In my book A Journey of Creative Healing I tell my story of how as a young woman, widowed with two infant children, I was diagnosed, with an aggressive form of multiple sclerosis. I had suffered random episodes of symptoms for a few years before these became too obvious to ignore.
Intuitively I rejected the diagnosis. I felt that my illness was a reflection of traumas and challenges in my life and that my illness was a physical and emotional breakdown.
To dismiss the diagnosis over fifty years ago was not difficult as little was known of the disease, unlike today, there was no swag of information, no range of medication, very few support groups and no follow up evaluation by health professionals to consider how I would cope as the disease progressed.
Instead I focused on a daily creative project, it did not matter what, or how big it was, or how perfect the results were I just put my heart and soul into doing something creative every day.
I have always been convinced this intuitive step of not defining myself as the diagnosis was central in empowering the other simple common sense steps of acceptance, rest, quiet, gratitude and creativity to weave their healing magic. This year I have been in remission for fifty-five years.
I am equally convinced that had I accepted the diagnosis and rested my mind on being a MS sufferer, my story would have played out in a very different fashion.
Today’s medical advancements are a far cry from the 1960’s and state of the art technological equipment provides as with a reliable and accurate diagnosis. Conclusively we see diagnosis is key to today’s successful management of that disease.
And it would be foolhardy to dismiss a diagnosis today.
Receiving a life-changing determination of what ails you focuses the mind keenly on the specific diagnostic definition.
But I still believe that it is counterintuitive to actually DEFINE yourself as the disease. By define, I mean try it on for size, see that it fits, then live and breathe 24/7 being a ‘…………… sufferer.’
‘Words are seeds that do more than blow around. They land in our hearts and not the ground. Be careful what you plant and careful what you say. You might have to eat what you planted one day.’- Unknown
Define comes from the Old French word ‘definer,’ which is a variant of Latin meaning bring to an end, finish, mark the limit of. Our words have energy and power, especially ones that flag our suffering. Quantum physics (way beyond my pay grade but I trust the science) say we are energy that attracts like-minded energy.
So be careful what you wish for or rather where you put your focus.
By necessity as a patient your life is focused on coping with treatment, medication and medical appointments. But you can balance this with practical steps to change your focus
- Make a determined effort to re-focus on doing what you love.
- Daily – find somewhere quiet and encourage your imagination to see yourself content and in good health.
- Practice gratitude.
- Avoid stress.
- Banish the word from your everyday language or say ‘you are holding space for………’
- Ask family and friends to keep the word to a minimum. Ask them instead to actively visualise you as healthy and content.
- Listen to your intuition and act upon it.
And when you able, in this wretched journey of ill health, have the courage to re-define your illness as a blessing seeing your sickness as simply the body and spirit’s way of saying ‘time-out’ to rediscover and renew you.
From this place you are no longer in conflict with the disease, and I have found, as many others have too, that when you get out of its way the body invariably knows how to heal itself.