When You Do Everything Right, and You Still Get Sick
I've been on this path of healing for about twenty years, and I've tried more remedies than I can count. I've devoted my whole life to being well and eliminating my headaches, and I like to think I do a pretty good job at it. Yet sometimes, I still get hit with a headache.
Most of the time, I can pinpoint where I might have gone wrong. I ate at a new restaurant or someone else's house. I stayed up too late or forgot to drink water all day. But there are also times when I can't find any reason for it. I just wake up feeling like crap.
No matter what the cause, when I have a setback, it can feel pretty devastating. My anxiety launches into overdrive. I start believing that my life is over and my chronic pain is back for good. The truth is, though, that setbacks are just part of the journey. It doesn't mean you failed. It doesn't mean your life is over and you will be in pain for the rest of your life.
So when you encounter setbacks, here are a few things to help you through.
- Remember that nothing lasts forever. The pain might be intense. It might feel like Andre the Giant is going at your temple with a sledgehammer. But it's not going to be there forever. Pain is temporary, just like everything else in life. So don't panic.
- Indulge yourself with the royal treatment. If you must be sick and out of commission for a day (or three), treat yourself with loving kindness. Wrap yourself in the softest blanket, drink from the prettiest cup, and soak in the bath like a monarch. You may be in pain, but you still deserve the best.
- Tune in to the pain. This may seem counter-intuitive, because we want to get as far away from the pain as possible. But fighting and resisting the pain can often make it worse. Adopt a meditative approach. Channel your inner guru and pay attention. Sit with the pain without fighting it. Tune in and listen. Pay attention to what is happening in your body, and consider what it might be trying to tell you.
- Give yourself permission to rest. Sometimes the best thing you can do is accept where you're at in the present moment, admit defeat, and retire for the day. It can be hard to give yourself this gift, especially when you see to need it everyday. If you're like me, then you are probably white-knuckling the pain on a daily basis. But the ting is, sometimes your body really does need the rest, and it's okay for you to say yes, as much as life will allow.
The really bad pain days are no joke, and sometimes they happen despite our best efforts. Remember that this too shall pass. Wrap yourself in love and compassion, and know that you are not alone.