Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Healing, Part I

This time of year as darkness comes earlier and the shadows move through leaves that are constantly changing shades, I am reminded of the start of my disease. It is my favorite time of year because of the beautiful changes that occur, but the pain was not one of them. It invaded like an atomic bomb, and suddenly I didn't recognize my life. With every year, the pain intensified, and I didn't know how to survive. I woke up terrified of every hour and the pain it held. I would hope that the next hour would be better and would count the minutes until it's arrival, yet when it would arrive, the pain would be just as severe   Nothing could take it away, but I tried. Oh, how I tried. And how I failed.

There are two parts to healing from chronic illness. There is the strength it takes to propel yourself forward into a productive and purposeful life . And there is the strength it takes to forget and free yourself of all the shame, guilt, isolation and worthlessness you carried on your back up to this point. I can't explain why I've felt ashamed of and guilty for my disease, but I have. Those are common sentiments among individuals with chronic illness, not that it makes it any easier. In the past fifteen years, I can truly say this is the first time I don't feel shackled to those negative emotions. 

I don't believe there are more than a handful of people who know just how isolated I've been from the world, truly isolated. At the hospital, nurses and doctors alike make comments about how I don't look my age; that I look like a woman in my mid-20's rather than my late 30's. When you don't leave the house except to go to the doctor, your skin does benefit, but your spirit withers. And that's how I've felt. Like a withered flower who hasn't known HOW to be out in the world. And for many years, that hasn't mattered, because I've been too sick to do anything other than stay in bed. But I'm starting to blossom, from the inside.

Hope is a great source of life. It is to the spirit what the sun is to nature. It makes it come to life, makes it shine like a brilliant star. There is a light I feel from within that hasn't been there in fifteen years. I feel like I'm glowing. It's as though I'm coming back to life, physically, emotionally and spiritually. I am starting to feel well enough, and safe enough, to get out and about, to interact, to be ALIVE rather than just surviving. It's time to get out of my bubbleworld, even if it means that I will start looking my age. I've pulled the cord on the propeller, and I'm praying for a divine compass to show me what I'm meant to do and where I'm meant to go. But that's just part one of my healing. Going forward may prove easier than healing backwards. But I'm ready to try.