Sickness as the First Step Toward Optimal Health

For many people, relatively good health is something that is taken for granted. If you are physically and mentally able to function on a day-to-day basis – go to work or school, maintain relationships, and find time for yourself – then life is pretty good! However, when something happens that negatively impacts your health, and you are no longer able to carry out a “normal” life, you may realize that you weren’t living as healthfully as you could. As strange as it may seem, the breakdown of your body can be considered a blessing (albeit a blessing in disguise), because it will motivate you to do everything you can to make positive, sustainable changes in your life so that you may reach a state of optimal health.

About a year ago, I began to experience extreme fatigue – I would go to class in the morning, do some homework, and then have to nap for several hours afterwards because I was so exhausted. I began to fall out of my workout schedule, even though running had been something I loved to do daily since high school. I no longer had the energy to socialize with my peers. My face began to break out in horrible cystic acne, my digestive system was completely out-of-whack, I couldn’t sleep at night, and I developed debilitating depression. I was a college student – wasn’t I supposed to be in the prime of my life? Feeling physically awful and emotionally lost, I went to see my internist, a gastro-intestinal specialist, and a dermatologist, yet none of them were able to help me. However, I wasn’t prepared to live this way for the rest of my life, so I set out on a mission to heal myself. What I learned in the process changed my life.

Had I never experienced this illness, I would never have learned what I need to do in order to create a state of optimal health for my body, mind, and spirit. Through my extensive research, I decided to start a vegan diet, began a meditation practice, and tried alternative healing modalities such as acupuncture and colon-hydrotherapy. I have learned that I shouldn’t be so hard on myself, and that striving for perfection will only lead to stress and unhappiness. I also learned that I needn’t be alone on my healing journey – my family has been an indefatigable source of support, and I have been blessed to have an amazing doctor who practices functional medicine; she diagnosed me with hypothyroidism, candida-overgrowth, and adrenal fatigue, and I am now on a comprehensive healing regimen. Though my healing journey has taken a great deal of time and is far from being over, the lessons I have learned about myself, humanity, and this whole crazy experience of life have changed me forever, in the best possible way. I can see that optimal health is on the horizon, and I am gradually making my way there, step-by-step, day-by-day.

So here’s what I would love for everybody to take away from this: If you are experiencing less-than-optimal health, don’t ever, ever give up! Healing journeys are always difficult, but if you can look at your sickness as the first step towards obtaining optimal health, then the journey needn’t seem so daunting. I guarantee you, the lessons you learn along the way will be indispensible – there is nothing more powerful than the experience of sickness in pushing you to make positive changes in your life! Your body, mind, and spirit WANT to thrive; all you need to do is tend to yourself with love, patience, and care, and soon sickness will be a thing of the past, and vibrant health can become your reality.

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