“Lindsay, did you ever feel like giving up?”
Ouch, that’s a biggie. But the answer is yes. Of course. When you are in the beginning or middle phases of being sick it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. If you’ve been sick a long time, it can feel almost impossible.
In the case of Wellness, it’s normal to feel a lot worse before you feel better. Treatments can result in massive toxic loads to a body that has impaired de-tox capabilities. Many, including myself, have to give up on some aggressive treatment protocols because they literally almost kill us. Being faced with the choice of suffering from your disease or suffering even more from your cure, it is hard not to want to quit.
The same often applies in other areas of life. Taking on change can seem like a good idea: I want to lose weight; I want to feel more love; I want a better relationship with money; but no matter what we’re taking on, it most likely will mean facing some scary demons, taking ourselves out of our comfort zone, make us feel vulnerable, pushing ourselves right up and past our edges. Change raises huge self-doubt. Can I really do this? Is all this work simply magical thinking, or is something real behind it? None of it’s easy and quitting is a constant, and attractive, option.
Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.
–George S. Patton
There are things you can do to help. One of my foundational strategies is tracking myself. I watched the impact of treatments on my symptoms. I gained a longer term perspective and was motivated to get through challenges, to get out the other side. Tracking also helped me say no when it became clear that simply relying on the treatments, on the doctors, was doing me more harm than good, that it was time for a new strategy.
I had a day that I consider my “rock bottom.” I was just so sick and tired of being sick and not having the energy to show up at all for my kids or my life. Plus, the emotional and financial strain of being sick were pushing me beyond my limits. I was done, exhausted, broke. It was during that dark period that I decided to refuse to spend another dollar, moment, or ounce of energy on my “illness” without at least MATCHING that dollar on something that felt like it built on my wellness. I realized that I needed to begin to invest in my life, in something fun, or joyful or just separate from managing my care or that of my kids.
That truly was the moment when everything shifted for me. In that moment, out of complete surrender, I began to find ways to build in more time for me – for things I loved and made me feel happy – even if they weren’t the same things that I could do and made me feel happy before I got sick. Though this may sound easy or simple, it wasn’t. Like I said, we were nearly broke, and taking money away from treatments for things that seemed frivolous was terrifying — particularly since I was managing care for my three kids. But since I was keeping a good log for each of us, I could actually see that it was working, and this affirmed my choice and strengthened my resolve.
Pretty soon I wasn’t just matching my investment on illness vs. wellness – the wellness side was pulling ahead – and we were all feeling better — not at the same rate, but each of us was showing improvement. It was amazing. I started a daily gratitude practice at that same time (now going on 1,160 days!), which focused my attention each day on the things that blessed my life, and I finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel.
When I was able to lift my head and look around me at the world, I knew that my work was to share my experience with others who faced similar struggles. This was the beginning of Chronic Wellness Tools, and later, Full Circle Wellness Tools. The turnaround hasn’t been easy – but it has been definitely worth it.
So when faced with those moments of powerful self-doubt, of loss, of the desire to just throw in the towel on whatever your goal to change may be, ask yourself, what am I not seeing here? What am I holding on to that’s keeping me in this negative spiral? How am I blocked? Use the doubt to shift your focus. Put energy into things that lift you. Track yourself, you’ll see the change starting.
I was set free because my greatest fear had been realized, and I still had a daughter who I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became a solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life. — J. K. Rowling