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My body is my teacher

I went to the doctor’s office this week and it was unsettling. 

In the last couple of years my energy level has plummeted drastically, and a variety of different and diffuse symptoms has arrived, including some weight loss. At first I thought it was because my digestive system was out of whack; I got it checked thoroughly + had blood test taken in Fall 2015. They didn’t show anything wrong. I have on my own inclination been making some rather big changes to my diet all along, which has helped somewhat: now at least I don’t have stomach aches anymore. Great relief! Then other symptoms showed up, the most persistent one is still feeling easily very drained and fatigued, but now if I physically push myself beyond my limits, I am getting bad muscle pains and tensions, sleeping poorly, feeling flu-like sick and weakened. Then I thought it might be my thyroid or metabolism being overactive; the symptoms seemed to match. I was so certain it was that and I just had to get the right medication. But now another possibility was brought up by my doctor: Chronic fatigue.

The doctor was new at the clinic; a bit of a peculiar old man with a dry sense of humor. Not displaying very much empathy (“well; there certainly isn’t much meat-juice in you!”..). But in retrospect, he actually said some pretty spot-on things, too. Like: “No need for getting more test done because it will just repeat your feeling of not being seen” and: 
“you have to focus on building yourself back up again”. 

The doctor’s assistant who afterward kindly comforted me stated that: “I looked like something the cat dragged in”. And while I could have taken it as a rather depressing statement, it felt more like: finally, someone sees/acknowledges how I feel and takes my anguish seriously.

My body is a (strict) teacher for me now, speaking in capital letters if I don’t treat it exactly how it needs. Any kind of trying to use willpower to make it do something (for too long), won’t work. I can’t do it anymore. I suspect that my current state of being is linked to forcefully pushing myself too much/often in the past (and secretly feeling resentment) in an attempt to live up to the norms and ideals of society. Well, there are of course multiple factors. Others are more specific to my personal history, like feeling trapped between “opposing forces” (internally and externally) and having absorbed limiting family beliefs, crisis and stresses. It is a complex mixture, I guess.

 Come to think of it, this situation resembles taking good care of an infant: I have to listen carefully and be completely in tune with what it needs from moment to moment and day to day. And then make appropriate decisions based on its (warning) signals. If I don’t, then I “reap” some rather painful consequences almost immediately. By now I am down to sometimes feeling physically sick even if it is “just” my mind that gets into a negative, cynical or hopeless loop or “stresses itself out”. I don’t seem to be able to cope with pressure; neither from inside nor outside! But, of course; you wouldn’t be speaking so cruelly to a small child, now would you? In that respect, it definitely makes sense.

Still, I don’t know quite how to view this diagnosis, yet, assuming it is correct. I guess I must accept it and become a responsible and loving caretaker of my body; give it sufficient rest and sleep, plenty, correct nourishment and attempt to live a life as free from stress as possible. To do (or no longer do..) what is necessary for me to recover. 

I wish all children, particularly sensitive ones who sense so much and feel so deeply, were taught early on to understand and respect the language of their body and feelings. It is just so important! 

The “Lesson” or what I would like to get across to you dear fellow HSP, is this: please don’t ignore or downplay your body’s signals, symptoms and feelings; its particular language. Even if nobody seems to understand or see good reason for them being there. It will only speak louder and louder, to get your attention. So listen carefully to it, respect it and make all possible and proper adjustments that you can. Your body really is your wisest teacher. After all; it is YOUR body and YOU are the only one who knows exactly how you feel!  

On a brighter note: my most treasured activities and interests, which is to be creative and to express myself artistically, luckily goes pretty much untouched by this dreadful illness. Hooray for that!

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About Mona

Author, artist & blogger
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