Things I wish I knew going into dealing with a chronic illness

If you are suffering chronic pain, anxiety, depression, fatigue, and so forth, I feel you. I know how debilitating each day can be and you do your best anyway. I know how desperate for relief you are, and how you will try any medication or procedure for the hope of relief. After years of this, I want to share with you what I’ve learned and how to skip a few painful lessons on your own health journey.

The first and most important lesson is to get professional guidance!

I’m considered a medical professional but this isn’t medical advice, just my own experiences. Even though I have medical knowledge and thought I could do this on my own, I needed help. I went to specialty after specialty after realizing I needed help, but finding the right help is the next step. I have another blog post on all of the doctors I’ve rotated through if you need help deciding where to start. From both ends of the spectrum of western medicine to anything Holistic, a naturopath has been the most helpful for me.

Commit to your health as the #1 priority.

This one is hard. I know a lot of you are moms and have to work 40 hours a week to pay bills. But try your best to put yourself first. Let it be okay — the house will stay dirty and accept it’s not worth exhausting yourself more. Being a perfectionist with a chronic illness is hard, but you also learn what is a priority and what’s not.

You have to continue to put yourself first, even on hard days when you want to give up and let it all take its course. I would try something new that someone recommended or that I read and committed to, but it wouldn’t work. At the end of each trial I was still sick; I would say it’s in my head and I would give up, then repeat. Commit to your health. You owe it to yourself and your family, and you are worth it. Being run-down with brain fog and pain is not okay; no matter how many of your friends also suffer like this, it’s not normal. It may be a simple fix – as little as a diet or attitude change or as big as a chemical imbalance or infection. Either way, invest the money in a practitioner. It’s so helpful to have someone give you guidance rather than guessing yourself. Being let down time and time again only adds to the depression of feeling ill.

Stop letting what others thing about you matter.

Guess what — it doesn’t matter. You matter and your health matters. In a year, the opinions of others will mean nothing compared to having your mental and physical health. Yes, you have your tribe of people, and you NEED them or someone on this journey to support you, but at the end of the day, YOUR health mentally and physically is what is important. By letting yourself care about what other people think, you allow doubt and negativity in. You do you, and you’ll find yourself. As soon as I stopped caring about others’ judgements toward me is when I started reaching out to the right people and finding actual answers and seeing progress. Nothing is worse than thinking others assume you are a hypochondriac and it’s all in your head, but it’s your body and you are trying the best you can. You have to believe in yourself; you know your body the best.

Patience

This is the hardest one, the one I still struggle with. Especially if you’ve been struggling with something for a while and feel like you’ve tried everything, you have to give everything a few months, not days or weeks. This is the hard part because it takes time. But this is why it’s important to get the proper guidance. With the proper help, you minimize wasting time trying to tackle this all on your own. The more you fail and continue to suffer, the more fear for the future, depression, and anxiety is created. You have to believe in the process, but having help getting there is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s worth every dime to minimize the time it takes to heal yourself and get you to your best self.

Your food and environment are essential to your recovery.

It’s okay to eat out and enjoy yourself. You don’t have to go vegan or never eat your favorite food again, but you do have to be aware of proper nutrition and the toxins in the standard American’s diet. The food we feed ourselves and things we put in and on our bodies has been shown to harm us dramatically. Here’s an old post on how to live a chemical-free lifestyle. It’s hard at first, but it’s worth feeling better. This one is important and can be the hardest for a lot of people. Even before learning my blood nutrition results from my practitioner, I ate healthy. But sometimes what you think is healthy isn’t for you — another reason why it’s worth the time and money to have someone run these tests for you.

It’s so important to know what your gut and body actually need. I’ve written a previous post on the importance of avoiding preservatives and eating organic foods. When you feed your gut, you truly are feeding your health. The gut-brain connection is a proven yet ignored thing. Your diet can dramatically change your mentality and decrease inflammation in your body. By fixing our diet, we eliminate the cause of many “symptoms” that we are put on medications for. Eating well gives your body the fighting chance to work in synergy, to heal, and to provide us with the best health we can give ourselves. I know it sounds easier than it is, but start small. Small wins lead to big changes!

Your mindset is everything.

If you know me, you hear me preach about mindset and the importance of good energy and healing. You don’t have to be as spiritual as me, but your mind is truly a powerful thing. Meditation, yoga, gardening, etc. are all great relaxing tools and are needed to help your mind heal. Check out this old post on the importance of your parasympathetic nervous system and tips on staying grounded.

I’m not saying these steps are the all cure — but it could save you a lot of time and money by avoiding the months of medication trials, diets, and specialists.

My personal health journey has led me to a naturopath practitioner. She was able to connect all of my issues to Epstein-barr Virus (EBV). This virus is commonly known as “mono.” 90% of the population has had it and carries antibodies for it. Most people’s immune systems handle this fine. For others it creates havoc in the body, triggering gut issues, brain fog, pain, depression, and autoimmune issues. Your body fights itself, depleting the thyroid and adrenals, and your body continues to get sicker with no explanation. The research done on this is crazy — yet western medicine ignores this virus because as mentioned above, most people carry the antibodies and are fine. But there are a lot of chronically ill people out there, and the way we eat and live our lives these days trigger the illness to become more and more active, oxidizing and depleting our bodies. Feel free to contact me because I would love to help you heal as food is honestly the best way to do so with any inflammatory virus.

Thanks for reading and I hope you start to feel better soon. I can’t wait to post about my healing journey and all its success and hear about others! Stay positive and keep fighting; you’re worth it ❣️

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