What you seek most is understanding and empathy. Often you feel alone because your friends and family become desensitized to your illness mostly because they don’t know what to do to help you and they themselves feel helpless.
You have to understand that they are also dealing with a sense of loss of you. Often illness can make people very self-indulgent and self-focused, and then they become less of a friend or a support to the very people in their lives, the same ones they are seeking understanding and support from.
Build a new community or support group. The best way to do this is to connect with other people who are either suffering from the same or a similar illness. I have noticed especially in India that people like to be very quiet about their suffering, but this will only leave you alone. In order to be understood and to help the people around you find an empowering way to “be” with you, you have to be willing to be open and honest, only then will you allow people to love you and be there for you. Also just because you are the ill one, does not mean that you stop giving to your relationships. You can still give and show your love and concern.
The scariest part is the diagnosis. This is when people would go into grief. Grief is loss and usually refers to the loss of a loved one, but it is also the loss of the imagined future. Suddenly, this news changes your whole outlook for life.
The stages of grief as described by Kubler-Ross with the acronym DABDA are:
D – Denial ‘This can’t be happening to me’
A – Anger ‘Why me?’ Blaming other’s including God and the doctors
B – Bargaining, begging and pleading for it to not be true
D – Depression – When bargaining does not work, depression sets in, a sense of resignation and ‘giving up’.
A – Acceptance – This is where you want to get as soon as possible, because all the self-healing can only happen once you accept.
As a life coach, I believe that attitude is everything. Attitude determines how much you suffer and whether you will be able to come out of it enriched. I really do not mean to trivialize illness but in every situation I have encountered in my life and in my experience as a coach, I have seen time and time again how attitude and thoughts truly can alter the course of an illness in ways that even surprise allopathic doctors. Find a way to get in tune with your body again, meditate and sit in silence breathing into your navel and allow your body to communicate with you.
The first thing to do is to research the illness. See specialists and make sure you fully understand what is happening to your body. Draw the connection between your body and your emotions and realize that especially now when your body may be weaker and compromised this is the time for extra self care and positive energies.
The more you think about your symptoms and feel sorry for yourself, the worse you will feel, literally and physically. I had a client who could not move his neck and it got frustrating for him to sit at his desk. However the more he discussed it, the more painful it got. Finally, he found a way to lie back and read the screen. The frustration dissipated, and he started feeling better because he allowed himself to focus on something bigger than his illness and his pain, freeing his body energy to be able to ‘heal’ and ‘rest’.
Prioritize what is important and ask yourself how much will this matter really? Conserve your energy and strength to do activities that are important and the ones that will help you feel better so that you can do more important stuff. You will have to go through a checklist and re-prioritize. Being ill means that you may not have the energy to do all the things you want to do in a day, so pick the ones that will truly make a difference and do them. This will help you to focus on projects, work and people that are far more important that your symptoms.
Love yourself. Many of us spend more than half our lives loving our family, kids, partners, friends and we give and give to them. Discovering you have an illness is one of the wake-up calls to start truly loving yourself and caring for yourself. Watch the words you use in your thoughts and how you tell yourself things are, and think about how much more compassionate and kind you would be to someone you loved. Change that immediately. How much you sleep, exercise and what you eat and drink is a huge contributor to where you go from here. Your illness is also a wake up call to acknowledge that death is inevitable for all of us, age and illness often have no semblance to when we are taken away by death.
As you wake up in the morning and place both feet on the ground, connect to the ground and pray “Dear Lord or Universe if today is the last day of my life, please make it my best”. Saying this every day will ingrain in you to do your best, focus out and give love, love yourself, honour yourself, ask yourself what you can still do despite and sometimes because of your illness and do it.
(Malti Bhojwani is the founder of Multi Coaching International, a Life Coach, an NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) practitioner, a workshop leader and an author. Her first published work is a Journal to encourage guided writing, Thankfulness, Appreciation, Gratitude)
Read more Personal Health, Diet Fitness stories on www.healthmeup.com