How can your Mind and Body not be one! They’re all contained in the same being right?
Now days we’re told that we should do Yoga, be in tune to nature, be Mindful and that definitely is a healthy place to be in where your Mind, Body and Spirit are balanced. A lot of people are probably relatively balanced between their Mind and Body and haven’t ever really thought about it as that’s quite a natural place to be. Unfortunately the world is increasingly being turned inward people living their lives in their Mind through screens with less and less interaction with the outside world. This will lead to more Mental and Physical health problems. With a bit of conscious thought it should be relatively easy to get the two in tune surely? But what if you have a Mental or Chronic Physical illness, how easy is it then, do you really have any control over it?
I’m at a relatively stable and good place with my mental health at the moment but due to the nature of Chronic Pain and Fatigue my Mind and Body have a rather dysfunctional relationship. So many people with these ‘invisible’ illnesses have the same struggle so I thought I’d try and reveal a bit for the ‘normal’ or ‘healthy’ of you that are interested.
The relationship is so dysfunctional that if they were people you’d be encouraging them to go their own separate ways for the sake of each other, they’re obviously not compatible. There was a time when they were striving towards the same goal. I would feel pain, be on the brink of my limitations and together my Mind would block out the pain and my Body would keep pushing further, pushing through. Yes they were cooperating but not in a healthy way. Now they’ve got to the point where my Mind knows things need to change but my body is unable to respond or cooperate. My Mind often treats my Body in a way that I’m terrified people will treat me as a whole with my condition. It abuses and chastises, bullying it because it can’t live up to expectations.
Although it may seem backwards in going forwards I’ve found that for them to work together as a whole I do need to treat them as completely separate beings. I would treat no other person the way I have treated myself in the past. I have made so much progress mentally in the last 18 months learning to be kinder to myself and process my emotions in a healthier manner. But I haven’t quite managed to translate this into the way I treat my Body. I’m more like a Drill Sergeant screaming at it to get up and get on with it even though it’s broken and incapable of responding.
Sometime it’s an honest mistake, that I was unaware that I wasn’t up to certain activity. It doesn’t seem like much and it is so far removed from what I used to be able to achieve that I think that it must be possible. That is fair enough and I try not to beat myself up over making this mistake. On the other hand I generally know that said activity will take me to my limits and result in pain and exhaustion for days after, and sometimes it’s worth it, but I still chastise my body for feeling this way, for being unable to cope even though I knew that before I pushed it.
The struggle I have at the moment is, that with rest and my progress mentally, my Mind has the get up and go to fight, to start living again, to go back to uni and study, to just want to run and feel alive but my Body (at this point) is incapable of responding to that. I wouldn’t kick the crutches out from someone who broke their leg a week ago and tell them to run but that’s pretty much what I expect of myself. This constant bickering, placing unachievable expectations on each other, battering each other, treating my Body with disdain and half the time my Mind and Body not even being on speaking terms with each other is exhausting! To curb this also takes energy though and this is where the struggle lies. Having Fibro tell you were you can go, what you can and can’t do, stopping you from socialising etc. it’s like an abusive relationship. The thing is you can’t fight back really because then your Body breaks down leaving you imprisoned. Because there is no set timeline to recovery, there’s that flickering fear that there never will be recovery, that if I don’t push to get better then that door will close, that finish line will vanish and I’ll be stuck here.
Yes I want to get better and move on but it’s going to take time and kindness. When I ask my Body to do something and it tells me it can’t then I need to accept that and be ok with it, not resent it. I need to give it time, I know it’s trying its best. I need help. The biggest problem is that I’m not well I cannot function as a ‘normal’ person at the moment as much as I want to, as much as I try, but I’m not ill enough to be considered ill or in need of help. I’m in this middle ground, floundering, trying to figure it out on my own because the world at the moment is not a compassionate place. It treats people who need help as weak, as not good enough and not worth the effort and as liars and hypochondriacs. So much so that that is how I was programmed to treat myself. People are scared of admitting they need help fearful of the consequences, whereas we could save people. Help them before they break rather than wait till all hope is lost and the mountain to climb seems impossible. None of these people with these Chronic illnesses want to disappear, be unable to work, end up unable to be part of life and a community, they fear it. They want to work, to be well.
So please if you are struggling tell someone and please if you know someone who is struggling help them. Lots of people hide their pain so ask them. Check on your family, your friends, your coworkers, members of your church. Don’t let them slip away.