• Val Uchendu

Loss of Health

Updated: Jun 20, 2018

Dealing with the onset of an illness is frightening and dispiriting. We trust our bodies and our minds to carry us for as long as we live, but when we get sick, we feel betrayed. Betrayed by the silent broken agreement. We begin to agonize over why me, when did it start, how did I miss it? Soon, we are lost to fear, because we do not want to be in the present. We allow fear to take us into the past with regrets, blames, shame and anger over the LOSS of our previous state of health. We want and desire the past so much, because the present is too much to bear. Yet we are expected to keep our integrity as human beings with this knowledge. This can be a very difficult time for anyone, but you can make it through to the other side whatever that side becomes. Below, I talk about different ways to acknowledge the finality of previous healthy state of either mind or body, and begin to heal, to grow, and ultimately become profound through this experience.



Self-blame

One of the hardest things being ill is that we often blame ourselves. It’s our body, so we think it’s our failure. Whether your illness is related to mental health or physical health which could range from depression to chronic illness to cancer. You’ll certainly at some point wonder what you’ve done wrong, what’s wrong with you and why this is happening to you. Nothing is wrong with you as a being! You are human, and our body isn’t perfect, but our spirit is. Self-blame is okay, but don’t stay in it too long. It’s your mind taking a break from the reality, the problem at hand or in real time because of fear. It uses blame to give you that break. But you must get what you need from the blame to face the finality of a past healthy state (in case of chronic illness) or interim finality of healthiness (in case of short term illness). You must come back to now… to embrace the present. Spending too much time wondering “why,” will give you moments away from reality, but that’s all that it is, moments. You must use that reboot to ready yourself for reality. Take a beat but know that it will neither help you survive through this nor begin your healing. It will only trap you in a whirlpool of negative thoughts, what I call, “stagnation of emotion.” This illness has happened, it’s here, it is a part of you now and if you don’t face it squarely or engage it by learning about it, learning your options and possibilities, the only way you’re going is worse.


However, you must be gentle with yourself and accept your limitations, whether that limitation is lack of knowledge, information, tools, plans, options or opportunities. This acceptance opens you up for healing to begin… healing of the body and mind. I’ll end this part with this statement,


“No matter what the doctor does, or what medication you take, if you don’t believe in your ability to heal yourself from within, you will neither recover nor heal.”


I’ve seen this several times in my practice as a Registered Nurse. Accepting your limitation and being open to possibilities of healing is the key to growth.



Stay positive

Go easy on yourself. There will be good days and there will be bad days. Don’t try to pretend that this isn’t happening—to heal, you must be present because your illness is in the present.


“You cannot heal in the past, you cannot heal in the future… you can only heal in the present… moment by moment, day after day.”


Think about what you can do for yourself in the present that will be useful to your healing. It might be mental rest such as meditation, sleep, music, reading a favorite book or playing an instrument. Or it might be physical, something less exhausting—because you need the energy for healing. If you have the energy for it, go for a walk, meet with friends, or go to a museum. Don’t burden yourself with obligations or timelines. Work will be there when you heal and recover. Embrace the things you can control… yourself, your thoughts, your words and your actions. Take it down the notch to simple things—such as breathing, eating healthy, drinking water or healthy juices, sleeping enough and being around positive people that edify you, not exhaust you. This is a time for you, a time for you to love yourself. Give to yourself, be gentle with yourself, be kind to yourself and heal yourself, so that you may start to grow.



Reach out for help


“Growth is the reason for our existence.”


However, to grow, we must include others. Don’t do all this work on your own! You may feel shame or loss of control at your condition and worry about burdening friends and family with what you’re going through. But it’s essential that you have a support system to lean on. Illness can affect your loved ones too. It’s best to talk with them, to share your feelings and let them know how you are doing and how they can help. If you are up to it, to let them share their feelings too. Speak with a professional, a psychologist or clinician, if you feel like you are losing control. Or find a support group of people who are going through or have gone through what you are going through. People with similar experience. What you’re feeling may be hard for your loved ones to understand, as much as they want to help. Be aware of that and don’t become dependent. Remember healing comes from within, but growth is learning to include others. Help yourself grow through this time so that ultimately you become profound from this experience.


Illness transforms you, but it’s an opportunity to become stronger, to make a difference and become profound. You must stay alive to survive, you must survive to heal, you must heal to grow, and you must grow to become profound. Stay positive, even if you feel lost, remember you are already found. Your spirit is perfect and can never be affected by illness. Let it feed you so you may regain control over your life. Being strong doesn’t mean stoic, it means finding the strength and resilience to persevere today, even when you’re uncertain about tomorrow. It takes strength to be vulnerable, to accept limitation, confide in others and to be open to new you, healing and growth. Everyone’s timeline is personal, but you will heal or learn to live with it and you’ll thrive again, if you take it moment by moment.

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