In my last post I mentioned that I have noticed that everyone has a moment (or week, or month, or year) in their life that they wish they could go back and change. This moment, as they see it, changed everything for them. There is a particular moment from my journey that is the hardest to shake- it is the one I refer to often here. It is the day this all began, the day I collapsed in my college dorm room. I am trying to see that memory differently, I'm trying to "reframe" it as we say in therapy world. To help myself (and you!) reframe these defining moments, I'm going to list things I wish I had known back then..things I wish I had told myself the moment my world was collapsing to the ground.
1) The next ten years are going to be the best and worst of your life. While in this moment you are shaking in pain, I promise you will smile again. I promise you will feel joy. You will laugh until tears are coming out of your eyes. You will also feel sorrow. You will be afraid to wake up in the morning, you will be afraid of how much pain you will be in. There will be days that you fear the future. Then, it will pass, and once again you will feel hope. The good days will become more frequent, and the bad days will become less and less, once you find what works for you.
2) Trust your intuition. Trust your body. Trust what you know. You are going to spend some time fighting with yourself on what is right for you. For years, doctors will tell you what they think is happening in your body, and you will find it difficult to believe them. They will suggest treatments that feel so wrong to you it will keep you awake at night. You will do your own research and find your own path, and sometimes people might question it. You will have blood tests done that speak another story. You will eat something you were told you aren't allergic too, and you will feel sick and question if you are crazy. You are not crazy. Your body is smarter than a doctor and smarter than a lab test, listen to it. If something doesn't sound right, it is not because you are afraid, it's because you intuitively know. Listen to your body, listen to your heart, they will not lead you astray.
3) There are some people who simply will not understand what you are going through. It is not your job to convince them. This will go both ways. There will be people in your life who see you pushing through school and work who will question if you are really ill. There will also be people who know how ill you are and question why and how you are working. It doesn't matter what they think. It doesn't matter what they think you should be doing. Only you can set your path. At the end of the day, if you can lay your head on the pillow and say you did your best, then that is your truth, whether you worked a 10 hour shift or had to call out sick. Trust your truth. You don't owe anyone an explanation.
4) You are going to meet the best friends you have ever had. For most of your life- no, all of your life, you have felt like even your friends didn't understand you or know you. Even when you were 100% healthy and could do everything else your peers could do, you always felt different, and you never felt fully accepted or understood. It's because you are different. One day, "different" will be a good thing. "Different" will help you defeat the odds. Different will help you help others. They will see that you do care, that you empathize with them, and that you know what it is to suffer. Being different, being more sensitive than others, and feeling more than people usually feel is the thing that will save you. It is the thing that will bring you where you are meant to be. You will meet the best friend you always wished for. You will connect with people in ways you never imagined. You will feel their pain and you will root for them and you will be able to tell yourself that it was all worth it, just for that moment when you know someone believes you truly understand them.
5) No one can tell you what your fate is. No doctor, no lab result, not the name of your disease or how you feel on this given day can define your fate. You define your fate. You do. People will try to limit you. I'm going to say it. They will. And it will usually be because they care and diagnoses bring about uncertainty and fear. Do not let other peoples fears cloud your reality. Do not let their "stuff" come into your energy field and skew your vision. You can have everything you want. You will have everything you want. You might have to work harder than you thought you would, and it might take longer than you like, and you might have setbacks so intense that you will wonder if you are crazy for trying, but you will get there. Keep trying. Keep going. You will never know unless you try. And if you try, and you cannot complete that goal, you will know you did your best. All that matters is your truth- your truth, and no one else's.
You are the hero of your story.
Never, never, never give up.