It’s a bitter to swallow and it never gets any easier. In fact, most days it’s worse because bottom line: There’s no cure out there for me. There’s no fountain of youth (not that it would make a difference, but I would try it); there’s no magic pill for all my chronic ailments that would cure them all, and so here I am, looking at 50y.o. in five years, with the prospect of things being much worse, because let’s face it, time has thus far not improved the situation. I’ve revisited this scenario over and over again. No matter what I do, I’ll never be able to retreat to a better version of me.
It would be amazing if we could rewind the clock to that perfect time in our life when we were feeling our best. When nothing hurt and we were performing at our peak levels. It would solve so many problems if yoga could fix us; if it could restore us to our most limber, most youthful, and we would feel no pain. I would be ecstatic if there was one doctor, out of the many I have seen, who have performed so many surgeries on me, who could have brought me back to that perfect state instead of where I am today. But sadly, no matter what I do, no matter what I endeavor to try, I’ll never be the same as I was.
We’ve all been there. We’ve all been desperate enough to try it. The health crazes. “If I drink enough vegetable smoothies and get enough antioxidants, surely, I will get myself healthy again, right?” or “Meditation. Yes, I’m going to meditate myself back into a state of good health, peace of mind. My immune system will surrender and I will feel like I used to.” how about-and I kid you not, “Soak a tampon with Eucalyptus oil and Tea tree oil and soak in your vagina 24hrs, while in the meantime, drinking Elderberry tea.” I know, what sorcery is this you’re thinking. But we’ve all been in pain enough, sick enough and just plain desperate enough, to listen to the snake oil salesmen’s lies, and try anything to get our lives back. But there’s no Elixir of Life, no Elixir of Immortality that will either bring us eternal youth or, simply rewind the clock to a time when we were once healthy, before the sickness perverted out bodies. We must confront the mirror, accept what we see before us despite the pain it causes us and love ourselves in spite of it all.
However, when I say “accept what we see before us,” I don’t mean just give up and do nothing else to try and make us feel better. Doing things to improve our well-being often have far more to do with our mental health than our physical health. We already know that nothing else is going to change how we feel physically. Whether it’s an autoimmune disorder, a structural issue that causes physical pain or another chronic illness that is long term, these things are not going to likely to change. Medication maybe able to manage some symptoms, but not the underlying illness that doesn’t have a cure. But you can often do things to improve your mental health, which can often be stretched to its limits when you are facing an illness that is progressive and unrelenting. And, if you already struggle with mental health, it can only benefit you to do things that help you keep mentally uplifted. Utilizing meditation to quiet the mind, bring you into focus or help control the pain is a great way to use a tool that may not help with an underlying condition but whose effects can make a world of difference, sometimes the difference between wanting to die and wanting to live when the darkness creeps into our mind. It can be difficult for those in our life, who love us to understand how that darkness can permeate through our being, and how there is little they can do to alleviate the symptoms of it. No matter how much they love us, no matter how often they hug us, the pain and torment of our physical illness is there and can often reach limits that are too much to bear. Having something in our life, like meditation, or anything else that makes life bearable, even though it won’t cure us, even though it won’t take us back to that time before our illness, even though it’s not magical, may just be worth it.