I was never much of an active person.
Even in the first grade, my primary school teacher noticed running around with other kids in PE was not my cup of tea and it was hard for me to keep up. So she’d have me look for chestnuts and collect dry leaves instead.
I was always a sickly, introverted child but no one made much of it. While other kids spent their summer holidays playing outside all day long, I’d stay inside reading all day long. It was just the way I was.
This continued throughout high school and university, books and music was pretty much all that I was interested in. However, it was time to start going out, and I did have quite an active nightlife, but I couldn’t drink or smoke, it made me too sick.
Then, sometime in my twenties, my health completely deteriorated. I lost 30 pounds, my hair was falling out, I could barely function and the doctors had no idea what was going on. Not only was my body in pain, I was sinking emotionally and mentally too.
My life turned into a series of doctors, tests, unsuccessful treatments, alternative therapies and basically living in my bed. I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue coming from an inactive immune system which didn’t recognize more than a dozen infections that had accumulated since childhood, including Mononucleosis, Coxsackie virus, and Candida which left me with very little strength to DO anything.
That changed everything – I had to go from doing, to just being. I had to start accepting and honoring the fact that living with chronic illness wants to teach me something different, something I’d never thought about before, and meet someone I never noticed before – the real me.
I’ve learned that whatever the situation is and whatever you are feeling, it is ok. If you can’t get up today, it is ok. If you can’t eat, it is ok. If you need to sleep 16 hours, it is ok. Respecting your body and your needs instead of pushing it until it breaks is smarter in the long run.
I’ve learned how to appreciate each day. If I am feeling well, I won’t squander my time, no, I will spend it on what matters, like spending time with my niece and nephew or cycling and getting outside. If I am not feeling well, I will respect that and enjoy the silence finding ways to help myself feel better.
I’ve learned I have to work around my body’s agenda, because my body won’t work around my agenda. I used to be a high school teacher, a high-stress job which was just too exhausting. So I’ve switched to working from home, with flexible hours and a peace of mind.
I’ve learned that being is completely different than doing – I’ve turned inside for answers, started doing yoga when I can, I’ve taken up meditation, visualization, and all kinds of spiritual practices. I’ve learned that being physically unwell doesn’t mean you have to be emotionally, mentally and spiritually unwell. When you start working on the inside regularly, the outside tends to improve.
I’ve learned to listen to others who are in pain and help them with advice and sharing my own experiences. Healthy people won’t understand what you are going through no matter how much they love you. I’ve learned to ask for emotional support and give emotional support to those in need. If you want to help others, there are a variety of courses at Royal Rehab College where you can get certifies diplomas.
It is a challenge, but a whole another way of being in this world has opened up. I still might not be a physically active person, but one thing is certain – I am the strongest person I know.
No matter what life has brought upon you, you must accept it and learn to live with it instead of complaining all the time. No one wants to be around a person who is spreading dark and negative energy. There is a good thing in every misfortune. Ask yourself – What good can come out of this? And I am sure you will find the answer. Focus on it. Make it be your rising star, shining on others. I did it through my writings.