My body has been in such limbo for the past couple weeks that I really struggled to find stability in my life. I felt like I had nothing to hang onto. When something as basic as biological cues for sleep and hunger disappeared, it’s difficult to look elsewhere for comfort and reassurance.
We need things in our lives that are stable. That’s why we establish schedules– we go to bed at the same time each night, we wake up to the same coffee in the same mug every morning, chew the same brand of gum, and overuse the same phrases. People develop addictions and eating disorders to find stability in their bodily consumption when other parts of life have gone awry.
I don’t mean to suggest we don’t need spontaneity and variety in our lives also. We just have to be in tune with what our bodies need– when we’re able to push them and when they need rest. My past two weeks of illness were so difficult because of the lack of stability: the new pains, the relentless discomfort, the lack of certainty. I felt like I had nothing to fall back on. My medications weren’t working (I later discovered they were causing more symptoms), even liquids were making me sick to my stomach. I just needed something to comfort me or give me reassurance for a moment. We can only cope with excruciating pain when we have strength beforehand and relief afterward. I didn’t have either.
So I gave in. I let the pain happen. I stopped searching for what I’d remembered as comfort and stability, and looked for it in my new environment. I changed my mentality, I left my house in the avenues and went home with my mom for a few days. Once I let go of routine and familiarity, I noticed new ways for me to find rest and comfort– aides I had been taking for granted all along. I started talking to people more, wandering outside, appreciating small things like hot showers and the feeling of being cuddled up under a blanket. I let myself notice periods of rest so the pain didn’t take over. In order to heal, people need both rest and change. Sometimes that takes letting go of our reservations to hold onto new sources of healing.