What My Illness Taught Me

I got very, very sick with Crohn’s Disease when I was 7 years old. I would be in and out of hospitals for the next 20 years, enduring excruciating pain with the disease itself and pain at the hands of invasive procedures. I would have 5 bowels resections in total, including a permanent ileostomy (the complete removal of my colon). I often felt isolated, different, compromised and helpless. There was one night before I went to bed that I was convinced there would be no morning for me.

My journey with Crohn’s was long. I was at the hands of conventional medicine which absolutely saved my life, more than once. I was also at the hands of a system that was not at all interested in what the mental/emotional roots of this illness were. I knew, at some point, that I had to figure out what turned on the Crohn’s gene within my body.

My doctors (especially my Pediatritions) always pointed to the fact that ‘stress’ can exacerbate this disease, but never ventured to dig any deeper than that. Since ‘stress’ is one of those annoyingly blanketed terms that can encompass anything from anger to lack of self-worth, their quick foray into my ‘stress’ wasn’t overly helpful.

After I had my ileostomy surgery at almost 27 years old, everything changed quite rapidly. My body would never again be the same. I was single and wasn’t sure what someone would think of my changed physicality. Something within me literally snapped and a part of me died on my surgery day.

The newly born me was a completely different person and not by choice. The ‘new’ me simply emerged, bit by bit. I began to ask questions of myself; of the Universe; of my version of God. Why? Why me? Why did this happen? Why did I need to endure this illness? Why at such a young age? What is the point of all of this? What is the purpose of my life?

Of course, the minute you start to ask the question ‘why’ is the same minute everything changes.

I began to discover how sensitive I was am. I began to uncover how sponge-like I could be. I would literally absorb the energies (positive and negative) of the people in my environment. I’ve always been incredibly intuitive and knew that, as a kid, there were things happening around me that were overwhelming and hard to handle. I wasn’t a big emoter, letting myself yell and scream and complain. So these things were taken in and held. I didn’t release them like a lot of kids would. I just wasn’t that kind of kid.

One of the things that I quickly learned as an Energy Healer is that the longer that we hold something within our bodies without ‘digesting’ it fully, the bigger, hairier, grosser and murkier it gets. It needs to take up more space within our bodies and winds up literally changing our chemistry.

When I began to heal my pattern of holding things in and being a sponge, I began to realize some critical things:

My happiness and security could no longer depend on the people around me
What other people did and said (even to me or about me) was a direct reflection of them not me
Letting go IS my life’s purpose (more on this in another post)
My body knows exactly how to heal and be healthy, given the right conditions (these conditions will differ from person to person)
Trying to ‘fix’ and ‘get rid of’ my emotional shit is futile. Meeting my shit square in the eye and surrendering to it is the only road to transformation
Being grateful for what I have in my life is like juicing for your mind. It changes the landscape of your outlook, day after day
Regardless of what my docs told me, nutrition makes a massive difference – so much so, that I’m now studying Holistic Nutrition
Being utterly and unabashedly honest with myself is crucial. When I snow myself, I lose. Simple as that.
These are just some of the things that my illness taught me. I’m so grateful. It made me the person that I am today. I couldn’t even comprehend who I would be without it.

If you are ‘fighting’ an illness, and if you were to ask me, I would say this: Stop fighting your illness. Your illness is within YOU. It has come to you as your greatest teacher. Rather than try to fight it or get rid of it, ask it what it’s trying to tell you. Ask it what it’s purpose is. Ask your body and mind how you can best serve it. It will answer. Be patient, and it will answer. Once asked, it has to.

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