“To truly heal, we need to create a healing space—physically, emotionally, and spiritually.” ~Lynn Keegan
Growing up, I never understood the importance of taking care of myself. I thought my body was invincible, and I treated it quite poorly. I stayed up late, I ate out a lot, I partied, and didn’t have a care in the world.
In my early twenties this all began to shift for me. I began experiencing all types of symptoms. My body was doing things I was embarrassed to share with anyone.
I started having eight to ten bowel movements per day, I was afraid to eat anything, and I lost twenty pounds in the span of two weeks. I was confused and scared as to what was happening to my body.
After missing countless days at work and taking countless trips to the doctor’s office, I was eventually given a diagnosis.
In February of 2012, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, which is an autoimmune disease with no official cure. It causes inflammation and issues with digestion. It can affect the physical body anywhere from the esophagus down to the colon.
As if being told you have a disease with no real cure wasn’t enough, my doctor found precancerous cells in my colon. This meant I was at high risk of having to get my colon removed. I was in my early twenties at the time, and my doctor mentioned he had never seen a case so severe in someone my age.
I faced a lot of resistance with this at first. I was caught up in my old ways of life, not really having to care about my body. I continued to punish my body through my old habits of drinking, smoking, and eating an unhealthy diet.
I’m sure you can imagine that this got me nowhere. Things weren’t getting better, and I finally realized that no one was coming to save me. It was up to me to turn this situation around.
This is when I started what I like to call “my path of un-doing.” I began to step into unknown territory—health, wellness, and taking care of myself.
Step by step, I started adopting healthier habits. It started with physical activity, which naturally led me to eating a healthier diet. I started to see improvements with my symptoms and knew I could discover how to heal even further.
I started to explore my mental health. I had been through a stressful situation prior to my diagnosis and was dealing with energetic blocks because of this. I was able to work through these blocks with modalities such as yoga, meditation, journaling, and reiki.
It didn’t happen overnight, but eventually my symptoms decreased from all of the work I was doing. Fast forward to today, and I’ve now been in remission of Crohn’s disease for the last six years. I was very lucky that I never had to get my colon removed, and I’m thankful for that every day.
If you are dealing with a serious illness and are having a hard time right now, here are three takeaways I learned from my own experience with illness that will help you move forward on your healing journey.
1. Focus on a holistic approach.
When I first started my journey, I only focused on the physical side of things, nutrition and movement. I also followed my doctor’s protocol and took the medications he prescribed. These changes helped to some extent, but there was still something missing.
I needed to work through energy blocks I was experiencing from my past. I needed to find healthy ways to cope with stress. I needed to find ways to work through challenging emotions that came up along my healing journey.
This situation taught me that we are more than just our physical selves. We are multidimensional beings, and because of this need to focus on the mental, emotional, and spiritual sides of ourselves as well.
Meditate and journal daily to tune in with your emotions and clear out blocks. Get clear on your why so that when motivation trickles down on challenging days, you have a strong drive to keep moving forward. Spend more time in nature to help regulate your nervous system.
Healing requires a holistic approach. There is no shame in taking medication, but it’s important to not rely on this alone. Focus on making shifts with your entire lifestyle to support yourself the best way possible.
When you focus on nurturing all aspects of the human being you are, you take your healing journey to a whole new level.
2. Be patient with yourself.
Your symptoms didn’t show up overnight, so you can’t expect them to go away that quickly either.
Healing takes time, dedication, and consistency. There were many times along my journey where I felt like giving up, or that my efforts weren’t paying off. I kept going anyway.
Some days you will feel like you’ve made major progress, and some days you will feel like you took five steps back. This is a normal part of the process. When you feel like you aren’t getting anywhere, take a break and reconnect with your why to help you regain momentum.
3. Celebrate the small wins.
It’s easy to get swept up in the “all-or-nothing” approach when you’re first starting your healing journey. The problem with this approach is that it isn’t easy to sustain it long-term.
The key to long-lasting results along your journey is taking small actions every single day. It’s the small changes you make every day that eventually lead to change and transformation.
Find something to celebrate every single day, no matter how big or small. This is going to help you stay positive about your journey and will help you build a new lifestyle for yourself that is actually sustainable.
Dealing with a life-changing illness is overwhelming and it can feel like no one understands what you’re going through. Trust that you are not alone on your journey and that you can make your way out of this. Your body was designed to heal, it just needs the proper environment to do so!