As I turn Thirty Five …

April 16, 2018 7:37 am

Today I turn 35. In the lead up to this Birthday there has been so much going on, as well as various thoughts and inner shifts that I want to share with you in this post. It’s a story of ups and downs and how life can become a little brighter when you least expect it. 

Only a few months ago, I felt a level of apprehension (and if I’m honest, anxiety) about this birthday approaching. Not because I’m worried about ageing… if anything I am enjoying the wisdom and self confidence that comes from being a little older. The issue has actually been that reaching this mid thirties milestone was reinforcing all the areas of my life that have felt full of lack in recent years, as well as the awareness that my life is so far from where I expected it to be in my mid thirties. 

No matter how much I consciously practise gratitude, there are many things on hold as a direct result of the level of chronic illness I have lived with for the past number of years and the restrictions it has placed upon my life. This naturally has resulted in a level of sadness and frustration at times.

Things such as my career, embarking on potential relationships, desires to travel, starting a family… as well as the much smaller things that many take for granted (such as having a bit of routine to each week, being able to socialise comfortably and other things such as my writing) have all been put on hold due how my health has been in recent weeks/months/years. 

Getting through each day and anchoring back to my heart and some level of peace in the present moment is what has helped, as well as being grateful for the small things in each day.  

But it hasn’t stopped the darker moments from creeping in or the background fear that my life may always be this way. 

As I shared with you a couple of posts ago, the last few months have been especially challenging for me physically speaking. However, as is often the case when life tests us the most and pushes us to those moments of absolute despair where we find ourselves thinking ‘I can’t cope with this a moment longer’ lessons and gentle inner shifts have thankfully come as a result. 

There’s no external distraction when the fatigue and neurological symptoms are so severe that you struggle to even watch tv or read a book. 

You are literally trapped inside your body and then forced to face yourself. With that comes pain. But also a stripping away of all the little things everyone else gets swept up in. You end up living in a strange parallel universe. As if someone has taken you off the path of your life and put you on a desolate one that runs along side it. 

You spend your days trying to find a way back to the world everyone else seems to be living in, the one where body’s work and there’s freedom to do what you want, when you want. To go after your dreams and goals and just be out in the world expressing yourself. 

After spending a lot of time last year searching for answers, (medically speaking) yet at the same time feeling I was going in circles and not really getting anywhere, the last few weeks things have started to unexpectedly shift for me. 

I put much of this down to the stripping back I spoke of a moment ago. 

Getting to a place where I was painfully aware of life passing (the birthday milestone approaching) and feeling as if I wasn’t getting any closer to finding a way back to health forced me to surrender completely and then look inwards. 

I happened to come across the work of Dr Kim D’eramo during a particular day where I was feeling hopeless, lost and like the fatigue was crushing me to the core and it was as if a lightbulb went on for me. 

She teaches how so many people attempt to heal chronic illness by searching desperately for answers  (a place I have certainly been stuck in during the last couple of years). We can also find ourselves in a place where we constantly ask ourselves ‘what’s wrong with me’. 

Both of these things are normal reactions to chronic illness. Of course you are going to want to find answers. Of course you are going to search.

But what I suddenly realised, was how this was consuming me. Especially with social media and following the stories of others in a similar position. We can see a variety of different treatments and protocols working for others and then wonder if we should be doing the same? It becomes utterly overwhelming. 

The problem arises then in the fact that everyone is different and what works for one may not work for another. We can be left feeling like there is a million and one things we need to do in order to get well… which can then lead to a feeling of stuckness and thoughts like ‘How on earth am I ever going to find a way out of this’ and of course underneath all of this … fear.

When I reflect on the last three years in my own life  – the new diagnoses that have kept coming, the various abnormal test results, fluctuating symptoms, awful relapses as well as additional things such as my Dad passing away, it’s so clear how much stress my mind and body have been under without me even necessarily realising it. 

It also became clear how much I have been in a state of resistance to illness (despite having come such a long way when it comes to self love/self compassion) and immersed in the fight against it. 

Almost instantaneously, I realised how this has been blocking my healing. 

I realised that somehow, I needed to find a way to let go. 

To soften. 

To open. 

To come back to my own inner wisdom and healing resources rather than searching externally. 

I decided to go back to basics. To listen fully to my body. To let it guide me. To sleep when I needed to sleep. To be super gentle with myself. To visualise healing. To do what felt good and let go of forcing anything else. 

I promised myself, that for the next six months, I would let go of searching. I would concentrate simply on loving my body and my soul. I would soften and sink into my life as it is now, and visualise opening up and being receptive to healing. 

It was like an invisible layer of tension lifted. 

It all sounds like very basic stuff doesn’t it? But it has transformed the way I have felt in the last few weeks. 

I can feel energy starting to shift and moving in my body. I am (dare I say) actually feeling better than I have in a long time. This has surprised me, given that there are still physiologically things going on in my body that do need addressing when the time is right. 

I shall still attend hospital appointments and of course continue doing all the things that I know support my healing, but in a more grounded way now. One that sees this as additional stuff to support my body as I heal, and not things I need to frantically do in order to find the perfect combination or one answer that will heal me.

My body needs some respite and peace, and that is what I plan to give it.

I am living my life for today and making the most of the joy that can come in when we let go of anxiously searching. 

(I will just say here, that of course there is a time and a place for everything. For example, two years ago when I was at the beginning of a huge amount of abnormal test results and deteriorating health, I did need to take further action. Our individual journeys are exactly that, personal to us, and we need different things at different times. I’m simply sharing where I am at right now and how much releasing the search, the pressure and looking outside of myself for answers has brought a shift in energy and levels of peace for me personally.)

As for my birthday approaching, the frustration/anguish I felt about it only a matter of weeks ago has also lifted. I expressed my feelings as and when they arose throughout the past months, but I now realise that everyone’s life is different. 

It’s true that I have missed out on many of the opportunities I would have loved to have and there has been a lot of suffering in recent years. I may not have a career right now, or a family of my own, I may spend many weeks unwell and at home, but I do have many blessings.

Some things have even come into my life as a result of living with ME/CFS. Such as appreciating the smallest of things, noticing how beautiful nature is, the depth of precious friendships I have as well as an even stronger bond with my family due to all we have been through together. 

I also have learned how to treat myself with love and respect – something that was once a foreign concept to me back in my twenties. 

I could go on with this list, but what I am trying to say is, I’m happy with the person I am as I turn 35.

My life may not be where I once may have thought it would be at this age, but it has depth and value never the less. Sometimes we can place so much value on external milestones and achievements that we forget to appreciate how far we have come and things we have accomplished in other areas.

I have also come to realise how much more we appreciate the light and moments of beauty, when we have experienced long periods of time in the darkness, this is certainly the case for me. 

Emma x 

 

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18 Comments

  • Mother says:

    Beautiful daughter, 35 years ago I was blessed with your arrival into the world. How proud I am of you, emerging from your suffering ever stronger and sharing your lessons with us all. What a difference this ‘letting go’ is already making, Emma, and my hope that for those of you who can also apply it will feel the benefit too. Mum xxx

    • Emma says:

      Thank you so much Mum. What a lovely message. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it wasn’t for you and your support, wisdom and gentle encouragement. Love you x

  • Hannah says:

    Ahh Emma, a beautifully written post. Thank you for sharing. I can relate to so much of this. Thank you for making me feel less alone! Happy Birthday! Hannah, @adrenal.fatigue.awareness @hanzipans

  • Cheri Widman says:

    Happy birthday to a beautiful woman! I am so thrilled that you have discovered Dr. Kim D’eramo. She has a wonderful tapping message related to what you spoke of….”self sabotage”. After years of struggling and striving to heal, I started tuning in to Dr. Kim’s philosophy and videos a couple of months ago. My body/instincts had been telling me “Enough. Enough with the struggle”. Listening to her give me permission to just let go and receive struck me so deep that it made me cry with relief. That’s not to say that we are giving up. Just surrendering to what is right now and allowing ourselves just to be. No more resistance or contraction.
    Bless you for all that you share and give to this world. You have touched so many of us and we love and appreciate you.
    I wonder if you have a pet? Not the same as having a child but I consider my cats and dogs family. I call them my furry children

    • Emma says:

      Thank you so so much for such a beautiful message Cheri. Touched by your words. I am so glad you are already familiar with Dr Kim D’eramo and that her work is helping you too! What has struck me (as Im sure it has with you too) is that really, the message she delivers isn’t anything different to that which we already know, but somehow…she has a way of communicating the message that really wakes us up doesn’t she? Incredible lady.

      Im looking forward to exploring more of her teachings in the coming weeks.

      And I do have a pet…yes. I have a beautiful little house rabbit called Ralph who is almost 12 years old! He’s been by my side through so much. I very much know what you mean when you say you call your cats and dogs your children. Ralph is my little baby! hehe.

      Sending much love to you Cheri.

      Emma x

  • Fergus Elley says:

    Hi Emma, what a beautiful mesage, so sincere, open and honest and with so many pearls…..u certainly have the makings of a gr8 career with your writing and I also know how many hours it can take to pen something so wise and full of love and light. And u do have a job and u r where u need to be atm! U have found another pearl of wisdom for all us CFS and related illnesses sufferers.

    I also really liked your comment wrt a parralel Universe, it can definitely seem like that can’t it and of course many people can’t fathom CFS. That can be the other stressor on top of our our expectations and ambitions and we have to forgive them which can be very hard indeed. I like it though when people that r close to me encourage me with their tender words by complementing me on my softness and tenderness which I know have gone deeper due to suffering and testing.

    Well 35 is still very young, the world is still your oyster Emma and u have amazing writing talent so go girl and believe me, some of the other things still not manifested in the here and now will come to pass for u, I am so certain of that dear one, as the power behind the Universe does indeed write with us each day a new plan for our lives and that is for blessing, great blessing, so let us all keep digging deeper and letting go completely as that power despite our testing wants to enjoy each day with us and that power is pure love…..bro fergie.

    • Emma says:

      Hi Fergus!

      Thank you so much for your lovely message, Such kind things to say 🙂 Your support really does mean a lot.

      You are so right in that this experience can really make us have even more depth as people (you mention people complimenting you on your softness and tenderness) which is such a gift isn’t it? It definitely expands and grows us on the inside and as people doesn’t it.

      Your words are so lovely. Thank you Fergus.

      Emma x

  • Barbara Moeller says:

    Thank you for this blog post which resonates so deeply with me. I’m going to check Dr. Kim’s website. Her approach sounds really helpful.

    Wishing you a wonderful birthday, filled with light, love and joy, Emma!
    Barbara

    • Emma says:

      Hi Barbara.

      So happy to hear that this post resonated and maybe helped a little. So many of us get caught up in the struggle, searching and utter overwhelm. Sometimes, softening, letting go and taking a step back can work wonders. Definitely go and check out Kim’s wonderful work, if you liked this blog post Im sure it will be right up your street.

      Lots of love

      Emma x

  • Katie Angelique says:

    Happy birthday Emma! Remember also if your life had turned out differently you may also not be in the position to be inspiring as many people with your strength and wisdom. I can tell all your readers feel like me – so grateful your lovely words are there for them! Have a lovely day x

    • Emma says:

      What a gorgeous thing to say Katie. Thank you so much! I feel so blessed to have such beautiful people (such as you) reading my words. If I can touch/inspire another person? Then that is something to be so grateful for isn’t it and not overlooked.

      Sending love your way.

      Em x

  • Maria says:

    Dear Emma:
    You are a beautiful writer and you convey so seamlessly many of the challenges and realizations I too have come to learn. I just had my 40th and have struggled with not being anywhere in my life that I thought I “should” be. I took a month off of work to take care of myself. Cried (a lot), meditated, did yoga, journaled and generally dug deep. I felt better after one month than I did in all my months of doctors and tests and vitamins. These experiences unfold before us and when we stop resisting, we see what’s at the core. Thanks for sharing your life, insights and struggles. You are a beautiful soul.

    • Emma says:

      Thank you for taking the time to write and reply Maria and for such a beautiful heartfelt message. I very much relate to your words, as you do to mine! The month you took of work, Ive also had months like that, and they are so healing aren’t they? When we properly feel into where we are at, let the tears come, honour the place we are in completely and ‘move through it’ so to speak.
      I’m so glad we have the gift of these insights and inner shifts despite the struggle.

      Lots of love,
      Emma x

  • Susan. Ashmore says:

    Dearest Emma, I have been wanting to contact you but I knew you suffering.
    This was a wonderful, heartfelt, beautiful blog Emma and like everyone else, I truly appreciate it. Thank you.
    Your musings were eye opening for me as I have spent so many years ‘fighting’ this illness (and the several other illnesses I have collected over the years, being greedy!)
    One piece of advice/info is to tell you I had my last two children at 43 and 45 years old, so you have years and years to get somewhat healthier and have a family. Absolutely aeons of time.
    I am sending you love and hopes for a wonderful year ahead. Susan. Xxxx

    • Emma says:

      Hi Susan.
      What a rollercoaster of a journey we are all on. I know you (very much like me) also fluctuate quite a lot within your ME experience. In a way its a blessing as we get those better weeks where we can enjoy life a bit, but the downside is that we also have to deal with the disappointment as we tumble yet again and an inability to get any sort of stability!
      Hoping you and I even out a little in the coming months.
      Im so glad you enjoyed the post. Thank you so much for your kind words and ongoing support. It means so much. Thank you also for sharing your own story and that you had children at 43 and 45! This potentially gives me another 10 years 😉
      Big hugs xx

  • Teresa Hobbs says:

    Beautiful! This makes my heart happy. It’s incredible what you have done from the inside out and how you have allowed yourself to reconnect to your body in a way that allows it to really heal.

    Happy birthday to your beautiful blog! XXX

    • Emma says:

      Thanks Teresa!

      As you know…you were the lovely person who connected me with Kim D’eramo. Will be forever grateful for that! Sending soon much love your way

      Emma x

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