting with feelings of doubt and uncertainty is incredibly uncomfortable. My brain and body want to be “doing”: researching, curing, cleaning, organizing, planning. Sitting with the feelings equates to defeat in my mind, as if I am admitting to myself that there is a possibility that I will not come out the other end of this tunnel fully healed. But that IS a very real possibility, and the more I sat, the more I came to realize that I am not running a marathon to a distant finish line labeled “RECOVERY”. Wellness is a journey and the journey is the experience. I have been so focused on my setbacks and aiming for this epitome of wellness that is unobtainable for even a healthy person, that I haven’t been able to enjoy my progress. MY progress. The progress I made by researching, reading, and implementing a plan that *I* designed on my own! That is a remarkable accomplishment and one that I am intending to take more time to appreciate in the next few weeks.

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One Response to “Deep Within – Truth Time”

  1. Heather Thomas June 9, 2012 at 3:33 pm #

    Read your post. To sum it all up, I think you’re doing a pretty good job. This is my opinion: I think you should have some of your friends help you research, and stuff; so it’s not all on your back. Wishing you more better days. Bye.

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