A touching story…#chronicillness #survivor #lifeskills #autoimmunity #Disability

This post can either be richly rewarding or go horribly wrong. It can go either way, which is why I think I better make sure that I explain things very carefully and draw some personal examples to complete the picture.

During another recent and painful relapse / flare I was drawn into my usual emotion of cursing myself and my body for the pain and suffering I was going through. I do this quite regularly and it surprises me that I continue this pattern with regular monotony. Peace. Flare. Pain. Sadness. Despair. Peace. Flare. Pain…

It was while I was in the shower, seated on my showerchair (yes, people like me need chairs in the shower so that we can bathe) and I was looking down at my painful, burning, aching, numb, shaking, weak and pasty legs. I thought to myself “how on earth did I get to this place?!?”. “Why do I hate these legs more than I have ever hated anything or anyone in my life?”. “What is wrong with this picture!?!” My brain was screaming. My emotions were raw. And my tears were streaming. Upon hearing me crying my husband came rushing into the bathroom and stared at me with a look of empathy and confusion. He slowly opened the shower door, silently slid his hand into the shower and touched me on the shoulder. No words were spoken. None needed to be said. He also knows this routine very well. As I continue to sob and his arm and shirt got drenched I realised that he had forgiven and still loved the body that I was so angry and frustrated with. Why couldn’t I do this??? Why? Why? Why?

Several days later my mind kept returning to the scene and the thoughts were swirling around in my mind, heavy with emotion and confusion. My husband was hanging out some washing at the time. I felt guilty that I couldn’t help him or even do it for him. I looked at my feet and hands that were hot and sore. I turned my head towards the window and felt the constant balance problem and for a moment I felt as though I would fall off the bed. I didn’t. It happens constantly and so I instinctively gripped the edge of the bed. As I slowly tried to sit up, like a drunk that has been run over, I happened to touch my leg. I let my hand rest on my leg and then I touched my hip. It felt like the skin of my youth, before I got sick.

All of a sudden an idea lit up in my mind… I looked down at my leg, touched it and said “I forgive you”. I let my hand sit there and my mind rest on that idea. I forgive my leg because it didn’t want to get sick and hurt me. I then touched my hand, like my husband touches me, with kindness and empathy, and I said “I forgive you…” I started moving, slowly across my body in a similar way, touching my eyes, my head, my stomach and allowing myself to “feel” and empathize with each body part and say “I forgive you…”

I intend to practice this forgiveness exercise again, and especially when I need it most and when I feel at my worst. It doesn’t make the pain magically disappear. It doesn’t mean I have healed my pain, but it makes me feel compassion and stops me from one of the worst patterns that I have been repeating for so many years; the cycle of self hating and self blaming.

I hope that I have done this story justice, because I would like to think that someone, somewhere may read it and resonate with it. I hope that someone, anyone will read it and understand exactly what I am trying to say and be helped also. There is no magic trick here. I don’t have less pain or less relapses but now I have something that I didn’t have. What I have now that I didn’t have before is simply a little more peace and empathy which has helped me a lot.

Gentle hugs,

Trish

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