May was a very interesting month for me personally. And by interesting I mean I health took a strange turn. For several weeks I was in and out of the hospital with very mysterious symptoms that were as scary as they were debilitating.
There was the obvious struggle of feeling so bad. And then there was the anxiety that something was really very wrong. The fear that it wouldn't go away, or that it would get worse. The fear that I would be unable to return to work. The feeling that I was letting people down. The concern for the studio. I felt helpless, confused, frustrated, and afraid.
There was a time when anger would have been included in that list. Those who know my history know that mystery illnesses are nothing new to me. It took 9 years of hospitals and doctors to diagnose my Celiac disease, and those 9 years were hard. I felt like a victim. I felt betrayed by my body. I felt trapped in a body that was broken or punishing me. I felt like nothing made sense, and my body was not to be trusted.
It has taken many years for me to repair my relationship with my self. The process of feeling safe in my body and my sensations has been a long, ongoing process. I have had to come to terms with the distrust and anger I felt toward my body. It has taken a long time to realize I am not broken, but healing.
So to be thrown back into the spiral of mystery illness has been a real struggle. It speaks volumes to me, however, that the lessons I've learned and practiced in my healing journey stand firm in that I feel so much more capable of being present with my self and my situation without anger and judgement. There's fear, definitely, but I'm working on that too. My experience has taught me 'the 3 C's' that I learned in order to change my perspective work - for myself as well as my relationships with others.
Curiosity - When I approach a situation with curiosity, I can take a step back and look without judgement. I can disarm feelings of anger and fear and take a broader, more dispassionate view. I can excite my creativity and swim in the 'what ifs' rather than wallow in the resentment of 'this shouldn't be happening.' I can become inquisitive as to how to help rather than getting caught in blame.
Compassion - It's hard to love someone who hurts you, until you realize that pain begets pain. As the saying goes, 'hurt people hurt people.' If we can see past our immediate experience we can find compassion for the situation of those we may otherwise judge and blame. It took a long time, but I've come to find that our relationship with ourself is no different. If my body is hurting, there is a reason. It's not trying to punish me. It's not being disagreeable. The pain, the symptoms are my body's way of communicating with me - a cry for help. I may not understand why and I may not know what to do, but if I can hold my experience with compassion there is a lot more room for healing.
Cooperation - Once the first 2 C's have been discovered, it's much easier to take on an attitude of, 'we're in this together. Let's teamwork our way through this.' This is far more useful than the victimization, blaming and distrust I felt toward my physical body for many years. The more curiosity and compassion I can bring to my present experience, the more ability I have to feel like I'm working WITH my body rather than against it. Add to that my loved ones and health professionals who are all supporting me and the feeling of isolation eases considerably.
Believe me, I still wish this mystery illness wasn't happening, or that it will go away for good! But for now I have to support myself in my healing and do everything I can to live with uncertainty and unexplained symptoms, and the 3 C's are helping me do that. I share in the hopes you find them useful as well.
Wishing you happiness and health!