What if this is as good as it gets? A thought that truly haunts me somedays. To be honest, probably most days lately. For me this thought attaches itself to my health recovery, but in reality it can be combined with anything in your daily life that presents itself as pain. At the very heart of this poisonous thought are some very toxic emotions that will ultimately sabotage any real progress in your life.
The struggle comes from fear. Sometimes it’s extremely difficult to pinpoint just what I am afraid of as there are so many variables that come into play while recovering from illness. It seems though at the root of this is ultimately freedom that is in question. I do seem pinned down sometimes to a very distinct path and any deviation from this path creates pain. But being on the path also creates some pain of its own, just how much different is the real question.
These fears seemingly strike without any warning or care for timing. This could be a matter of having to say no to a simple offer to share a meal. The magnitude of fear that comes with that scenario is quite humbling sometimes. A lot of the issue surrounds food naturally, but I never would have thought that so much pain could come from having to restrict myself of food and even harder to watch others eat the things that I desire (or used to desire). Going through the airport is especially challenging with health issues. This country is just not really setup to cater to people with special dietary needs. Maybe the time is not too far off where the junk food eaters of this country will be the ones scrambling to find food when all that remains is organic whole food options. Times are changing though, but the selection is still very very limited. Meanwhile, watching people eat foods that use to be so common for me has become increasingly more challenging. It’s almost borderline annoyance and anger at just where we have landed in this country with the amount of fast and processed food. What about the actual symptoms though? The pains, diarrhea, blood, fatigue, depression, mood swings, anger, loss of hope and so on almost feels unbearable at times. This can impact anyone, even that very well adjusted person you know. The anxiety that comes with the bodily symptoms is rooted in our demise. Blood is never a good sign, but anyone who has Chrons or Ulcerative Colitis can attest to the strong emotions that this elicits. Good lord what must be going on inside me! But the net is the body does heal!
While I struggle with this now I haven’t always had this predisposition to see the very worst. Granted I had my mental health struggles throughout my adult life, but not on this scale. Illness really takes a toll mentally. I think the big takeaway for me is the first stage of having awareness that these thoughts and feelings that come along with them are there in the first place. So how did I come to this level of awareness? This journey has been a long one so far and while I cannot exactly pinpoint a day, I do have a general sense that it has surfaced at every hurdle I have faced on the recovery path. I will admit that even after doing a year and a half of GAPS diets is still very challenging indeed. I have reverted back to stage one GAPS multiple times and with it each time comes a very unique vantage point in my life. A point where I have to summon all of the courage I have. Summon all of the faith I have inside me to persevere through this next roadblock. But in the midst of all of this comes something really beautiful. A knowingness of sorts that everything is going to be alright, even if today seems bad. I think that we find our strength in the times of most despair. If everything was good in life, there would be no contrast. Nothing to compare to. Having this unique marker in life sets you up to really enjoy life; good or bad. There have been some very key things that have helped me to get to where I am at through this health journey. If you are just contemplating this non-western medicine approach, currently on the journey struggling or wherever you are, I think these tips can be helpful!
Ian Sandage is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner who speaks from the personal experience of someone with autoimmune disease and the highs and lows of a health journey