empowered me by helping my health beyond waiting for doctors to find the
answers. I was relying too much on what a doctor would say at each appointment
and was consequently devastated every time nothing was found. The results at
each appointment continued to suggest the health issue was presumed to be in my head. From continuing to try to “get better”, over the years I have tried:
countless medications, chiropractic’s, acupuncture, acupressure, therapy,
osteopath, naturopath, reiki, yoga, and meditation.
My trials have not been all at once but rather a journey of trying a different approach when I was ready to embrace that practice, although there have been numerous interruptions in each of my practices. But what I have found for me is that yoga, meditation, and reiki are healing strategies that empower me. I feel when I engage in these practices I am making a stand to deal with DIGITS. Feeling that I am contributing to my own healing has been very important to me mentally, spiritually, and physically. I still to this day find it very difficult to wait
to hear what a doctor may suggest with how to live with a chronic illness, even
though I know I need serious medical interventions; I need practices that help
me relax and deal with the day to day of DIGITS.
I started yoga and meditation for pain relief. At the time I was on a very high dosage of narcotics, anti-depressants, and sleep aids. I was seeing a psychologist as I was having much difficulty coping with the lack of control I felt with my body.
I was angry, confused, and dealing with physical symptoms I did not understand.
I felt completely betrayed by my body. The psychologist I was seeing suggested I
try yoga and meditation to help. I will always be grateful to her for
encouraging me to help initiate yoga and meditation into my life.
My journey with yoga and meditation has both continued and deepened over time. Trust me when I say I am not a yogi that has mastered many poses and I do not possess incredible physical strength. But the growth and peace that I have found in restorative and gentle healing yoga is what has kept me engaged and practicing yoga. The first yoga class I attended fostered a journey of personal growth that continues to challenge me. I was also fortunate to have an instructor that remains a dear friend and mentor that continues to encourage me to progress and be true to myself.
I was very intimidated in the beginning of my yoga and meditation practice and for many years because I was not “good” at either. Meditation was incredibly intimidating, being at peace with myself? No way, I was angry. And with yoga, the constant surgeries continually caused me to feel I would never master any poses. But over time I realized something, it didn’t matter. What mattered is the time I was setting aside to bring healing efforts into my life.
At times when I meditated, tears would stream down my face. I was finally letting myself feel the hurt and betrayal I was feeling from having an illness. After the meditation was completed, I would feel so much relief. With yoga, believe me when I say I cannot do many poses but the ones I can, I feel better when I see my body do something that feels good, even if that means simply having my legs up the wall, child’s pose, or a restorative relaxation pose. I have found that a modified
moon salutation is what brings me much peace and empowerment.
I have also learned that by focusing on my breath I am able to distract myself from the symptoms my body is experiencing. I am able to deepen my breath by simply counting to ten with my first inhale being one and exhale being two. Once I reach ten, I return to one. Each time I inhale and exhale the breath deepens and when my mind wanders I return to one and start over. Even when I only have a few short moments of following my breath; counting my breath while sitting in a chair with my eyes closed is helpful to cope with the symptoms of my chronic illness.
I have continued to grow and improve my knowledge and understanding through reading. I know that there are many moments in time where reading with an illness is not feasible. But when reading is, I immerse myself in books. I have been able to continue to practice mediation and yoga by reading and journaling. Taking the time to allow for reflection and to acknowledge my feelings provides an opportunity to express my emotions without worrying about how I sound or what someone thinks.
As I continue on my journey to wellness, I am most grateful that both of these practices have taught me the power of giving me time to heal and digest what is happening to my mind, body, and spirit. It is only when I give myself the time to heal that I can find a way to live with DIGITS.