This will be a post about gratitude, eventually.
I’ve been hurting lately, both physically and emotionally. I haven’t felt this way in more than six months.
It was just about a year ago that I went to see my chiropractor because my body hurt and I chalked it up to running while getting older and fatter. That one visit resulted in a series of doctors visits, diagnoses, miracles, and revelations. The chiropractor recommended that I see a naturopath, and the naturopath recommended that I see a hormone specialist. I was diagnosed with Lyme disease,* hormone imbalance, and a few other things…mostly having to do with my body as a whole being out of balance.
Treating these issues resulted in amazing things. As Spring sprung, so did I. I felt fantastic, the mental fog cleared, I got my energy back, my cravings and false hunger went away, and I started working out with kettlebells. Life was good and my body reflected it.
Then the days got shorter, colder and damper and, in a matter of days it seemed, my body started to hurt (the “bad” aches and pains not the ones I associate with a good workout), then came some slight depression and unusual fatigue. The good news is that my cravings and false hunger have not returned, I haven’t gained weight, and, for the most part I am able to continue working out.
I’m trying to stay positive, but admit that I’m worried. I don’t want to go back to that physically painful and emotionally depressing place. And yes, “back” also means to a place where I am not comfortable with the way my body looks and feels (pain aside). When I feel physical pain and depression…when I focus on it, I also feel “fat.”
But the point of this post isn’t to complain, it’s to be grateful. I really have to remind myself of one of the guiding principles in my life: what you see depends mainly on what you look for…focusing on it will only make it grow. And so I have been practicing gratitude to make myself feel better, both mentally and physically. The amazing thing is that it works.
The idea of gratitude, or of being grateful, has changed a lot for me over the years. It used to be just one more “should,” as in “you should be more grateful,” or “you don’t know how lucky you are,” … said, I suppose, to stop me from whining or complaining about something.
There were many years when being grateful didn’t really occur to me, except during prescribed moments like Thanksgiving. Then came the gratitude fad. Remember when those “Simple Abundance” gratitude journals by Sarah Ban Breathnach came out? At the time, I rolled my eyes at the whole thing.
It has taken me a long time to understand what it really means to be grateful. Now I understand that, much like love, gratitude is something that feeds on itself. The more you are grateful, the more you have to be grateful for! The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate (I think Oprah said that). And when I cultivate gratitude, I get an actual physical feeling in my body and it seems to make me feel better.
But being grateful isn’t enough to “cure” whatever is going on with me, so it’s time for another Lyme disease test. There is a brand new test that is designed to provide a much more comprehensive assessment. It identifies the antibody response to the Lyme bacteria, examines the immune system’s memory to identify if the bacteria are hiding out in the body, and identifies the presence of inflammation due to it. In other words, it will determine whether I’ve ever been exposed and whether or not the Lyme is active. I plan to have the blood drawn next week. Once I have the results, then I can decide how to proceed. I’ll keep you posted.
Stay tuned…in an effort to really appreciate my body and show it some gratitude, I’ll be doing an “Exposed” post soon…
This post was written as part of Self-Discovery, Word By Word, a new blogging series kicked off by Ashley, who writes Nourishing the Soul, a body image blog. The series is intended to help those who are interested in exploring their lives through words.
*I am still not convinced that I ever had Lyme disease.