The human body is simply amazing. What we as humans are able to endure never ceases to amaze me. Growing up as a healthy child, I never realized or understood this innate power we all have to survive. I was healthy and life never seemed to get in the way of who I wanted to be. However, at the age of 20, that all changed. It all started with severe digestive symptoms. I remember feeling like I constantly had food poisoning. I was often bedridden for days on end. I would lose 15 pounds in a matter of days and then struggle to put that weight back on over the next month. At that same time, I also started to experience a fatigue like no other fatigue I had experienced before in my life. I used to work out for several hours a day so I know what it feels like to drain yourself of energy, but this fatigue was different. It was far more severe than anything I had ever experienced before and it would not get better with rest. I liken it to the feeling you get when you are extremely sick, minus all the sick feelings. So if you could take away the sore throat, the runny nose, and the fever, you would be left with a feeling of being drained. That drained feeling is what this fatigue is like, but 100 times worse. And then there is the brain fog. There is nothing like feeling like a space cadet all of the time. I always have a very low-grade headache and a feeling like everything I am experiencing is being run through a filter.
Over the past 8 years I have dealt with all of these symptoms to varying levels, but at the core they have all remained. They have made simple everyday things extremely taxing for me. School has had t0 be a very part time gig for me. It took me 10 years to get my bachelor’s degree. And even with my part time schedule, I cannot count on my hands the number of times I had to drop classes or completely drop out of school altogether. My ability to work has been reduced to very simple part time jobs at the best of times and a complete inability to even hold the most basic of jobs most of the rest of the time. I have lost many friends and barely socialize with the ones I still have. In an attempt to regain some of my old life, I have done everything from going to the Mayo Clinic for several months, to working with things like acupuncture and nutrition as medicine. And while I have found a few diagnoses like Celiacs Disease, ME/CFS (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) and IBS (Irritable Bowl Disease), which have helped manage some of my symptoms, I for the most part still have no idea why I am feeling the way I am feeling and what to do to fix it.
This has been a major life event for me and has changed me to the core. Before all of this, I took life for granted. I defined myself by the things I was able to do. If you asked me who I was when I was 18, I would have told you that I was an athlete because I climbed, biked and was always active, That I was a good friend because I was always out doing something social with friends. That I was independent because I worked, went to school, had my own apartment, and paid bills. And most importantly I was happy because I had and did all of these things. When that was all taken away from me 8 years ago, I lost everything that is associated with the identity of who I thought I was. No more working out, no more social events, no more school, no more work, no more independence. Relearning where I fit into this world and what my identity is over the past 8 years has literally been the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life.
Through all of this craziness, I have started to realize that I have been given a gift; the ability to deal with the loss of what I thought was my identity. In that space of learning this gift I have started to learn who I truly am. And that is why I am creating this blog. I want to share with anyone who wishes to listen, the experiences and lessons I have learned that make me who I am today. I want to give the gift of what I have learned back to others in similar situations. I want to help other people physically, emotionally, spiritually, psychologically on their own journeys.
It is so important for us to realize the impermanence of all aspects of our lives. Anything that can be taken away from you is not who you are. Everyone loses their abilities at some point in their life because everyone gets sick and everyone dies. So it is not the things we do in our lives that define who we are, it is what we learn from the circumstances we are given that defines our true identity. Live the life you’re given.
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