Things I have learnt from having a physical illness

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Life is full of surprises.

What do you learn in life when you have something and it is taken away from you?

What if you got the exact opposite to what you had or have?

These are things I have learned…..

It’s not just Physical – it’s emotional, mental, spiritual as well as physical. You have been re-cast as a character in the stage of life that will see you learning and experiencing life on a multitude of challenging levels. You need time to grieve over your old life and learn how you are going to create a new life. So you go through a myriad of emotions such as denial, anger, sadness, and acceptance of events. In ways you have to learn to reinvent yourself and life to something you are comfortable with. I also believe on a soul level I chose this, and it has been triggered for a learning reason (I do think I understand the themes) and I gracefully accept this journey as a good student.

Relationships – People you know or don’t know feel either awkward around you and have pity, or they feel inspired and see you as the wonderful character you are. Some will take you for granted because they operate via Ego, and see you as someone they can take power away from (i.e in the workplace for example) and others who have deep gratitude for the person you are and the qualities you bring to their life. You realise that even in your hardest times, those closest to you will not support or always stay with you, so you have to learn to have a relationship with yourself again, and maybe that is a good thing because you forgot about that person a long time ago. I have learnt that illness shows you a mirror of things in your life, reflecting back what you never saw before, and in doing so you see things around you with new eyes.

Going from a spontaneous soul, to having to plan activities you ‘can do’ is difficult in social circles. You feel like you are living a lie, because even though my inner spirit screams out wanting to do things, sometimes it’s not possible. You are envious, your soul and body cries inside, it wants to go horse riding, it wants to go hiking, it wants to jump out of a  plane or go roller skating or rock climbing again!. In these moments when it’s just not possible to do something, I have to say ‘No’. I’ll be honest, and I will tell you why. It’s not personal, I’m just as disappointed, if not more, than you may be.

Appreciation – when something big is taken away from you, the small things become much more meaningful. You become more grateful for the ordinary things in life, things that matter, but we take for granted because they are always just there. By trading a life of being always on the go, for one of stillness, you see, hear, and feel things you never did before. Even though I’m already clairsentient and never missed much, I find I am even more observant and in touch than ever. I revere life, and I know things could be worse. I am truly in gratitude because the gifts I have received during the last 4 years have been the most heart and soul touching. They are things that can only be felt.

Fears & Limitations – One moment you have a health body and mind, and dream of doing amazing things yet too afraid, and in the next you have an unhealthy body, which limit those dreams, and you think “OMG, there was absolutely nothing stopping me before, when I am well, I’m never going to hold back!!! Why didn’t I see that!  I have found courage and I am no longer afraid”. You want to shout out to others “Why are you making excuses! don’t put off something thinking you will maybe do it sometime later, do it now, you have nothing stopping you – you have your health (that’s the biggest most precious gift of LIFE)”.

The big fears you once had become insignificant, you create new fears, small mundane fears that you would never have allowed or considered before. You realise FEAR is created in your mind, and that your mind is not you!

Determination & Self-Motivation – Oh yes there is an “I” in Team

You are the Team – in fact you are also the Team Leader, the Coach, the Player, the Referee!!! It all starts with YOU. Only you know how you operate, how you can motivate, how you can perform, who is best for you, and learn to make decisions. I have to motivate myself, as no one can make me feel as certain way without my wanting to. In adversity we realise just how strong we are. I can either give up of myself, on life, or I can be strong, and move forward doing the best I can.

Mental and Physical Energy – Even when it looks like I’m not doing much or moving little, my mind and body is expending an incredible amount of energy trying to move, keep the system running and protecting itself from possible pain which I don’t feel because I have a high pain threshold.A short walk, which when we are well we do without thinking (automatic pilot) is something I have to think through as my body doesn’t know what to do, and I have no balance. It’s hard work doing anything that I do!. A walk for me could be generating as much energy as stair climbing. So while many times it might look like I’m not doing much, I’m still probably doing more than most others. In fact for my own part I’ve lost weight or stayed the same the whole four years. I get fatigued mentally and I need more rest than I used to. Sometimes, I’m too tired to converse, write or chat, because the only time I get to switch off thinking and concentration is when I am asleep!

Reflection Time & Heightened Emotions – we all need time to be in our personal space. When we are full of emotions, such as frustration, hurt, grief or anger, do not take it out on other people who are close to you. It’s okay to feel anger or frustration but you have to find a way to release energy that doesn’t harm you or others. When you have been a self harmer (i.e emotionally) you have to find a way to dispel the energy, either through exercise, meditation or writing for example.  Illness or discord in life takes you on a journey of emotions – and initially there are a lot of tears that need to released. These start out as conscious as you work through, then may manifest later through the subconscious, via dreams, physical, spiritual or emotional therapy. Many illnesses have underlying emotional, or spiritual causes, that need to be confronted and released.

The Power of the Mind – you realise that the mind is a powerful tool and gift, and you need to use it every day to your advantage. A lapse of stress or letting people or events get to you, can crumple an unwell body in an instant! Staying positive and learning positive self dialogue makes each moment easier to deal with. I have learnt to decide how I am going to feel, and have to remind myself often. So every day not only do I train my body, but I also train the mind. I understand that we are truly capable of anything we put our minds to. I also believe we can impact our physical being through thought (which is energy). I believe my body (I) created this, and that I can un-create it, for everything in life is cyclic and transforming.

More importantly, I know myself better than ever before.

I am more whole and self authentic, even though it cannot be seen.

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6 responses »

  1. You’re so right; especially that an illness is not just physical. I wish most doctors would understand that and treat the body as a whole and not just the physical part of it. I’m glad that more and more countries have adopted the bio-psycho-social approach though

  2. Wouw, how inspiring Njari! Maybe the illness wasn’t called for, but it made you think about life and you -obviously- took the best out of it.
    I respect that a lot and it inspires me to see you sharing your experience on your blog. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Thanks so much – it’s important to share this experience. I’m learning and evolving, and in doing so shedding glimpses that others can learn from and maybe feel inspired by. BTW – your blog is coming along wonderfully, I like your honesty and precision in finding the right words or right information to share that has impact 🙂

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