Over the last several months I’ve made mention of some of my health frustrations. I’ve seen four different doctors so far and I’ll be adding number five in a few weeks. Of course, each doctor seems to have a different opinion about the final diagnosis, but I’m hopeful we’re getting closer (at least consensus seems to be building). I’ve certainly developed a new level of understanding and sympathy for those people that have gone through years of this type of cycle. After a trial run of a drug went terribly awry, I quickly decided to try a more holistic, mindful approach to feeling better. I’m not cured, but it’s better than any “magic” pill the doctors have come up with so far!
After reading countless books and articles, I found it fittingly ironic that they all essentially lead to the most common sense answer possible – pay attention to yourself. The world you create and the habits you subject your body to all have consequences; it’s all cause and effect. I’m not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I am becoming much better equipped to deal with the consequences of my actions (smile).
Over the past year I’ve made some major turnarounds in my lifestyle, with my primary goal being a serious reduction of the stress in my life. So I dumped the diets, the gyms, and the negative people. I stopped burying myself in novels and movies and started taking a more mindful approach to the life I actually live every day. I dropped the fad diets for more common sense eating. I stopped the self-imposed guilt trips about not going to the gym (and the anxiety of actually going to the gym) in favor of more physical daily activities. I stop when it hurts but I also work to push through the fatigue that accompanies most days, instead of using it as an excuse. I’ve been working hard to surround myself with more caring, positive people in place of choosing to be around those who sound so much like me on the bad days. Hanging out with like minded people can be a good thing, but not when it’s the misery-loves-company crowd.
When I went for my check-in last week, my doctor and I were both surprised and pleased with the results! The symptoms of the underlying problem are still there (unfortunately), but I’m at least superficially healthier than I possibly ever have been. To me, the greatest surprise in all of this has been the impact on my attitude and mental health – even as a born pessimist I feel more optimistic about life than I have in quite a while! Despite knowing that something is up with my health, I know that it can be overcome, and I attribute that attitude directly to all of those positive, sunny people I’m lucky enough to have in my life (smile).
Even with all of the positive changes so far, I still have ongoing issues with allowing too much stress into my life. So I’ve been learning more about practices such as yoga and meditation to support my goal of a more mindful awareness. The yoga is wonderful – it helps with the aches and pains of both body and mind. I find myself excited about class each week and I’m really looking forward to building more practice into my routines. The meditation, however, has been a challenge. It’s hard to dedicate time and to ignore two insistent kitties who are too focused on competing for my lap to notice I’m trying to accomplish something. It’s definitely a work in progress (smile).
Once I have a more definite diagnosis, I’m hopeful that I can tailor my lifestyle more specifically. I’ve been reading up on various homeopathic “remedies” to help with the immediate symptoms and I’m looking forward to sharing those and how well they may or may not work out (smile). I don’t kid myself that I can magically cure what ails me – but I do intend to proactively do whatever I can to help myself feel better while the doctors work it all out amongst themselves!