What can I say? Every time I think I’ve faced the worst of it, something crazier happens and then more of me realised just how resilient a human-being can be.
You see, over the last few months, I haven’t had the easiest time, even with all my ‘lessons’ and perspective on life. Once again, I got hospitalised in October because lo and behold, it’s winter, and unsurprisingly, this is a vulnerable period for those with chronic illnesses. Prior to that, for the first time, I’d been experiencing a form of depression and anxiety at its deepest levels, to the point where I was overthinking, all day, every day, too paralysed to move and having panic attacks about going out in public. It was like this for two months.
Anyone that knows me, recognises this is not a ‘me thing to do’. I think I’d just got to the point where I was fed up, sick of ‘fighting’ the constant ailments, tired of how easy it was for me to get ill, experiencing both physical and emotional pain like never before. The low energy was making me tired and I was in a vicious cycle of self-loathing, constant criticism and hated not having a ‘normal’ life. I kept telling myself I wasn’t out there living life, missed out on career opportunities, couldn’t travel much, hadn’t socialised for months and I had severe cabin fever. Almost every individual has some form of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), especially in winter periods, and with a chronic condition, its like that x 100.
And what I didn’t expect was to be put on a feeding tube for 3 months, this was the icing on the cake. And I couldn’t stop crying, every single day. Every ounce of pain I could feel, from the weak body, swollen throat, struggles at swallowing about 20 pills day, the emotional prison I’d created for myself thinking I’d be destined to this ‘low’ quality of life forever. I couldn’t even talk much to my own family, was silent, wanted to sleep and not wake up. That’s how severe it was. I didn’t think I’d be ending 2018 like this, especially after the year I’d already had.
But as always, it gave me ample opportunity to read lots and lots, get counselling sessions, work through my emotions and as they say, once you hit rock bottom, you have no where else to go but up. So I wanted to share my views and things that you can do, to lift yourself out of what seem like the darkest periods in your life ever. Plus an awesome reading list, that will help you get there.
- Radical self-love. It’s a strange one this, because it seems so obvious to many, but not many practice it enough. Especially in the age of social media, because we’re always expecting attention, likes, affirmations, confirmations and more from external things or other people. For others to validate how important or special you are. And the point is, that if you always expect someone else to give this to you and they don’t, you may perpetually be disappointed. You live with yourself forever, so its ever-more important to create a nourishing, loving environment yourself. Stressful, negative thoughts about yourself, can create more illness and physical manifestations. Metaphysics. Google it. Louise Hay is the self-healing queen. It’s hard to shift the mind-set, but worth working on. I saw a quote that said ‘ A battered, crumpled $100 dollar bill may be battered, but it is still worth $100’. DO NOT disempower yourself just because some other low-vibrational being doesn’t think you’re worth it or didn’t try, or judges you because you have an illness. I went on a bunch of TED talks, listened to YouTube videos, read more material on self-love. And let me tell you, it is mind-blowing how much your perspective on this can change everything. Recommended list of authors below.
- Healthy eating. I’ve written a ton about this and may sound like a broken record. But it really is true. You are what you eat. And my feeding tube proves this too. I simply wasn’t eating enough calories to maintain my weight. But before you judge, I always ate all my meals, it is just because COPD patients tend to burn up to 10 x more calories than average. This means I didn’t have enough reserves to fight things off. And not just calorie or weight wise, but nutritionally dense foods are so important. After all, food is Chi (energy), an important thing to fuel your body. You wouldn’t put the wrong petrol in a car would you? So it the same for a human-body. I’m not a dietician or nutritionist, but I do think each body is unique and requires experimentation and discovering what is right for you and your goals. Invest time in it, as well as a reminder that the right foods can actually facilitate a healthy mind-set, reduce anxiety, depression etc. Don’t become obsessed, be balanced, allow yourself to indulge from time-to-time, as you also need to enjoy life too.
- Facing pain. In times of hardship, we often try to avoid it through any form of addiction, whether it is alcohol, binge-eating, isolating one-self in your bedroom for months and months etc. Whilst these might seem like solutions to alleviate it (it is also a natural human tendency so don’t self-blame either), it really isn’t an answer and can prolong your depression, emotional and physical pain. We work so hard to avoid feeling empty but emptiness is essential. Allow that hole to widen. Let it eat you alive. The void is as important as the fullness. Because here you learn critical things- how to listen to your own inner voice more, how to understand more of what you do and don’t want, what truly makes you content and what is actually important, what to prioritise etc. Crying and being vulnerable is also a healthy way to shed pain. Let it out. As stifling and suppressing can be super unhealthy and bottles up or manifests itself in either in unhealthy levels of anger/violence, isolation or physical symptoms. Talk it out too. Many people idolise being ‘strong’ in the sense that control of emotions and not being vulnerable is to be put on a pedestal. And whilst it is important to maintain stability e.g. not cry over spilt milk, have a strong sense of identity or to not cry over trivial things, if you feel like something is bothering you and causing you immense pain, it needs to be expressed, released and let out. We also tend to put our thoughts into others’ heads. This can be devastating. When we cast other people as critics and villains in our inner dramas, this perpetuates our self-abuse and sabotages intimate relationships. When you create healthier inner-conversations in your own mind, everything else outside and relationships with others begin to change too. For so long, I thought of myself as being needy, a burden and a ‘crutch’ on other people. But those were thoughts I was creating myself. Is it true? HELL NO. In my previous relationships, I know I was the one doing everything I can physically and emotionally to keep everything alive. I am FAR from lazy and the most motivated I can be, given my physical ‘limitations’. Sometime I am too hard on myself and yes when I am severely ill from time to time, I may need physical help, but that is okay. I do not batter myself for it anymore, because I really can’t help it or control it. Its like calling someone with cancer ‘needy’ and not independent. People who love you unconditionally, regardless of what you have, are there to help. And that’s okay. Humans are put on this earth to be a community and to help each other. Not to be self-serving, selfish bastards. Also, partners will accept you for who you are, not what you have. An illness or anything does not define you, it’s just part of you and can actually make you a better person, because you discover so so much about what is important. Breaking through distortions are important. Notice your assumptions about how others see you and what they think of you. Do your stories about other people’s perceptions mimic your self-concept? Catch yourself and laugh about it. This discovery is so important. And the reason why facing pain and the full spectrum of emotions is key. Also a reminder, that you can eat healthy, work out at the gym 5 times a week, but if you don’t exercise your mind muscles, you will be just as unhealthy.
Key authors and list of recommended kick-ass people
Below are a list of my inspirational go-to people, simply because they are so uplifting, have the most positive, kick-ass view on life. Even if some of it is spiritual and woo-woo, I feel like, what would the other options be? To live in total misery and negative, debbie-downer mode? No, no, no. I’d rather live with the glass half full and see it the other way. After all, this is what we need to do to make life more fun, more worthy and every day special.
So here goes some suggestions:
- Ralph Waters, Infinite Waters. This man is one of the most awesome human beings. He has over 1 million YouTube subscribers and is a psychologist, lifecoach, author and many other things. Some people, when they first watch him, think he is a bit nutty. And he a little. But I LOVE his energy and concepts. His views are videos are really digestible and make total sense once you watch them. He does provide practical advice and lots of how to’s in the sticky areas of life as well as huge doses of self-confidence and self love.
- Tony Robbins. If you don’t know who he is, you’ve been living under a rock. He is also an American author, philanthropist and life-coach. He’s FULL of energy and does not hold back when it comes to expressing. And he swears a lot. But I love it. He often hosts conferences around the world called ‘Date with Destiny’ and does amazing things like help to ‘change the blueprint’ and narrative in your own mind-set. He doesn’t bullshit either. When it comes to be straight-talking, he’s great for this.
- Louse Hay. Again, another beautiful American author, but even more amazingly, set up her own publishing company because she found there wasn’t enough publishers that focused on releasing the wealth and abundance of amazing healing material out there. She’s also the affirmation and self-healing queen who teaches the importance of positive self-talk, metaphysics and more. Age never limited her either, so she’s an eye for retraining on self-limiting beliefs.
- Gala Darling. This lady is an instagram influencer and her fun, sparkly, girly energy is just right up my street. She’s not afraid to be bright, vibrant, sexual and def has her own strong identity. Some people may judge her based purely on her looks, but wow, this girl is one of the most intelligent, smartest bad-ass women ever. She has her own book on radical self-love, manifestations and just radiates the most positive feel-good vibes ever.
- Marianne Williamson. Another female inspiration. Marianne is an American spiritual teacher. Initially I thought it was a bit too ‘religious’ for me as she’s a devout follower of God. But then I realised it was no different to me believing in the divine or spiritual enlightenment, a higher power in me and in the universe. She’s been on Oprah’s show with many books, but the one I liked the most, was ‘Tears to Triumph’. It is a moving book and teaches you how to overcome things, even in the darkest of times. Again, through faith, hope and mindset.
And there it is. This is just a short list of material I’ve been reading and listening to, but hopefully a starter for ten and can direct you the right ways. There are also many other top tips I can provide on healing, but acknowledge that I don’t want this post to be too long either! So things like lots of sleep, journaling, yoga, gratitude, walks, good teas and just hobbies that shift you in to a good-feeling place, are all important.
Love and peace