You may or may not have noticed a little radio silence from me over the past 2 weeks. It’s been a rough period for me. Since October, I’ve been recovering well from my skin disorder and even though I’ve been having flare ups every couple of weeks, they’ve been minor and have gotten progressively shorter and less intense. But a little over a week ago I got hit with the worst flare I’ve had in over 6 months and it really got me down. Physically I was exhausted and found myself sleeping for 14+ hours many days and emotionally I was depressed and frustrated. I had to take a break even though it wasn’t what I wanted at the time.
As much as I wanted to spend time blogging, I just couldn’t. I didn’t have the energy or motivation to do it.
I felt like I was back at square one with not only my illness but with my emotional and mental state of being that I’ve been working so hard on improving. I was trying really hard to see the positive in my situation. I tried really hard to tell myself that this flare up was happening for a reason and that it was here to teach me something more. But damn, that was near impossible. Try as I did, I couldn’t bring myself to see or feel anything but pain, suffering, powerlessness, and yes, a bit of self-pity.
The reminder from my doctor that a full recovery usually takes 1-4 years and I was *only* 1 year into it was not encouraging. In 3 more years I would be 31! My fears about my illness came flooding back like they were excited to see me. Ugh.
“Will I ever be fully healed?”
“Will I ever feel normal again?”
“What if I never get my body back?”
“What if this interferes with starting a family?”
“What if this never fully goes away?”
I cried. A lot. I cried the whole way home from that doctor’s office. I was at a new low point for these last 6 months and all the feelings of powerlessness, overwhelm and self-pity that I felt when I was first getting sick reappeared as if they’d never left.
Even though I felt like curling up into a ball and sleeping for the rest of the day, Matt somehow worked his magic and convinced me to come down to the beach with him. It helped immensely. There’s really nothing like the sound of the waves crashing on the shore and the sun beating down on you to lift your mood. I was grateful for a sunny 76 degree weather day with a slight breeze. It was perfect. This helped lift my mood for the time being – enough to make good on a meeting I was supposed to have with someone, who I met on Instagram, later that day.
FYI I’ve been reaching out to people on Instagram who live in LA and share similar interests because I want to connect with more like-minded people, learn from as many people as possible and maybe even create new friendships with people on similar journeys.
I’m so glad I met with her. Let me tell you, the Universe works in ways that seem mysterious but that are actually so obvious when you look back on them. Maggie was the perfect person for me to meet on this rough day and during this rough period. She has an autoimmune disorder as well and actually works with people to help them heal and take control of their lives again. Sound like something that would be useful for me? Uhum, chyea.
At the time I thought I just wanted to make a new acquaintance, little did I know Maggie would help shine some light on what was happening with my flare ups. It’s truly my belief that we learn best from the people who are just a few steps ahead of us and that’s what Maggie feels like to me. Though she has a wealth of experience and knowledge from years spent with so many classes, teachers, healers and gurus, she remembers what it was like to be in my situation because she was there just a few years prior. She has healed herself from the inside out better than any Western medicine or external sources have.
We both laughed/lamented over the thousands of dollars and hours we wasted on different medicines, supplements, doctors visits before realizing that healing needs to come from within us, not from external sources. That’s what I’ve learned along my journey but I am also realizing I have so much left to learn about myself and what’s still causing my flare ups before I can be fully healed.
I don’t want this blog to be about my illness or about healing from diseases, but I do think it’s an important part of my journey that I want to share. I also think many of us need healing from something, whether it’s an autoimmune disease or some other disorder like depression, anxiety, or even just stress.
Maggie helped me see that my flare up wasn’t random. I was actually overworking myself and not giving my body or mind the breaks they needed to keep operating at their best. I realized that I had been working pretty much 7 days a week for the past 2 months or so without really allowing myself to take breaks or relax in between. I’ve been so excited to build this blog that I forgot it was really work, on top of the work I’m doing for my freelance clients.
I was working so much and so fast, I just figured good things were happening and I could rest when things slowed down. I didn’t listen to the signs my body was giving me that I needed to take a break. So my body did what it had to do to get my attention – it made my skin majorly flare. I was so exhausted I practically slept for 3 days straight and couldn’t touch work for over a week (hence my radio silence).
My body literally forced me to take the break it knew I needed. At the time I was frustrated and angry with my body for flaring. Now I realize that I should be thanking it for forcing me to take the break and rest I needed. The flare with my skin was actually my body’s way of protecting me from something that could’ve been much worse before it happened.
What I learned:
The time to slow down and take a break is when you think you don’t have time for it.
BAM. That was a revelation for me. This is such a simple but powerful lesson to learn. I always just thought I could push myself through the crazy times until I reached a point where I could slow down and that is when I would take a break. Realistically that “slowed down” period rarely comes, and when it does it’s not often in time for when you actually need it. The time when we most need to rest is when it feels like we don’t have time for it.
This doesn’t mean you have to shut off from the world completely and live off the grid for a few days, but make sure you’re getting at least 30 minutes of “ME” time every day, especially when you’re working really hard. It’s so needed and it will just replenish your energy and motivation that much faster for the following day. Trust me, whatever it is that you think can’t wait, it can wait. Don’t let it get to the point where your body has to physically get you to stop. It will shut down on you, you will get really sick, something will happen that will physically force you to stop working. And that will just cause even more stress.
So just take a little time every day for yourself to relax. Do something that you love for no other reason except that it’s fun or relaxing for you. Don’t have an agenda or an expectation of what you’re going to get out of it. Just relax and enjoy taking a needed break.
Sometimes when it feels like you don’t have time to take a break and rest, that is really when you need it the most. Make sure you listen to your body and the clues it gives you towards your own health and mental wellness. It will tell you all you need to know you just have to stop to listen.
Here are a few helpful blog posts I’ve found to help focus on relaxation and self care.
Dwelling in Magic: Creating a New Self Care Routine for the Year, and her Self Care Toolkit
A Blissful Mind: 7 Ways to Relax After Work
Ivory & Pine: 101 Self Care Ideas
A Girl Obsessed: 50 Ideas for Self Care
Have you experienced something similar where your body forced you to rest? Think about it for a minute, I bet it has, you might not have even realized it yet! Tell me about it in the comments!