Note from Jamie: My friend Jayshica wrote this blog months ago and I didn’t get it added because of my own battles with chronic illness and just, life. I believe everything happens for a reason and while I am frustrated with myself for not getting this posted sooner, I believe her story must need to be told at this time.
I’m incredibly proud of my friend for starting the first mindfulness studio in Northwest Arkansas called I’Mindful. Check out their website!
Telling a personal story of pain is never pleasant, and for the most part, it is easier to focus on the negative issues than it is to focus on the strengths that come with it. Dealing with lupus is not easy and has brought out many tears, sadness, self-blame, and self-doubt, but there have also been many moments of joy, learning, and self-discovery.
I have learned not to speak or say much about my illness unless is truly necessary and can have a positive impact on someone. For the most part, I focus on the positives and how this illness has helped me become stronger.
Using a more holistic approach to deal with my pain, anxiety and even depression, has had many benefits. Today, I tackle about 80% of my symptoms holistically. Since each person is different, it is important to search and discover the approach that will work for you.
Therefore, I am not suggesting to anyone to do this or take my approach, as it has been quite a roller-coaster to find out what works and what does not. If you do choose to take a more holistic approach, then I strongly recommend working closely with your doctor and monitor every step of the way, as It has even caused emotional pain to my family and me due to some significant mishaps.
If you asked me today what I would change about this approach, it would be to work more closely with my doctors and being honest about the symptoms I was feeling and experiencing during the exploration and testing period of the different approaches I was using. The rest, I would not change, as it has given me a sense of comfort, humility, and peace, knowing that I am doing the best for what works for my body.
Throughout this journey, I have learned that physical pain is truly temporary and is less painful than emotional pain. This is why, taking care of my emotions and well-being continues to be a priority, as much as is taking care of my body.
If our emotions are balanced and we are centered, it is much easier to take care of our bodies and withstand the physical discomfort that we suffer from chronic illness. If our emotions are imbalanced, then it is difficult to fully functional, and we will not be happy with the outcomes of our actions and life in general.
Life is too beautiful not to do what works for us and what best suits us. Do what you know is good for you and learn to listen to your body. However, learn to be honest with the people that love you and be sure to share with them when something is not working. Do not hide your pain or your emotions because you are afraid to show weakness or disappoint a loved one when treatment is not working or going as well as expected.
Also, learn to say no, especially when your gut feeling is telling you that something will not work or you are just not comfortable with the suggested treatment. Remember, you know your body better than anyone. This is not the time to continue to be a people pleaser or become one.
I don’t want any of my illnesses to define who I am. Whether it is lupus or depression, I will not let any of these illnesses take over my story. Therefore, I chose to believe that these illnesses are simply a part of my life, not my life. Just as we choose not to judge ourselves through these experiences, we must not allow anyone to judge us and be part of our lives without earning the right to be.
We must learn to love and be loved by those who want to be part of our lives for the simple fact that they just love us for who we have been, who we are, and who we will become. Try to accept what is happening and try to find joy in everything you do, find peace in everything you experience and love everyone who loves you back.