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January 5, 2017

Six Years

I look back, and my heart cries over that twenty-three-year-old woman crying on the couch, drowning in the fuzzy, answerless diagnosis of Fibromyalgia and the helpless helplessness of a life doomed to pain, exhaustion, and misery. 

"Fibromyalgia" literally means "muscle pain." That's just a symptom. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome--that's just a symptom. How on earth did I not know that those diagnoses essentially meant nothing, that there had to be infections and viruses and toxins in my body manifesting in my multitudes of symptoms? How did I not know what is no-brainer knowledge to me now? 

Because that kind of thing is a secret. 

That's not how good little people think. We have all grown up in a society that has conditioned us to playing the role of the helpless victim when we need to be taught to play the role of the ruthless advocate, the capable hero in a battle we have every reason and advantage to win. It's just that those we have so dangerously come to trust the most won't tell us how.

That woman who had no idea her diagnoses were just names of symptoms, that she was sick for a reason, that there was healing in her future cried a lot. She lost years to a bogus diagnosis and trying all the ways to help that everyone said to try. And then she found out what was really wrong with her body and learned in the process that thousands and thousands of suffering people are so suffering for many of the same reasons. And that's why that girl who kept crying on the couch back then can't shut up about it all now. Because she learned secrets that flipped her upside-down life rightside-up again and better than it ever was before. And all the other people crying on their couches, drowning in a fog of bogus diagnoses and the helpless helplessness of a life doomed to unending misery need to know:

Healing is yours for the taking if you want it.

I cry over that girl now not so much because she was suffering but more so because she didn't even know she didn't know what was wrong. I thought I had the answer and was simply doing the best I could, the best that anyone could do in such a situation. But I was dead wrong--miraculously, hindsight-is-20/20-gut-wrenchingly wrong.

When I was a teenager, I had this distinct feeling that I would be sick one day. As bizarre as it sounds, you could say I almost saw it coming. But while I had the impression I would be sick in the somewhat distant future, I had no idea at all I would or could later be well one day--and on the way transformed to a completely different person.

Sometimes I have moments of seeing social media posts of mine or hearing my words to others on health and wellness from afar and do a mental double take. Because I distinctly remember Health class back in 2nd/3rd grade and beyond. It was dry, dull, and pointless, made up of food pyramids and admonitions to exercise. (Considering health textbooks are fueled by mainstream views, it's no wonder they didn't exactly light a fire in me to truly care, but I digress.) I had no motivation to care about my health, as most healthy people don't. And well into my twenties, "health" was this abstract, unimportant idea floating in the air, something we all know our whole lives to be important but most of us not really caring to know why. And "eating healthy" held an even less appealing connotation: lots of greens and vegetables with no flavor but filled with deprivation and hunger. If anyone really didn't care about health, it was me.

Funny how you have to lose something to learn what the fuss was about.

If I could change what that girl lying on the couch six years ago is sobbing over, I wouldn't. I wouldn't snap my fingers and make her healthy if I could. Because she would continue to be exactly the same as she was before: floating along in blissful, pill-popping, gluten-filled, sugar-coated ignorance until some other illness caught up with her.

I would not change the what. But I would change the how--I would tell her the truth, the truth that took me years to discover, that I never dreamed existed:

Healing is yours for the taking if you want it.