It took me waking up one morning and finding that I could not stand up. Despite my urgent need to go to the bathroom I could not move. I was heart-broken when I was given the diagnosis.
A Growth in the Body
It was a disease with no cure.
I had a growth in my body. The tumor which affects the joints, could be cut out only to return at any time in the future. This growth caused a pain so strong that I was nauseous from the pain. It would make me immobile at times, maybe, at some point, for the rest of my life.
Ignoring My Health
I had been reckless in the treatment of my body over the previous years. Prior to the diagnosis, I had ignored my diet and my lifestyle. Crazy bouts of stress, erratic sleep and an unhealthy diet had not helped. Neither had my contentious, ugly and traumatic first marriage and divorce. I grew more and more exhausted. I never even noticed the deterioration.
I was scared.
A Health Scare
This was a health scare for me. I was afraid because I was responsible for two still young people, my children. I felt I had let them down. The anguish was a semi-private anguish. I do not remember how well I hid my despair. Post-surgery, I still couldn’t do many things.
When I was hit with this new phase of health, two types of people responded to my ongoing situation. There were the people who stepped up, without even knowing exactly what I was going through. They had different experiences but showed great kindness. They were my saviors.
Then there were those who were quick to judge. They rushed to talk about how someone else had it much worse. How I had not done enough to help myself. How I was just not strong enough, good enough, how I should have done things differently, how someone else was coping better in a similar situation. They were not there witnessing my day-to-day struggles.
Some of them were abusive and even put barriers in my way so I could not manage to do what little I could because their negativity distracted me.
The thing is the latter class of people did not help. They had their own agendas, their own reasons for saying what they did. They made things worse. I actually felt worse because I could not lift myself out of situations when people showed up just to put me down.
Not My Body?
So what did I do in this situation?
At first, I was in denial. Then I realized over the span of several years that I had to be proactive. I did what I had done in difficult phases in my past. I made lifestyle changes. I did my best to look after my health with whatever I had. I did this because doing nothing for myself, would not help me.
It would prove the naysayers right. It would make those others feel better about their small lives but it would do nothing for me.
Over the years there have been good days and bad days, but moving forward has always been my goal.
You see, if you choose people to be in your life, who want to see you well, you will be alright.
There may be those who claim they want to see you healthy and happy but get terribly selfish when you do look after your needs. Or there are those who object to the choices you make and actions you take. These people want almost total control over you. So actions and conduct speak louder than words.
Remember, listening to advice and various points of view is useful because different perspectives make you think. But at the end of the day, after going through a process of reviewing all that information, ask yourself what is truly good for your health.
How can you become happier and healthier? What choices can you make to feel better about yourself and your life? Remember, a lot of people experience mental health crises because they are not allowed to have control over themselves, their health and their bodies.
So, if you want to consider my advice, I advise you to have faith that you know your own needs.
A crisis, like my health crisis, can make you reassess your life, your habits and goals. Certain habits can make you very sick and may cause irreversible consequences to your health. Other choices may affect your long-term mental health. And absorbing toxic advice and information will break you down.
Remember, the whole point of life is enjoying the fruits of your labor. You cannot put yourself last because no one else is responsible for putting you first. You must be in charge of knowing your needs and what will keep you healthy and happy.
You only have one body. Cherish it.
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