Guest Posts, healing, Illness

Advice: How to Heal from Chronic Illness

April 8, 2016
advice

By Lauren Jonik

You should get more sleep. You should sleep less. You should go out more. You should stay home and rest. You should pray more. No, like this. To this God. You should try this drug. And this one. And this one. And this one. This one, too—it’s via IV.

Did we mention that the IV catheter will be surgically implanted in your chest? And that it will stay there for a year? And leave a tiny scar to remind you, twenty years later, every time you take a shower or wear a bathing suit? You should see this doctor. And this one. And this one. And this one.

Did we mention you will stop counting doctors after the fiftieth one? You should eat meat. You should stop eating meat. You should avoid sugar. Completely. For seven years. You should exercise. You should make sure you don’t overexert yourself. You should sleep only when it’s dark outside. You can’t? Okay, then don’t sleep at all.

Did we mention you will stay awake for three days straight by following this rule? Or that it won’t solve anything? You should try Chinese herbs. You should try other herbs. You should try supplements. You should drink this liquid concoction that looks and tastes like tree branches. You should walk barefoot on the earth. You should embrace your feminine power. You should put your menstrual blood in a flower pot and watch it nourish plants. Yes, really.

You will believe you can heal then. You don’t have to do anything else. You should create a vision board. You should manifest health. Like magic. You should accept your fate. You should fight. You should listen to everything outside of yourself. You should listen only to what is within. You should go get drunk. It’ll cure ya or kill ya. You should drink more water. You should stop drinking so much water. You should get out of that room.

You should trust yourself. You should trust the process. You should do whatever you can, however you can. Take as much time as you need. Yes, yes, this.

Lauren Jonik is a writer and photographer in Brooklyn, NY. Her work has appeared in Artemis, Calliope, Vending Machine Press, Panoplyzine, Caravel Literary Arts Journal and on Ravishly.com. She currently is at work on a memoir about coming of age with a chronic illness. Follow her on Twitter:@laurenjonik

 

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Join Jen Pastiloff in Tuscany Sep 17-24, 2016. There are 5 spaces left. This will be her only international retreat in 2016 and is her favorite retreat of the year. Email barbara@jenniferpastiloff.com asap. More info here. Must email first to sign up.

 

Join founder Jen Pastiloff for a weekend retreat at Kripalu Center in Western Massachusetts Feb 19-21, 2016. Get ready to connect to your joy, manifest the life of your dreams, and tell the truth about who you are. This program is an excavation of the self, a deep and fun journey into questions such as: If I wasn’t afraid, what would I do? Who would I be if no one told me who I was? Jennifer Pastiloff, creator of Manifestation Yoga and author of the forthcoming Girl Power: You Are Enough, invites you beyond your comfort zone to explore what it means to be creative, human, and free—through writing, asana, and maybe a dance party or two! Jennifer’s focus is less on yoga postures and more on diving into life in all its unpredictable, messy beauty. Note Bring a journal, an open heart, and a sense of humor. Click the photo to sign up.

Join founder Jen Pastiloff for a special Mother’s Day weekend retreat in Ojai Calif, May 6th, 7th, & 8th, 2016.
Get ready to connect to your joy, manifest the life of your dreams, and tell the truth about who you are. This program is an excavation of the self, a deep and fun journey into questions such as: If I wasn’t afraid, what would I do? Who would I be if no one told me who I was?
Jennifer Pastiloff, creator of Manifestation Yoga and author of the forthcoming Girl Power: You Are Enough, invites you beyond your comfort zone to explore what it means to be creative, human, and free—through writing, asana, and maybe a dance party or two! Jennifer’s focus is less on yoga postures and more on diving into life in all its unpredictable, messy beauty.
Note Bring a journal, an open heart, and a sense of humor. Click the photo to sign up.

 

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6 Comments

  • Reply Erin Khar April 8, 2016 at 6:26 am

    I love this, Lauren. I can’t wait to read your book! <3

    • Reply lauren July 25, 2016 at 7:30 pm

      Thank you, Erin! xoxo

  • Reply Sheila Bergquist April 9, 2016 at 12:46 am

    This had me laughing and nodding my head at the same time! I, too, can’t wait to read your book.

    • Reply lauren July 25, 2016 at 7:28 pm

      Thank you so much, Sheila!

  • Reply Karen Lee June 11, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    At age 59, after a lifetime of chronic illness I thought I had heard it all. Menstrual blood on the plants. Too late for that one! Though there was that suggestion to make a print of my menstrual flow and vulva by sitting on a piece of paper. Supposed to connect me to my power or something. I did it but ended up in the psychiatric hospital for 3 months anyway.

    Later, a year or two, because it took that long to survive, I put paper on the bathtub wall, painted my big belly, breasts and face with woad blue warrior pain, and pressed myself against the paper. I think I was trying to expel something dark, something that made me feel rage, something that didn’t belong to me, that was put into me somewhere along the way.

    It must have worked, because the idea came from inside me, and because I didn’t stay stuck in psychiatric day programs and Section 8 housing forever. I found a suitable mate, found some more inner healing with the deep yoga (the inside job/ not the outer form), became a yoga therapist, started a yoga studio that has served a community for 14 years and running, moved out of the disabled ghetto and made a home, and a life worth living.

    However! I’m still chronically ill, and encountering a whole new manifestation of what form that takes. Working my inner yoga to accommodate the new landscape of “self” that arises with diminished abilities.

    And thanks for the reminder — I do sometimes give advice, but mostly how to deal with the consequences of being disabled, not how to heal yourself. Unless of course it’s something that I have done and has worked for me. Or if I can recommend a doctor that’s not an asshole, though my referral list is very short.

    And then that’s it.” I did this. It worked a bit, or a lot. Want to ask me more about it?” — No? OK, let’s look at the sky together and see if any birds come by.

    • Reply lauren July 25, 2016 at 7:29 pm

      Thanks, Karen! “No? OK, let’s look at the sky together and see if any birds come by.” I love this line and its sentiment!

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