In October 2018, just a few days before my birthday, I was diagnosed with lupus.
Lupus is a chronic illness, autoimmune.
My body is attacking itself. How convenient!
I was a personal trainer for God’s sake, fit and healthy and all.
And suddenly, all my joints were inflamed, my mobility was limited, and I was in excruciating pain. What the heck happened?
I couldn’t make sense of it and I couldn’t look at my daughter, her future, my future without feeling completely crushed.
I wasn’t this strong, fit, confident woman anymore.
I had been going through phases of full recovery just to fall back into another major flare up, followed by weeks of extreme fatigue, pain, lack of mobility, and brain fog, along with side effects of high doses of cortisone and other immunosuppressants, such as "moon face," hair thinning, declining muscle mass, and fluctuating weight.
In the following two years I had to learn acceptance and relearn it over and over.
I accepted my inability to do much during intense flare ups. I surrendered. One minute at the time. I reached deep meditative states in which I found peace, even with the agonizing pain and total uncertainty. But I never accepted that there was nothing I could do to facilitate long-term healing.
In my search for helpful knowledge, I came across books and articles that explained the mind-body link, stress-disease connection, and the role that stress and one's individual emotional makeup play in creating chronic conditions. I also learned about traumatic stress, the polyvagal theory, the complex and long-term implications of early childhood attachment, neuroplasticity, and nervous system regulation.
My immune system was actually protecting me. It was on fire, fighting invisible threats; layers of stuck energy, emotional trauma, chronic stress, and suppressed emotions. My body was in a chronic stress response, and although exercise had been a good coping mechanism for many years, it was insufficient and a distraction from what I needed to address: my emotional traumas and outdated internal narratives.
To move from survival mode, I needed to rewrite my inner stories and reprogram my body and neuropathways. In order to understand the power of the mind and subconscious conditioning, I got educated and certified in life coaching, NLP, REBT, guided meditation, and hypnotherapy. I reignited my passion for learning about human potential, excellence, creativity, resourcefulness, and resilience.
I put myself through all the processes. Being face to face with my own history, self-sabotaging narratives, pains, doubts and fears was no walk in the park but I started getting powerful insights. I realized that my body was just informing me, very loudly, of the things inside me that I had no awareness of.
I realized, through compassionate self-screening that I had been internally torturing myself with perfectionism and self-criticism.I had been pushing myself to the point of mental, emotional and physical exhaustion. Not allowing self-compassion, rest or pause. Trying to prove something I was running further from myself.
I had hit a major life burnout. I needed to change.
"Being cut off from our own natural self-compassion is one of the greatest impairments we can suffer. Along with our ability to feel our own pain go our best hopes for healing, dignity and love." ~ Gabor Mate
And change hasn’t been easy. It’s been painful. t’s been triggering. It’s been exhausting. But oh, so worth it.
I am still on my healing journey and proud to share the results of it. I am much better at regulating stress, my lupus symptoms are under control even with minimal dose of corticosteroids. My relationships are deeper, more balanced, with more love and laughter and much less drama. I reconnected to my purpose and creativity. My new career path is now clear and already so rewarding. The feedback I am getting from my clients shows me how much the work I’ve done for myself created a ripple effect and brought value to them.
And as for you, I urge you to reconnect with the immense hidden inner resources that are already inside of you. Slow down. Feel and process. Be honest about what’s working and what’s not in your life. Get clear about what and who you love enough to heal for.
And don’t hesitate to seek help and support.