Do you feel 'stuck' as someone who lives with chronic illness? Do you feel like there's no way to change your current situation? Today Kerry Heckman is sharing her thoughts and experience on making positive changes that have helped her heal. Click here to read the full post!

How to Make Changes in Order to Heal

Do you feel 'stuck' with pushing through the pain of chronic illness? Never feeling like you'll ever get better? Kerry Heckman is sharing her story of leaving her full time job and the healing that it's brought her. Click here to read her full story!

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Today’s guest post is written by Kerry J Heckman of Body Mind Lyme.

In her book Mind Over Medicine, author and doctor Lissa Rankin discusses how she changed her patient interview process. She used to ask patients about symptoms. Then, she started asking patients, “What do you need in order to heal?” The answers surprised her and changed the way she practiced medicine. People started saying things like, “I need to quit my job,” “I need to leave my relationship,” etc.

Often times there is a voice in the back of our mind telling us we need to change something. For me that voice started many years before my diagnosis.

It told me I needed to leave my job. I was working as a school social worker with mountains of work and heavy responsibility. I ignored it and kept pushing myself and pushing myself, ultimately making myself sick.

The Lyme disease, which I’d most likely had since childhood, came out of remission. Then, I no longer had a choice. It was either me or the job. There is no doubt in my mind that if I had stayed at my job I would’ve ended up on disability. My body just couldn’t handle the level of commitment that was expected.

Making changes…

I know the response many people have when they hear this; they say, “I can’t quit my job.” Lyme disease treatment is outrageously expensive and most insurance companies won’t reimburse doctors for treatment, so we are stuck paying out of pocket. I completely understand that leaving a job is not possible for many Lyme patients, many of whom live on the brink of poverty.

If you can’t leave your job or make the other major changes you need to heal right now, it’s about finding small ways in which you can work toward the changes. The voice inside my head started telling me I need to leave my job five years before I actually made it happen.

Taking small steps is okay.

You don’t have to quit your job, move across the country, or leave your unhealthy relationship today, but it may help to take some time to think about what it is that you really need in order to heal. Start thinking about small steps you can take to move toward that place.

Can you make a commitment to updating your resume, or make an appointment for couples counseling? Can you make a Pinterest board of the place you want to live and research home prices in the area? At the very least can you start a 5 minute a day meditation practice in order to start listening to yourself and asking the question, what do I need heal?

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One of the first small changes I needed to make was to change my belief system. I needed to go from looking at my illness as a terrible thing that was thrust upon me, to a message. My illness was here to tell me something and I could either listen and make changes, or I could fight against it live a place of anger postponing the healing process. I started to get quiet and really listen.

“Find a new forest.”

Sometimes we think we are completely stuck in our circumstances, and that we are out of options. My personal belief system is that is never true. There is always a teeny tiny adjustment we can make (even if it is just in our attitude), which can tip the scales in our favor. A wise person once told me that I needed to get out of the forest I was in, because all I could see were the trees that were already there. I needed to find a new forest, so I could see new trees, and new possibilities.

Quitting the job I thought I would have forever was the scariest thing I’ve ever had to do – scarier than the MRIs, the hundreds of needles, and the swabs shoved up my nose. Now every day I wake up and know that I chose myself, I chose my healing, and I made the right choice.

Kerry can be found over on her blog, Body Mind Lyme, where she aims to create a positive space for those healing from Lyme disease and other invisible illnesses. She’s a contributor on the Global Lyme Alliance blog, as well as the websites Lymeology and The Mighty.

You can also connect with her on the following social media outlets: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest

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6 comments

  1. Brittany W says:

    I was actually just talking about this the other day. When I get in a rut with life or my illness I like to look at my life and find something I can change (for the better.) I’ll have to check out Body Mind Lyme for more great posts. 🙂 Thanks for hosting her, Kami!

    • Kami says:

      I really like that, Brittany. It’s important to look for ways we can grow and support ourselves while living with – and healing from – chronic illness. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts 🙂

  2. chelsea w says:

    “Find a new forest”–love that! Lyme disease can be so draining, and it truly can make you feel like you’re out of all options. I think my life is such a big puzzle with Lyme in it. Something along the lines of Jenga, I imagine. But eventually I hope that my patience and my problem-solving (and my faith) will come through and that I’ll win.

    • Kami says:

      Isn’t that so good? I loved that phrase, too. And I can relate to what you said about Lyme creating quite the puzzle in our lives. Always rooting for your healing, lovely. Sending big hugs!

  3. Peter Smith says:

    Hi Kami,
    I don’t know if this is the right section to ask this but I hope you’ll take time to read this.

    I’ve been suffering from a back injury for months now, and been dosing my self with a lot of pain relievers. I’m starting to think that I might take away the pain of my back with the meds but at the same time punishing my liver slowly. So I started reading articles about marijuana and it’s medical aspect and found this along the way http://www.ilovegrowingmarijuana.com/medical-marijuana-has-profound-effect-on-pain-relief/.
    I am already 34 years old and haven’t tried smoking or any other means of using marijuana and I have nothing against it. My question is that if i try it would I be dependent at the same time addicted to it? And will it really ease the pain? Thanks in advance to those who’ll answer

    • Kami says:

      Hi Peter,
      Thanks for reaching out! This is something I have yet to cover on the blog, but I’m happy to share my personal experience. I have used a variety of cbd oils and marijuana products over the last couple of years that have helped me a lot – as in, when prescriptions couldn’t. And I have not experienced any addiction problems. This article on the topic of addiction provides some science insight if you’d like further reading: https://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/31/opinion/what-science-says-about-marijuana.html Hope that helps and that you find something that offers relief!

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