The Learning Curve of Healing
Two Junes ago, when I took my first steps away from conventional medicine, I had no idea of the size, scope, and complexity of the journey ahead of me. I expected to take some natural supplements, probably go gluten-free, maybe do some acupuncture, and be healed in a couple months. I thought I was open, I thought I knew roughly what to expect, and I thought everything would go smoothly and simply. But now, looking back on the year and a half since I began this journey, I realize how naïve I was.
Maybe this could be compared to visiting another country for the first time; a person visualizes his travels and adventures and how he will change by the time he leaves, but the visit itself comes with its own route, stirs up new emotions, and changes the traveler’s concept of change.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about what I’ve gained from this experience, because although it has been a trying one, or perhaps thanks to it being so trying, I have benefitted greatly from it. (And I’m not just saying that.) I’ve put together a list of lessons learned, a list that I’m sure will be added to by the time I’m fully healed. My healing journey has been a long one, but I’ve learned quite a few things that will be useful for the rest of my life, in sickness or in health. The lessons listed below have to be learned on each person’s individual journey – not memorized and applied – but perhaps they can be of use to others by confirming what they are starting to learn themselves or already know, or by being the seeds of ideas that will later be confirmed through their own experiences.
- Health won’t abide by your schedule or expectations, and definitely not the schedule or expectations of others. Make your health your number one priority – over school, work, vacations, desserts, everything. Because without your health, you won’t be physically able to do or have any of these things.
- All the chiropractor visits, acupuncture appointments, massages, supplements, herbs, and diet changes in the world won’t bring you to optimal health if you ignore your mind, your heart, and your gut feelings.
- Hold your practitioners to the highest standards, and let them go if they don’t resonate with you. Don’t stick to a healing path just because you started on it. As with life, there is an infinite number of paths, so don’t worry about setting yourself free from one that isn’t exactly what you need.
- Learn to ask for and accept help. Know what resources are available and what rights you have, and take advantage of them.
- Listen to your body. Even if you’re a die-hard New Englander who is proud of the cold you can normally withstand, admit you’re cold if you are, and take care of yourself; put on as many layers you need, turn up the heat, drink warm water, and take hot baths. Don’t feel guilty about taking extra care of yourself – heat and hot water are not being wasted if they help you feel better, time is not being wasted if you need to sleep, and money is not being wasted if it’s for your health. Comfort yourself in other ways, such as making your environment a place you want to be, with decor, lighting, cleanliness, whatever works for you. A comfortable and healthy environment will help lift your spirit, and therefore your health.
- Be an empowered patient: research all of the therapies, diets, medicines, and supplements that your practitioners recommend, don’t be afraid to question or oppose your practitioners, pay attention to what works and what doesn’t, and never forget that you know your body better than anyone else.
These are the lessons I’ve put together in the past couple days. They cover my learning curve of healing, as of yet. If and when I collect some more, I’ll update this and make sure to write a post notifying you that I’ve done so.