On my 21st birthday, I woke up feeling sick. It was an alarming feeling that was clearly more than just a hangover. A month of relentless testing followed, leading to a diagnosis that would profoundly change my life: Crohn's disease and Lyme Disease. With little understanding of health and wellness, I blindly trusted the doctors' guidance. I faithfully took the prescribed medicine, and believed them when they assured me that diet had no impact on my symptoms.
As I started to feel better, I questioned the need for continuous medication. The doctors' response was jarring: "You will have to be on medication for the rest of your life." This statement was a turning point. It ignited a fire of determination in me to free myself from medication as soon as possible. The idea of being dependent on pharmaceuticals with their potential side effects for the rest of my life was unsettling. Motivated by this, I started exploring natural healing methods. I delved into acupuncture, studied the impact of diet changes, and learned about the healing principles of Chinese medicine and Yoga. Learning about holistic healing was a game-changer, enabling me to eventually stop all medications and maintain my remission for two years.
However, an extremely stressful period in my personal life triggered another flare-up. This time, my health deteriorated more severely. Despite trying all the methods that had previously worked, I continued to lose weight and my sense of hope faded. Eating became painful, walking a few steps was exhausting, and I found myself shivering even in warm weather. The seriousness of my internal condition was much more apparent and frightening this time around.
My symptoms got to the point where I needed hospitalization. In the hospital, I underwent an urgent blood transfusion. My hemoglobin levels had plummeted to a critical 6.0, alarmingly lower than the normal range of about 12.0 to 15.5 for women. Everyone, including myself, feared for my life. In desperation, I agreed to start taking Humira, a decision I had hoped to avoid. Initially, it helped me out of the dangerous situation, but my body eventually rejected it and developed antibodies. This response from my body was a clear indicator that it was reacting to the medication, not healing as I had hoped. Recognizing this, I decided to stop taking Humira and turned down the option of other similar medications. Instead, I chose to focus on natural healing methods and holistic self-healing techniques, paying closer attention to the interconnectedness of my body and mind to reach true healing.
As a result of my illness, a typical 9-5 job was no longer feasible for me. In retrospect, one of the many blessings that came from my health journey was my inability to get a regular job. I started doing freelance writing, editing and research work, which led to founding my own business where I worked as a professional storyteller getting life stories written and out into the world. Every project I worked on, I witnessed profound healing happen in the storyteller, regardless of whether or not they were consciously pursuing healing. I saw the writing on the wall: storytelling is healing.
This work of helping others explore their narratives had a profound impact on how I viewed my own story. It wasn't until I applied the work I did with my clients to myself that I started making real progress. I reflected deeply on the stories I was telling myself. I looked at my relationships, my work, and reexamined my already healthy lifestyle. I did the work to find out how I was limiting my ability to heal. What thoughts and ideas were keeping me sick? How was I relating to my body? I started to see where I had gotten stuck and where I was staying stuck. In search of balance, I joined a 500-hour Ayurvedic Yoga program. The exploration of Ayurvedic principles revealed how my body, soul, and spirit were misaligned with my true nature. It also highlighted my disconnect from the rhythms of nature at large. The program was instrumental in helping me understand and realign with these essential natural patterns.
Healing for me meant more than just physical recovery; it involved a synergy of the body, soul, and spiritual aspects of my being. Once I understood how to harmonize these elements, I began to see the true narrative of my health journey. Rewriting this narrative allowed me to transition from feeling overwhelmed and hopeless to feeling empowered and healthy.
Today, I am off all western medication, and have shifted to natural supplements to support my well-being. My approach to health now includes a blend of movement practices, yoga, meditation, breathwork, and a focus on nourishing foods. Since 2017, I have been free of flare-ups, though I still pay close attention to my body's warning signs. When I feel unwell, I assess my lifestyle and make adjustments, often finding that rest and realignment with nature are key.
With a wealth of personal experience and knowledge, I offer support to others navigating similar paths. From guiding aspiring writers in sharing their wisdom through words, to assisting those with chronic health conditions in building nurturing daily routines, my aim is to empower and enlighten. I also provide spiritual coaching, tapping into the profound connection between belief and well-being. Drawing on my decade-long experience with Crohn's Disease, I consult on alternative therapies, emphasizing the power of natural supplements and holistic practices. For anyone struggling with a health issue who has done everything right, writing is a way of healing that can help you break through the years of suffering and rewrite the story you tell yourself about your pain, your body, your experience. Coupled with traditional breathwork, diet, exercise, and lifestyle choices, the changes are nothing short of magic.
Stories and beliefs are all we have, they determine how we perceive our waking lives. Even those of us who know these fundamental truths can still have trouble really seeing our stories for what they are. Once you really witness your own story, you can rewrite it. That's when the healing begins.