embracing my past and my present with hope for the future.

February 5, 2012

Blessing and Healing Chant

Just as the soft rains fill the streams, pour into the rivers and join together in the oceans, so may the power of every moment of your goodness flow forth to awaken and heal all beings, Those here now, those gone before, those yet to come.
By the power of every moment of your goodness…
May your heart’s wishes be soon fulfilled, as completely shining as the bright full moon, as magically as by a wish-fulfilling gem.
May all dangers be averted and all disease be gone.
May no obstacle come across your way.
May you enjoy fulfillment and long life.
For all in whose heart dwells respect, who follow the wisdom and compassion of the Way, May your life prosper in the four blessings, of old age, beauty, happiness and strength.

*****************************************************************************************************

last night, i was talking to one of my best friends about where i’m at right now. i am taking six new medications. while most of me feels fine, there’s this piece of me that feels like i’m about to crawl out of my skin. i can keep it in check in front of others. i can act normal. i can play nicely. i can… but i’m very silently freaking out. in ways, i am so rational about my approach to treatment. actually, maybe i’m just good at rationalizing, but i digress. logically i know that taking a fistful of pills intended to target my brain and adrenal gland is going to have side-effects and cause some uncomfortability. i can’t stop moving, multi-tasking, worrying about things i can’t control, and indulging my obsessive, list-making self. i can say that i’m scared. i can make my mouth form words that describe how i think i feel, but i don’t know how to just sit with my feelings.

in a meeting last week, i was listening to someone talk about how their teenage niece has leukemia and how she’s so positive about it. “she can’t play soccer or do any of the things she used to do. she can’t attend school. she can’t do this or that or be a teenager, but she’s always smiling. she got a death sentence but she’s still happy as can be. we’re all sick over it and she has to make us feel better.” you get the picture, right? i don’t begrudge this young girl her happiness, but i realized that i was starting to resent the person who was talking about her. i couldn’t stop thinking about how positive i was in my late teens, after all my autoimmune diagnoses. i didn’t understand why it made my parents sad. i couldn’t really process the reactions of the people around me. i was going to get better. i was going to do what the doctors told me to do and this was going to heal me. that’s how i thought medicine worked. they know what this is and now they know what to do. 

okay, i feel like i need to stop here to tell you that in no way do i think that my diagnoses were anything like being diagnosed with leukemia. it is not/was not the same. i’m writing here about a train of thought triggered by listening to this person’s story. now, back to my regularly scheduled programming.

for a few years, in spite of slowly giving up most of the things that brought me joy, after relinquishing the life i had dreamed up as a child, i stayed positive. and then, after years of keeping my faith, it was gone. my light went out. my mental processes had turned faulty and unreliable. i couldn’t keep food down. i couldn’t go out with my friends. i went to a bar on my 21st birthday, had two sips of a beer and asked my girlfriend to take me home. i watched hundreds of movies, listened to the same cds over and over, and i wrote. my writing became dark and twisted, thick prose that detailed the demise of my hope. i scribbled depressing poetry, fortified by a hardback copy of gray’s anatomy i’d had since the fourth grade. in my mid-twenties, after i lost hope, my life rapidly spiraled downward. unbeknownst to me, a decade of constant immunosuppressants had allowed my lyme disease to infect every part of me. i was depressed. i was anxious. i was turning into someone else and i couldn’t stop it from happening. this led to my dark night of the soul, three years of such profound misery that i honestly thought i wouldn’t survive. at some point, i was sure i was going to die- a combination of my medical neglect, substance abuse and mental illness. i was spiritually bankrupt. i couldn’t remember who it was i used to be. i had given up on myself. i felt utterly worthless, a liability to anyone who crept into my sick life.

for those of you who have chronic lyme (or co-infections, or a debilitating chronic illness, or all of those things), i imagine you might be able to relate to this. my doctors weren’t helping me. i had the red stamp of insanity on all my medical files. having been relegated to the realm of crazy people, i stopped trying to get help.

then, amid the darkness, there was a major event in my life, which is not necessarily too personal to get into, but would just make this post even longer than it already is, so i’ll skip over it. this event reminded me that somewhere in all of this suffering, there was still goodness left in me. there was that buddha seed, the potential to be someone better than the person i had become. i nurtured that seed. i climbed out of my mental and spiritual pain. i cultivated my light. i changed everything about the way i was living/dying. i found hope again. it has been almost five years since i made the decision to live in this world, to participate fully in my life, to be of service, and to accept life as it comes.

so last night, i told my friend that i am scared. edging toward the precipice of my lyme treatments, i am hopeful again. having hope that i will find wellness, be healthy, be able to manage my diseases feels familiar. i did that once before. my wise friend called this fear my muscle memory, my body remembering and my mind recreating the past, but today, i’m a different person than i was back then. for one thing, i’m a grown ass woman, not a teenager. i’ve done so much work, so much soul searching since then. i have continued to nurture that buddha seed. this path i’m on is not the same one i walked before. it’s natural that i have fears that these treatments will not work and it’s my responsibility to face those fears. i remind myself that if i feel uncomfortable, that means i’m growing.

my friend suggested we text each other a prayer each morning upon waking. “but when i get up, it’s 5:30 your time,” i said. this morning, at 8 am, i sent her the first part of the blessing and healing chant i opened this blog post with. today i choose to embrace both my hope and my fear. they are twin aspects of a single reality, two sides of one coin, and for today, i’m going to honor them both.

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3 Responses to “embracing my past and my present with hope for the future.”

  1. Sini a said

    Thx for writing sweetie, it’s very helpful. xxx

    • i’m so grateful for your phone calls. i wish this wasn’t the journey we were taking together, but i’m mad grateful that i get to talk to you about what we’re going through. i hope today is a better day for you. xo

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