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Coping with Chronic Illness: Dealing with Doubt

Lately my health has been extremely challenging. The ups and downs of this chronic illness roller coaster are hard. The ups aren't really all that high but any day of feeling even halfway decent is a huge contrast to what I normally feel like these days!

I have been deeply studying the book "Mind Over Medicine" and the docuseries "Rewired" which are both about using the power of the mind to heal the body. If you have ever studied the placebo effect, it is very clear that our mind plays a very powerful role in healing our body. We don't need to take a fake medicine or have a fake surgery in order to tap into the power of the mind to heal.

I have changed my thinking quite a bit trying to use these resources as a guide. Last month for the first time I truly believed with all my heart and not a single seed of doubt that I can beat these illnesses. Until this point there has always been a seed of doubt and a questioning of if this was something I would be dealing with for the rest of my life or something that I would conquer.

This was a major shift for me and I started watching Rewired episodes multiple times a day to constantly feed my mind the information to help me have a better understanding of how to heal. I felt like I was doing better for a couple of weeks but then I was under a lot of stress and my health just crashed overnight. It's been a few weeks and I just can't seem to get back on my feet no matter what practices I implement.

This morning I started the day with one of the Re-wired meditations but I ended up spending a lot of time on the floor today. Almost every time I stood up, I collapsed to the ground after about five steps. As I spent a lot of time staring at the ceiling, the doubt crept back in. Not just a little doubt, a whole lot of doubt! As I looked in the mirror today, I saw a different person. I have lost 11 pounds this month and my bones are starting to stick out a bit more. I am not only feeling my body decline but now I am watching it deteriorate in the mirror. That made me feel even more doubt.

"The view of nearly every collapse today, staring at the ceiling. Not the most flattering photo but this is the reality behind chronic illness. A good day, nobody knows I have issues but this is life behind the scenes."

I know that this is not a good headspace to be in. To me the antidote to doubt is hope. Hope doesn't come very easy when you are full of doubt. I normally try to spin things immediately and try not to dwell on things but today, it was difficult. I have tried so many different protocols, prescriptions, natural remedies, herbal medicines, and outside the box ideas and my health is only declining. I take better care of my body than anyone I know and just can't seem to make progress.

What makes me think that I can completely heal and gain a normal lifestyle back again? In this moment, I am truly not so sure but these are the first three steps I am going to take to remove the doubt and get back on track with my hope and optimism:

Goal Setting: This one has been tricky with chronic illness because I am used to developing SMART goals which have to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Specific. With healing, that isn't really possible in my experience. Healing is not a linear path like other areas of life. I may not be able to set SMART goals in relationship to healing but it is still important to set goals anyways.

Goal setting for me in regards to my health is now taking time to create a vision of the future healthy version of myself I would like to see. At this point I am hoping I will reach a whole new level of healing by the end of 2021, so I do have that timeline in mind. As much as I would love a spontaneous healing, I imagine my healing will most likely come in gradual phases.

  • I hope to get the POTS under control first and no longer be collapsing and passing out.

  • I hope the tachycardia and nausea will go away and I will regain my appetite and be able to go for road trips and long walks again.

  • I hope that I will be able to eliminate the night sweats and regulate my body temperature so I am not going from burning up to chilled to the bone throughout the day.

  • I hope to gain more energy, strength, and stamina to go back to my everyday activities. I hope this means I will no longer pay for every action I take.

I close my eyes and see myself in the future and try to feel it with every cell of my body. I feel happy, elated, and energized. I try to feel it with all five senses. I imagine what I would be capable of doing with a healthy body. With this I also try to envision my business at the level I could truly achieve without physical limitations. What I do for a living IS what brings me the greatest joy, so being able to do it to my full capacity is extremely important to me.

I then think about the steps that are necessary to bring me closer to that goal. I know I have to eat right. I know I have to meditate and practice self care. I know I need to take my medicines and supplements on schedule. I know I have to regulate my activity levels and listen to my body daily. Keeping a schedule is not ideal - listening to my body each and every day is necessary. This helps keep me motivated and on track with my wellness routine and holistic lifestyle. It also helps me set a more realistic work schedule.

Acknowledge the present situation: Many times what trips me up is trying to hold myself to the standards I had when I was completely healthy. I still try to live a very full life and be as productive as possible. The problem is that I now have limitations. My body pays the price for activity levels, hours of work, and levels of stress. Time and time again my doctor has lectured me for doing too much and causing my own setbacks.

It is important to acknowledge where you are at in this moment and not fall into the comparison trap of what you used to be able to do. Given the present situation, what are you capable of now? What can you offer and contribute to the world and to your loved ones given your current circumstances? You can still contribute and have a meaningful life and that will make you feel more hope, joy and gratitude.

Affirmations and EFT: Using affirmations and/or the Emotional Freedom Technique can help you shift your mood and mindset in less than ten minutes. This has been one of my most helpful tools for coping since I learned about it this year. I think the combination of the tapping of the meridians and the transition from the negative thoughts you already have to the positive affirmations you truly want to have, all combine to bring you into the present moment and improve your mindset quickly.

I have done a couple EFT videos on YouTube already so this time I thought I would just stick to the affirmations. I know EFT can be a little weird for some people and may not resonate but this video will just help guide you through coming to terms with the thoughts you already have, make you feel less alone on the journey, and help you focus on the goodness you do have.

I hope these three tips could help you on your journey and that this guided practice could help bring you a little peace of mind.



Listen to the Podcast with Major League Nutrition Part 1
Listen to the Podcast with Major League Nutrition Part 2
Read the Interview with MysticMag

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