When living with a chronic or terminal disease you have to talk about it a lot! I lived at the doctor’s office, I lived in hospitals, the dialogue was always about my disease. That eventually bled into all of my conversations with family, friends, people I had just met, etc. Two things happen, in my opinion, you get so used to talking about your disease that it just becomes natural to talk about it, and you become addicted. Just as someone gets addicted to a drug, or trauma, you become addicted to your “disease.” My disease, Lupus, became my crutch and excuse for everything, for all my problems. It was the reason I couldn’t do this or that, it was the reason I was a certain way, or acted a certain way…but it wasn’t. I was swimming in my own sorrow. Of course my disease is limiting, there truly were and are certain things I cannot do, but where did I draw the line… I didn’t.
One day I woke up and decided I didn’t want to be Lupus anymore, I was fed up with her, I wanted to be Jenna again! So I took things into my own hands and put myself in remission. It took 3 years, but I did it and I’m damn proud of it. The one thing I noticed was that when I no longer associated myself with my disease it no longer had control over me anymore. Some of my aches and pains went away, my stresses began to dissipate, I no longer felt depressed, my social life changed, I had my life back. There is no cure for Lupus but even though it will never truly go away it no longer defines who I am as a person.
I brought this up for more than one reason, one of those reasons being my students. Most of my students are dealing with one or more major medical problem and a big part of my work is getting them to disassociate themselves from their disease. My job is to be the person who holds space for them for that 60-90 minutes during class, and if they can’t get their disease out of their head they are not truly experiencing the present moment. When I walk them through letting that part of themselves go just for that moment I watch their bodies relax in a way they maybe haven’t felt in a very long time. Then guess what happens…they let go for that 60-90 minutes once a week, or however many times they come to see me for sessions, and then it bleeds into the rest of their day, and eventually their week, month, year, until they start feeling better. It’s the most magical thing I’ve ever seen! You see I’ve seen it work in my own body, but when I see it working in other people’s bodies, that magic just becomes more and more real.
We have so much more power over our quality of life than we know. Our thoughts are a very powerful thing. Be careful what you tell yourself, who you tell yourself you are, who you associate yourself with, even if that thing is a part of you that you can’t run away from. You are not your disease, whatever that may be. You’re still you in your purest form, you just might have another part of you that’s along for the ride. Don’t let it own you, let it become your ally, but do be the boss of this ally.
You are “insert name,” and you’re amazing!