When I learned she was dead, I was shocked but not surprised. She had been sick for a very long time, and I felt relief that her suffering had finally ended.
Knowing what I know about the struggles of my friend over the past 2 years, I’m not particularly interested in the details surrounding how she actually died. While sharing the news with a friend, I simply stated, “She was very sick.”
My friend asked, “Mentally or physically?”
Because I respect the memory of my friend, I didn’t want to answer the question despite knowing it was a perfectly acceptable and innocent question to ask.
Then I thought more about the question…
When we are sick, doesn’t the sickness affect our bodies and our minds?
Pain is not just physical; pain is mental and emotional.
When was the last time you hurt yourself and only that part of your body was affected?
When my belly hurts, my head hurts. When I cut myself or knock into a chair (because I’m clumsy sometimes), the pain is felt throughout my body. My mind becomes frustrated by my carelessness as much as my physical systems are stressed to heal my bruise or bump.
And just like our minds are affected by physical pain and injury, our bodies become affected when the pain and injury starts in our minds.
Many who have suffered psychological abuse leading to depression and self-defeating thoughts can attest: if we don’t have the tools to help us mentally heal, our physical bodies are directly compromised and weakened.
So many women I speak with daily through this blog suffer from physical conditions like fibromyalgia, gastrointestinal malfunctioning, exhaustion, insomnia, cancer…the list goes on.
I believe, regardless if the pain begins in our physical bodies or in our minds, we have the power and capacity to help ourselves heal.
(I’m not against medical treatment. Not at all. But I believe we can positively supplement medical treatments by remembering to think and be mindful of our inner power to heal.)
We need to stop putting pain and healing into buckets of physical or mental sickness. When we are sick, we are sick–body and mind. And because it’s our body and mind that is sick, we need to shift our thinking away from pills and band aids that only treat the original source of our pain and instead use a more holistic and mindful approach to healing.
I put this out there not because I read something (although I do read stuff) or because someone told me that’s how it should be. I put this out there because I have benefited from holistic healing unaware that I was helping myself holistically. It’s only been within the last 12 months or so that I have been able to step outside of the work I’ve done and analyze it.
I’ve tried just pills; I’ve tried just exercising.
I stopped the pills and stopped exercising for the sake of exercising. The pills didn’t make my depression go away anymore than exercising helped my knee pain go away.
What helped was taking a good hard look at everything I consumed and every activity I participated and every person I allowed to affect my thoughts and actions.
I love yoga. I love studying about nutrition. I love sharing what I have learned. I’m not a selfish asshole content with my own self-awareness. I want and wish for all of my friends and family members to benefit from what I have learned. It’s what drives me to keep me writing and spewing through my keyboard.
If you know me personally, you have surely heard me say, “You should try yoga!!”
It’s important to know that I’ll probably continue encouraging you to try yoga, especially if you keep insisting on complaining to me about how unhappy and in pain you are.
(Keep in mind that I want you to complain to me. I won’t judge you, but I will say, “You should try yoga!”)
If I didn’t care about you, I wouldn’t want to share with you what has worked for me…almost like a magic pill.
And because you welcome my repeated and annoying suggestions, I also welcome your advice to me even if your advice is to tell me to just shut up already.
I’ll take my chances at being the friend that annoys you.
(Image source: http://pinterest.com/pin/315814992590392541/)