I want to offer you a little insight into the truly non-linear nature of healing through my own experience.
The journal entry you will read below was written less than a week ago, when I was feeling desperate, helpless and in a spiral of exhaustion. I am working through some big things, and this was my process during a lower moment.
Yet, I write this to you today feeling better than I have in 10 months.
There are highs and lows in healing of all kinds, and while none of it really ever seems to make sense, one thing is true: nothing lasts forever. It all changes. Over and over again.
And while that knowledge isn't the most comforting during the good moments, it's one of the most powerful anchors during the not-so-good moments.
So my point in sharing this is to say: whatever you are going through, keep going.
Two things have kept me on the optimistic side of this experience: gratitude and an expanded perspective.
The expanded perspective allows me to see beyond the singular moment I am in.
The gratitude keeps me awake to all the magic in the world around me, and reminds me why any of this matters.
So as I offer you insight into one of my darker moments, please read it with the understanding that the light moment was waiting on the other side, and that ALL OF IT can be used to deepen into both wisdom and compassion.
I’ve been spending a lot of time lately trying to remember who I am, and what it feels like to make decisions that reflect my desires and my boundaries when in company outside the very small circle I have kept during the height of my journey with Lyme.
I keep tripping up and finding myself in situations I am not ready for, or have no desire to be in.
Quite frankly - understanding that this is exactly what got me sick in the first place - it’s terrifying.
A common symptom of getting sick with something so severe, and so long winded, is losing your connection with yourself and what it is you want and are here for in this world.
As a people pleaser who has spent her life living in service of others, an unexpected side effect of my nervous system healing is not feeling the need - or desire - to do that anymore.
It's incredibly disorienting, and while the impulse and desire is quieting, the confusion about what my role is in this world is growing.
In my quiet moments, I know exactly who I am and what I want.
In my shared moments, I am way less clear about that.
I am still unsure of my own limits but I am acutely aware of what other people wish for them to be.
But what I do know is everything I once was is up for review and my boundaries around that have to be unshakable.
It’s one of the most difficult, complicated and heartbreaking things I’ve ever had to do.
The part of me that was trained for decades that serving/pleasing others guaranteed my survival/belonging reflexively wants to be who others want or (think they) need me to be.
The part of me that loves making people happy and being a consistent and unconditional source of love and support wants to keep showing up that way, but has discovered how insanely depleting it can be with the wrong people.
Of course, inside both of those things lies a responsibility to further develop and practice the requirement that my relationships be reciprocal, and that I consistently show up for myself within them. It is human nature, after all, to take as much as one can get, and so villianizing people for that is as useless as it is to try to talk them into changing - the only way things will ever change is if I do.
But in my quiet moments, absent the hustle of the world around me, I feel my deep, unyielding exhaustion and worry that perhaps I’ve developed a new way of masking what got me here in the first place: my willingness to sacrifice myself for other people’s benefit.
There’s no real way to intellectualize your way out of this kind of predicament.
It requires action, and a willingness to let things fall and disappoint.
But when your nervous system is already overwhelmed, you are faced with the knowing that the way out is just as risky as the way in.
And the truth is, this is really hard, and the challenges don’t disappear as I continue to heal - they just change, and ironically become more complicated.
Most days these days, I am so beyond exhausted that I can hardly keep up with the bare minimum of passable functionality.
And I am so burnt out on trying to fix it that I just want to wave the white flag and surrender to this being how life is.
I spend a lot of my time alone, very worried about how I am going to afford my life and in despair about what is on the horizon. Because the horizon seems more like an empty stretch of desert than it does a rich and fertile future.
But you’d never know that if you spent time with me.
All of which is to say: healing of any kind is a long and complicated process.
And anyone who tries to tell you it doesn’t have to be is missing the point.
Because what I’ve just shared with you is the healing.
And extinguishing this process is the same as dooming oneself to a lifetime of suffering.
It’s never really about the body - it’s always about your relationship with yourself and the world around you.
And the healthier that is, the healthier you will become.
This particular brand of health is hard won.
But that’s the point.
Love to you all.