“If someone wishes for good health, one must first ask oneself if he is ready to do away with the reasons for his illness. Only then is it possible to help him.” ~ Hippocrates
Being chronically ill, it is easy for me to always have a reason for why. Why I’m late. Why I’m leaving early. Why I’m not going. Why I’m spending the day playing videogames. Being bloated and crampy, however is not my excuse. Up until a couple years ago “I’m not feeling well” was the most popular phrase out of my mouth. Sure I was not feeling up to par, but if I was honest with myself I didn’t want to do it anyway. In 2011 I had a great life. I had everything I had ever wanted. My dream husband, a gorgeous apartment, the ability to stay home and get better. But, I wasn’t getting any better. In fact, I was getting sicker. Frustrated, I scrounged for ideas on why my medicine and healthy living wasn’t working. I came up with the realization that being healthy scared me. It would mean not having any more excuses. Like many with a chronic illness I was using being sick as a crutch. It protected me from having to work, social gatherings, being late and house hold responsibilities. It was my go to reason why I wasn’t doing what I really wanted to do, which scared me. This realization took me back and the thought of being sick forever terrified me. All the things I wanted to do “when I got better” would never happen if I continued to be defined by my Ulcerative Colitis. I am a solid believer of Einstein’s definition of insanity, “Doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.” So, I threw caution to the wind and I quit talking about being sick. I began to say “No”. If you’ve never said an honest “No” before, I recommend you doing it. It’s very liberating and esteem building and it feels good. And feeling mentally good is a great way to start feeling physically good. Once, I decided that UC didn’t own my present or my future I was able to move on to other things that did. I began to strip away the layers of my beliefs of what defined me.
My road to getting mentally and physically healthy was a long and painful road, but if I had allowed myself to continue using being sick as an excuse I would have never experienced the freedom and liberation of being healthy. I don’t often decline invitations anymore and it’s because now that I’m feeling good, I actually want to do the things I never wanted to do before. I wished for good health and I was ready to accept the responsibilities that came with it and I got better. It’s been six months since the disease went into remission and every day I feel good I give thanks for feeling good. Any days I don’t feel especially well, I allow those days to be and I say “No” where I must.
“A further sign of health is that we don’t become undone by fear and trembling, but we take it as a message that it’s time to stop struggling and look directly at what’s threatening us. “― Pema Chödrön, The Places that Scare You