8 years ago, I got bad news about my health. ‘It’s lupus.’
The only time I had heard of lupus was in a movie I watched in the 1980’s, ‘Gross Anatomy’. The mentor of the main character, after being unavailable during multiple big events, revealed that she had lupus. In the next scene, the heroine finds out that she died after a long battle.
So this is what I thought would be happening to me too, and very soon.
The doctor’s diagnosis turned out to be incorrect, and my issues have turned out to be related to a much more minor and non-fatal syndrome. But you can understand how shocking a major health diagnosis when you’re already in pain might feel. And I have a strong awareness now of what an illness like lupus can do to a strong and formerly active person. I have met so many men and women in my journey that struggle day to day with the effects of this and other auto-immune diseases. My heart goes out to them, and to anyone that is currently suffering. I hope that a cure is found to whatever ails you.
I write this blog to help others that are going through a difficult life change and are looking for help on their journeys. I speak as a person that has been through some very difficult moments in my life. My sincere hope is that as a reader, you take comfort and strength in the fact that I have made it through, and that you will too. In fact, I believe that great strength and self-knowledge comes to each of us when we face major obstacles in our lives. I now see my big bad obstacles as major blessings in my life that became huge growth and self-improvement opportunities.
Please see my advice for facing major issues head on. I hope you find this helpful, wherever you are currently at with the problem.
The first step is to face facts, and acknowledge that something very bad is happening to you. Take stock, and take the time needed to really grieve the loss of something caused by the issue you’re facing.
In this case, I needed time to grieve the loss of the assumption that I was healthy. I had to learn to focus on just surviving for a while. I also had to work to take stock of all of the things I still had in my life. A great family, a safe place to stay and no worries about being sheltered and fed, good friends – there’s always at least one thing to feel grateful for.
The following three actions really helped me to get a better handle on my circumstances, and to move forward in spite of how bad things were at that point in my life. Here are my recommendations for you:
1. During times of difficulty, further your education in topics that interest you. Make notes on any topics that interest you, and write down all ideas and trends that catch your fancy. Keep a folder on these articles, and a scrapbook on things and experiences for your bucket list to own or do.
During my recovery time, I focused on a few interests: becoming fluent in my mother tongue, reading as many books as I could get my hands on, and learning to cook with friends.
When I say focused, I mean full on, no time for anything else, give it everything you’ve got. The process of getting good at these goals directed my mind toward things that I could achieve fairly easily, but with a lot of work. And each step was fairly quantifiable, in terms of determining how good I was.
For example, with regard to speaking my mother tongue (an Indian language known as Gujarati), I used full on immersion, in terms of speaking nothing else with native speakers. I knew I was getting somewhere when my parents’ friends would compliment them on my language skills. And they would, of course, be proud and tell stories about how I had been practicing with them for months.
I wasn’t quite as regimented with the cooking, but I still hope to turn this into a skill one day. One step at a time.
2. Work to heal the baggage of your past in any way that works. I can honestly say at this point, that if it exists as a form of healing, I’ve tried it. My mom is a doctor, so I’ve generally tried all that medicine has to offer when it comes to physical ailments. I soon found that traditional western medicine does not often heal issues at the deepest levels.
Don’t get me wrong, there are many good medical treatments out there, and if they work for you, by all means, try them. I’m just going to be discussing things in this blog that worked for me. And in case you’re wondering, yes, Dr. mom knows my opinions. She doesn’t often agree, but she will be the first to talk about the results I’ve achieved, and that she finds them remarkable, no joke. I’m fairly sure her life view has completely changed after witnessing the amazing amounts of healing I’ve been able to undergo, as I’ve eventually become a different person than what I started out as.
3. If you fall short in a goal, don’t beat yourself up about it. The old me would constantly ruminate over my perceived weaknesses. I’ve grown to understand that there are so many hours in a day, and as long as you are meeting your major priorities, you are a success. Treating oneself kindly is extremely important, and is so vital to living a happy life.
I encourage you to take steps to be kinder to yourself than you are today. No one is perfect, and that means that you don’t need to berate yourself for falling short of your own or others’ expectations. Learn to embrace the small wins in your day, and not focus so much on what you have yet to accomplish (I KNOW you do this, we all do).
Fast forward to the present day. What’s my life like now, you ask? To try and put this objectively, two of my friends have told me that, of our six closest friends, I am the one with the most energy and living the happiest, most fulfilled life.
How did I get to this point? Through years of trial and error.
I knew for years and years before the false diagnosis that I wasn’t as healthy and happy as I wanted to be. Stress and difficulties got to me too easily, and where I was at was definitely not where I wanted to be in life, whether it was career-wise, relationship-wise, health-wise, you name it. I had somehow gotten used to settling in every way in my life. Right before my bout of illness, I had decided, ‘no more settling, and no more “make do” life’. So I used every method that appealed to make things better.
Now I can honestly say that I love my life, and I’m the most happiest and most fulfilled version of myself that I’ve ever been. And if I can get to this place from where I was before, anyone can!
At many points, I’ve felt that I had no idea what my purpose was, why I was existing. I felt lost, stuck, and alone. If you are struggling with a major life issue that keeps you from feeling happy, I hope to be able to help you through it.
Stay tuned for details. I’ll continue to post my favorite recommendations and the steps I followed to get to this point. It wasn’t easy, but I will be breaking the steps down so that anyone can follow them to get to maximum happiness.
My goal with this site is to teach you the steps to build a better life for yourself. Being able to recover quickly from tough obstacles is one part of living a great life.
As I mentioned earlier, dealing with adversity builds incredible strength. Take a look at the following link if you’re interested in reading more about this topic:
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Happy Reading! xoxo, Amy