Introduction: start here

Disclaimer: everyone’s health journey is unique to them and what works for me won’t always work for you.  

This is not meant to replace treatment from your doctor or physician  

Years of going from doctor to doctor.  

Being discouraged by lots of unanswered questions.  

Waking up more tired than when you went to bed.  

Not having enough energy for the day, friends, or family. 

Wondering if you will feel like this forever. 

Wanting to feel better but nothing seems to be working. 

Sound familiar? 

First of all, let me tell you that a diagnosis does not define you or have control over your life. You still have the ability to live a full and thriving life despite having chronic illness or mental health issues. In fact, the struggle you’re going through might be the very thing that is meant to build your character and inspire growth. I hope you see that, if you don’t already, trials can make you stronger and transform you into a person you couldn’t have been any other way. This doesn’t change the fact that it can make life hard, but it’s more than possible to live a prosperous life even with chronic illness.  

The reason I’m writing this is so that you might be encouraged, supported, and helped through my experience with chronic illness. I am definitely not a doctor or have any expertise in the health world, but I want to share what I do know through personal experience and research 

Crash course for chronic illness or disease: 

There are many definitions of chronic illness or disease I have found 

According to an article from NCBI, “Rather than adhering to a specific list of diseases and a specified time period, we advocate for a simpler approach. According to Merriam Webster, “chronic” is something that is “continuing or occurring again and again for a long time.” Using this simpler view, we would exclude something like a broken leg as a chronic condition, but would include reoccurring lower back pain, or hormone-related migraine headaches, for example” 

According to Wikipedia a chronic condition is, 

a human health condition or disease that is persistent or otherwise long-lasting in its effects or a disease that comes with time. The term chronic is often applied when the course of the disease lasts for more than three months. Common chronic diseases include arthritis, asthma, cancer, COPD, diabetes and viral diseases such as hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS (9). 

Finally, the World Health Organization states that chronic diseases, 

are not passed from person to person. They are of long duration and generally slow progression. The four main types … are cardiovascular diseases (like heart attacks and stroke), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructed pulmonary disease and asthma) and diabetes (10). 

My health journey began my junior year of high school. I was involved in swimming, soccer, track, band, and many other social events. Although I had sleeping issues for my entire life, I was always full of energy until my junior year. At first, I just thought I was lazy because I felt way too tired to pay attention in school, go to practice, and hang out with friends/family. It was very difficult to balance everything, and I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning to face another exhausting day. By my senior year I quit all sports, extracurricular activities, and spent a limited amount of time with other people. You can imagine the mental/emotional effects this would cause (we will talk about this later). To make a long story short, I was dealing with iron deficiency, insomnia, chronic fatigue, acne, liver congestion, mental health issues, and some other internal off-balances. Some of my health issues aren’t categorized as ‘chronic’ necessarily but still impact chronic health and overall wellbeing. I went to many different doctors including Mayo Clinic, homeopaths, naturalists, and therapists. Nothing seemed to be working to achieve the results I was hoping for. It was after I understood that in most cases, all my health problems were interrelated, I started experiencing healing. Now, I am still dealing with a lot of these issues, but I have learned how to manage them and have grace with myself and my body. I definitely still struggle at times, but I know that healing isn’t linear and is a process that takes time. Our health is very complex, so treating and managing it usually involves complex solutions. I would love to share with you the things that I’ve learned, found helpful, and the many mistakes I have made throughout this ongoing journey. 

Wishing you all the best, 

Sarah 

References:  

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4969287/

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