I am a Licensed Acupuncturist and Certified Holistic Health Coach, with a BA in Psychology and an MS in Health Science. However, I admittedly learned some of my greatest lessons from my own struggles with chronic illnesses as a teen. I spent 15 years not only as a patient, but as someone learning the many factors that contribute to health and wellness, as well as what it feels like to be in the position of needing medical advice and assistance.
I’d like to share some of the most important lessons I learned along my journey that I hope may resonate with you:
1. Listen to and trust your body and yourself:
While I think we all need a support team for healing, never discount your own knowledge. No one else inhabits your body. Only you know how it feels to walk in your shoes; only you know the specific symptoms you are experiencing; only you can tell how you feel after eating certain foods, doing certain activities, or at certain times of day or in certain weather conditions. Start to be an observer of small shifts that may take place after you eat, exercise, rest, are in the sun, in the rain, or how you feel after taking medications or supplements. It is empowering to truly begin to listen to your body and trust yourself and then share that information with your doctors and wellness team.
2. Be kind and gentle with yourself:
Try not to get frustrated with yourself for not feeling well, for not being able to do what others are able to do without issue. It is important to feel what you feel, whether it’s angry, sad, frustrated, etc., but try not to take it out on yourself. You are your best ally. We are all human. There is no perfect, right way to manage illness and not feeling well. Treat yourself as you would your closest friend. Nurture yourself. Allow yourself to be and accept all of you wherever you are in the moment.
3. Do not judge your healing or anyone else’s:
We are all different. What works for some, may not work for you. And what works for you, may not work for others. There are so many modes of healing. Try not to be preachy nor be frustrated if something that works for someone else does not work for you or vice versa. Some people change their diet and feel a tremendous reduction in their symptoms, and some do not. Some people find relief from medication while others don’t. We do not walk in another person’s shoes. We may wish they would see it our way, but we have to accept that everyone has a right to choose the path that feels right to them. We do not add to anyone’s healing by being judgmental. The mind plays a powerful role in healing, so if someone believes and trusts in what they are doing, it is unkind to scare them or berate them for their choices.
4. Be curious and don’t give up hope:
I truly believe being curious as to the “why” of what you are experiencing is helpful. I wondered why my body was reacting the way it was and why I was having certain symptoms. I sometimes got mad and even felt sorry for myself, but the curiosity set me on a path to explore, listen, and find what worked for me. That it is not to say I didn’t get upset (and sometimes felt defeated) when I would try something and it didn’t help. There are days it is hard to feel positive and “up,” and that is okay, too. However, it is a big world, and there are a lot of options. Sometimes even though one path didn’t work for me, it connected me to another path or person who was able to help me. It is also okay to ask questions of your doctors, or any other healers you work with, so as to better understand a treatment, what to expect, how you may feel, etc. Remember, progress is being made and there are new developments in medicine every day. There is no one right way to heal. May we all stay open and hopeful to new ideas, but always do our research and make sure that it makes sense or resonates with each of us as individuals.
5. Share your experience:
I know it sometimes feels like no one understands your experience. People believe that since you look fine or you’re able to do certain things, well then, you must be fine. It can be painful, especially when it’s coming from people who are in your inner circle. However, trust that the more you share, the more you will find other people will share their similar experiences, or that they may know someone else who is going through it. We all have so much to learn from one another, so try not to suffer in silence. Keep sharing with your medical providers, too. Let them know what you are feeling both physically and emotionally. That is so important.
I, too, have much to learn from others, as I do from everyone I work with in my daily practice. I hope you will find this community a safe place to share your experiences in comments on my posts, on other people’s posts, as well as if MS HOPE asks for your stories.
Thank you for reading. I look forward to being a part of your community.
Lynn Keating, Lac. CHHC
acupuncture, healing, health coach, holistic healing, MS, multiple sclerosis