Lately, I’ve had to adjust to some new unpleasant symptoms in addition to my usual ones. Whenever something novel comes along, my anxious mind is overwhelmed with thoughts of what these new sensations mean. Do these signs point to an additional disorder? Am I going to die from this? Will I be stuck at home forever?
When I am ill, I tend to go into protective mode, trying not to do anything that could potentially make the symptoms worse. Since I don’t push myself, I’m afraid that I am holding myself back from getting better. I feel like I should get up and get out of the house instead of resting because if I stay in bed too long I could get weaker and sink deeper into the “sick role”.
However, I realized that as soon my body started adjusting to these new symptoms and attempting to heal itself, that I naturally sought out new challenges. It all comes back to being able to trust the healing capabilities of my body, and know that when I am able to handle more, my body will seek that challenge. I am focusing on allowing the natural healing progression, rather than pushing my body to do things just because my mind thinks I should be doing them.
When I first experienced the symptoms of my balance disorder, I didn’t think I would be able to ever leave the again. My mind was telling me to force myself to walk so I wouldn’t lose the muscle tone in my legs, but I knew I wasn’t ready. Feeling dizzy 24/7 was overwhelming and terrifying, but in my own time I adjusted, and now, when I keep myself in check, I’m able to work, go to school, practice yoga, even dance sometimes.
It’s always scary when something new comes along in life. I use illness as an example because that is the challenge I predominantly experience in my life, but it could be anything – a new job, the death of a loved one, moving to a new city. No matter how frightening these new changes may be, trusting that your body and mind will naturally adjust (as it has several times before) helps to get through that initial fear and uncertainty and gives us the strength to persevere.