I am pusher. I push forward. I work sick. I don’t use a lot of vacation or sick time. I am a giver and a care taker. I take care of others. I’ve made a habit of showing up for others before showing up for myself. Quite frankly, I put loving others ahead of loving myself.
A foot injury a few weeks back triggered back problems and an autoimmune flare up. Then my best friend died at the same time. I am feeling the affects emotionally, physically and spiritually of the collective stress.
My foot and back and elbow tendinitis are healing. They are slowly improving. I was able to walk two miles yesterday and today with only a small amount of discomfort. Physical Therapy has been helpful.
I have Celiac Disease, an Autoimmune Disease. Celiac Disease destroys the digestive system and can lead to stomach Cancer. By the time I was diagnosed in my 40s, there was already substantial damage to my stomach, liver and gut. My Gallbladder was already removed in 1997. At the time I was diagnosed in 2011, I had Gastritis and Liver Damage. I was in the hospital for a week. I actually could not eat solid food for ten days. I immediately stopped drinking alcohol and changed to Gluten Free diet. I have seen substantial improvements in my health and in my gut. My Liver is completely healed. There is no sign of any Liver damage in any of my current blood work. However, my stomach will never be completely healed. I have what they call “chronic autoimmune gastritis”. My stomach will always be super sensitive and predisposed to gastritis flare ups when I get sick or stressed. It’s just a part of my life.
At this time, a gastritis flare up is my biggest challenge and it’s taking some time to get it settled down. I know for a fact I ate Gluten by accident last week. I also was drinking a lot of diet soda and taking fish oil for the inflammation in my foot. In retrospect, my tummy held out pretty good but this week it hit the brakes pretty hard on me. I am really tired, bloated, nauseous and in fair amount of belly pain. I also have TMJ which is stress related. I suspect grief, stress, worry, poor food choices and not taking care of myself properly caught up to me.
I’ve been praying and reflecting on how I got this far into a flare up and depression. Obviously, I am grieving for the loss of my best friend and the last few weeks have been very stressful. But, this is more about me not loving myself enough to take care of myself properly. Almost as if I was thinking that my broken body was not worthy of love; not by me or anyone else. I actually haven’t been dating the last few years because I haven’t wanted to explain to men all of my health issues. I haven’t wanted to explain that sometimes it flares up and I am tired. I can’t do what other folks can do. I didn’t want anyone to see it; not my friends, family or any man who may care about me. I’ve been asked on dates, I refused. I supposed it’s why I’ve always been attracted to “safe” men who I could love at distance. Now, don’t get me wrong. I do truly love Blue Love. I truly love him and I would feel safe letting him in and allowing him to see the real me, all of me – that’s if he was available to me. But, this is deeper than just having a man love me and my body. This is about ME loving and honoring MY body. This is about me being a friend to myself and my body.
Deep stuff, right? Well, you can’t heal something you refuse to see. So, I decided to bring it from the darkness to the light to be healed. As this time of my life, self care is about honoring where I am today and surrendering to what my mind, body and spirit needs to return to holistic wellness. I affirm I deserve to be loved. I affirm my body deserved to be loved and cared for. I will give myself the space I need to heal the right way this time.
As far as calming the gastritis down, I was going to do a Whole 30 diet to help settle my tummy down but I remembered Whole 30 is compromised mostly of meat and vegetables. Neither are really great for settling down Gastritis. Instead I am going to focus on bland easy to digest foods in smaller quantities for few weeks.
The bigger issue I have is work. I decided I need to go into work and talk to my new boss. I need to explain I am enjoying the job and don’t want to lose or walk away from the opportunity but I need to give myself some space to heal. I know my employer believes in reasonable accommodations so I am going to ask to work a reduced schedule for the month of May(maybe half days or three days a week) with no travel. I am hoping I’ve built up enough creditability that they will work with me. Also, my doctor told me she will write a note to cover whatever I need when I see her on Wednesday night. My boss and I can reassess my status at the end of the month. Hopefully, I am back to 100% by June and things work out. If they don’t, I’ve made my peace with that too. I’ve let go of attachment to any outcomes. My focus needs to be doing what’s best for my body and my life first. Even if this job doesn’t work out, I have a good job to return to. I have faith everything will work out for my highest good.
Self care for me today is about acceptance of my limitations. It’s also about bringing the dark parts of my soul to the light for healing and speaking my truth with authenticity by asking for what I need. Lastly, it’s about letting go and trusting that God will provide for me. I affirm – Everything always works out for my highest good.
I did buy myself a little happy this week. I’ve been wanting a comfy chair to rest in, watching TV in and for nights I have trouble sleeping. So, I ordered a leather recliner. It will be delivered in two weeks. It will look great in my condo which is decorated in red, brown (Mahogany) and off white. The photo is below.
What does self care look like for you today? What have you done recently to take care of yourself?
(C) 2018 Linda A. Long – All Rights Reserved – Highest Good Holistic Health Coaching, LLC
Art Credit: Midnight Red by C.M. Cooper