Some years ago I was diagnosed with the auto-immune condition Rheumatoid Arthritis. It started in my feet. I was given various medications but reacted badly to all of them. One of them gave me a chronic cough. Another gave me hallucinations and panic attacks. I would wake in the night unsure of how to breathe, and not remembering how many children I had or how to save them from imminent and terrible disaster. One day, a day of deep snow, I finally ended up in a heap on the surgery floor unable to breathe and that was that, I knew I had to find another way.
So when, at my next appointment at the Rheumatology hospital, I was sent down to the basement to have 17 joints x-rayed – full of fear, doom and gloom, and feeling trapped in a system that didn’t seem to serve me – I found myself escaping out of the front door into the healing sunshine. It felt so unacceptable and naughty. Like playing truant from school. Oh but wonderful, perplexing freedom!
For a while, I tried every alternative therapy I could think of. The bitter smell of boiling Chinese herbs sent my family rushing from the house, castor oil got all over my clothes, I didn’t know what to eat and I felt utterly miserable. I got so tired of being told what to do, and what not to do by well-meaning therapists. It felt as though all the lovely, happy things in life had dropped away. I missed being able to go for autumn walks, being able to eat birthday cake or grow flowers and vegetables – my garden became unloved and overgrown. I missed red wine and my mother’s gooseberry tart. I slept and slept but never felt refreshed, I felt exhausted and I lost so much muscle tone I ended up walking with a stick like an old woman. I spent every day with ice packs on my hot angry knees. I felt stiff and sore.
But somehow, in my lost and out-of-control state, I knew on some deep level, healing was going to come from inside me, not from any outside source, however well-meaning, experienced, or beautifully trained. I found tools. I found ways of releasing stuck energies. And so my true journey of self-discovery began.
We are energetic beings. The mind/body connection is profound. Gradually I learnt that over time I had cut myself off from my body and my feelings to such an extent that I started shutting down. I made myself wrong in so many ways. I was never enough. I could never be enough. I gave away my power to everyone else and never connected to or loved, cherished or honoured the person and being that was me. Now, that has changed. Today I have stronger boundaries, and I have learned to be my own best friend. My body is healing and happy.