Putting Everything on Pause & Putting Myself First: How I Finally Turned a Corner with Chronic Lyme

healing-hiatus-selfie

It’s been several months since I last posted here, and I want to apologize for dropping off the radar without so much as a “hey, I’m taking a break.” If you’ve been following me on Instagram or FaceBook then you probably know what’s been up, but basically I crashed.

Last year I went from being at a “healing plateau,” to experiencing a number of health setbacks. By the end of the year, I found myself in yet another flare up, feeling chronically overwhelmed despite my dedication to daily stress-management & self care practices. Something had to come off my plate. It couldn’t be my Chronic Lyme treatments or self care. That left all things Hope Heal Cook. 

I first created Hope Heal Cook as a way to share how I was helping myself to heal because:

  1.  I believe radical healing is possible, and
  2. I believe in the radical power of a connected chronic illness community.

However, after a couple years of striving to balance my healing & HHC efforts, it became increasingly apparent that juggling both was taking its toll. I started to see how pushing myself to post about how I was healing was actually affecting my healing. Given the state of my health, “working,” even part time from home, was ultimately too much. After all, I already had a full time job: healing Chronic Lyme.

I was in desperate need of a Healing Hiatus: a total time-out from everything but the dedicated cultivation of holistic wellness.

I realized that the only way for me to fully devote myself to my wellness protocols (and not worry about backlogging comments etc.) was to officially “unplug” from Hope Heal Cook. At least until I was healthier. This was one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make in recent years. And I’ll be honest: I was stubbornly against it.

healing-hiatus-overwhelm

In the weeks before I finally found acceptance, I was drinking three cups of coffee & stressing over emails and tweets. Ridiculous right? But maybe you can relate? It’s never easy letting go of a part of your life you love because of chronic health issues. 

Yet, I couldn’t deny it any longer: I was still too sick to apply myself to HHC the way I wanted to, and more importantly, I was too sick to afford a division of focus; I had to put absolutely everything I had into my own healing. That meant giving myself permission to take an extended sick leave. I had to trust that the world would keep spinning even if I signed off and went into social hibernation.

heaing-hiatus-comic

When this starts to happen it’s time to unplug & recenter!

I’d also begun to recognize that daily social media activity wasn’t supportive of my personal healing. If anything it was intensifying feelings of loneliness and inadequacy. I’m endlessly grateful for the community & friends I’ve found online, but I’m also aware of the sometimes subtle, but nonetheless toxic ways in which social media can contribute to negative mind-states.

Our thoughts are truly powerful. Cultivating habits of thinking that support inner-wellness is a foundation of true health.

It’s up to us to become aware, and then make empowered changes when we notice something (or one) in our life is making us feel lousy. I’d finally reached a point where I couldn’t ignore that online activity is often one of those things for me.

So I needed to let go, to courageously declare: I can’t. I can’t keep doing what I’ve been doing because I choose to put my health first.

When it comes to online activity, putting Health First means:

  • I can’t and won’t push myself to post & respond if I’m tired or unwell. // I will put myself first and surrender the rest.
  • I can’t and won’t let an online To Do list sap my energy when I need every last bit of it to heal myself. // I will daily affirm that healing mind-body-spirit is my top priority.
  • I can’t and won’t ignore or downplay the ways in which I engage in self abuse by comparing myself to others online. // I will safeguard my sense of self and limit my time online, especially when I’m feeling sensitive or self-critical.
  • I can’t and won’t remain oblivious to the ways that social media can affect my mood. // I will be extra mindful of my reactions to other people’s posts and sign off as soon as I sense an emotional downshifting.

Self care & healing can mean making some really difficult decisions. In my life it’s meant moving to a healthier location, radically simplifying my diet and lifestyle, and cutting ties with toxic family members. Recently it meant letting go of social media & my blog-baby Hope Heal Cook while I focused on healing.

Currently it means having even stricter boundaries with screen time & never putting my online work before my health. None of these choices have been easy. But they’ve all been needed.  I always say, “Health First.” This is me practicing what I preach. 

When I first announced my Healing Hiatus, I didn’t know if I’d actually ever return to blogging. In fact, if it wasn’t for Wonderhubs’ wise advice, I likely would have shut down my site. I was feeling that discouraged. Instead I pressed pause & held onto hope. I hoped that if was able to raise the money I need for proper treatments, I’d be able to experience a health I’ve never known, and that I’d be able to return to sharing on Hope Heal Cook.

healing-hiatus-GFM

The “healing plateau” and subsequent health backsliding I experienced weren’t from lack of personal effort, but financial limitations. Chronic Lyme Disease treatments aren’t covered by any form of insurance. The only way I can afford to adequately treat this complicated illness is with donor support. Not only my health, but in turn my dreams, are now dependent on the kindness and generosity of others. Talk about vulnerability!

So if you’ve enjoyed Hope Heal Cook, please consider making small donation to my GoFundMe campaign. I’d also like extend another big Thank You to everyone who’s donated to my crowdfunding campaign or helped me spread the word by sharing it on social media. I was well enough to write this and post this because of YOU.

Because here’s the thing: my new treatments seem to be working. Not only have I started to experience real physical improvements, but I’ve regained the hopefulness and humor that prior to receiving crowdfunding support I’d all but lost. The truth is this: Healing Is Possible, but not without support. 

healing-hiatus-IV

Wonderhubs & I will continue to post treatment updates on my GoFundMe page so be sure to subscribe to follow along with my ongoing progress!

When it comes to making choices for our health, trusting our intuition is the most important thing we can do. If you’ve been thinking of taking time off from FaceBook or simplifying your schedule, it’s okay to do that. Really. Health First. If you’ve been feeling like you just can’t do one more thing without having a melt down, honor that. It’s probably true (and, by the way, it’s totally okay to have a melt down.)

When Sick becomes the New Normal, we can forget that we still have the right to “call in sick” when we need it. As often as we need it.

So I want to remind you: you can do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself, and if your health is your top priority, you must. So take care of you. And I’ll keep taking care of me.

Together we are The New Wellness.  Love & Naps Xx Kat

“Putting yourself first is not selfish. Quite the opposite. You must put your happiness and health first before you can be of help to anyone else.” ~ Simon Sinek

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2 thoughts on “Putting Everything on Pause & Putting Myself First: How I Finally Turned a Corner with Chronic Lyme

    1. It’s so true. I love sharing online and I know there’s a lot I can share, but I have to put my health first. Once I’ve healed more I can post more about how I did it. Especially for those of us who are both healing and blogging, finding that balance can be tricky. I’m glad my post resonated for you & that I’m not the only one who’s struggled with this! Xx Kat

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