How I Stayed Sane Throughout My Chronic Illness Journey

The past decade has been quite a blur of health issues and I get asked by everyone I meet how I’ve stayed so positive when fighting for my life day in n’ day out. It’s a lot more than positive thinking and saying positive affirmations.

My secret?

Well, it’s not so much a secret. It’s more a matter of thinking there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and knowing I would one day find it. That’s life. I’m strong and I struggled, I’m sure you’re strong and you’ve struggled quite a bit, too but one thing I’ve learned is that there’s light and dark patches that we face everyday along with setbacks and growth that come out of these patches.

No matter what your dark patch is, I assure you, you always have the option to rise up out of your negative thoughts, your comfort zone, your slump, your processed food, your toxic personal care products, your toxic relationships, your stress. You have the power to get up, get outa bed, take care of yourself and do the best you can with what you have. There were days and weeks where I couldn’t get out of bed and all I could do was lay there but I found a few good movies, listened to meditations, read inspiring books and slept. It’s what my body needed. There were other days when I had plans to see friends and I had to cancel because I wasn’t feeling well- I’d make myself an Epsom salt bath and listen to soft music to make myself feel better. Then, there were the days when it was 10 degrees in Manhattan, I wasn’t about to go out for a walk and freeze so I’d turn on Beyonce or Taylor Swift, ha, and dance around my apartment like a 5 year old on a sugar high. Yep. Ya gotta do what you gotta do, folks, to rise up and keep yourself smiling, hopeful and healthy.

I often get asked what helped me heal?

I don’t think there was one single thing that healed me. I think there were a BUNCH of things that helped heal me. Searching 10 years and spending hundreds of thousands of my hard earned dollars to find a doctor that actually helped me was one. Another was meditation. And yoga. And cooking. And cutting out gluten, dairy, soy, sugar and processed foods. Sleeping more. Resting more. Saying NO. Forgiving people and family for the past. Eating organic. Surrounding myself with loving people. Learning to love myself via self love and self care.

Those are just a few things that I think contributed to my well-being and health. I still go through days when I may be more tired or ate something that bothers me for a few days but I just remind myself day in and day out to stay positive, hold my head up high and stay strong.

One thing I learned this year is to stop pushing…stop pushing and fighting for the answer as to why you’re sick or running around like a crazy person trying everything under the sun to see if it heals you, etc. I stopped pushing and started letting things come to me. Relationships, work, my health, income, etc. It’s amazing what happens when you stop pushing and you sit back and let the universe toss things into your lap. I grew up being taught to be a fighter…to be strong…to compete…but all that’s what kept me sick. As soon as I released all of this and started to let go of the things that were holding me back, I started to feel a huge weight off my shoulders.

There’s a great quote/question that I love:

“Do you make regular visits to yourself?” -Rumi

This really struck me when I read it at first because for so many years I wasn’t making regular visits to myself. I wasn’t meditating or resting or eating organic, etc. I was too wrapped up in helping everyone else and making sure everyone else was happy to focus on me. I tried to save everyone and everything except myself. It’s amazing how easy it is to forget ourselves when we’re caught in the day to day pains and illness and stressors from work, family, the environment and our crazy schedules.

chronic-illness-journey

Once I created a clearing inside of myself, I found healing to come naturally. Living in Manhattan is amazing however in my 20’s working at VOGUE and Ralph Lauren I got caught up in trying to fit into our society’s standards and reading magazines and trying to be like others and fit into certain standards instead of being unique and myself. Separation from who we really are only creates more suffering- but when you’re wrapped up in the latest magazines, the news, the latest fads, etc….you become numb to what you want because you’re conditioned to do what everyone else is doing.

Fast forward a decade and here I am. A survivor. I’ve found a way to love myself and accept myself without trying to be anything or fitting in to any group or trying to be something that I’m not.

I love who I’ve become. I am grateful for each day I wake up. Each breath I take and each experience I’ve been given.

I’ve learned to sit with any discomfort I may have and meditate to connect with my heart and set my intention to find my way back to good ol’ Amie.

I’ve released the ‘shoulds’ in life…and I’ve never felt better. Try to shhhhh yourself, your mind and just sit in stillness. You’ll soon find yourself untangling from the shoulds of life, the must-do’s, keeping your calendar packed to feel important and anything else you’re doing that’s not fulfilling you—-yet you’re doing it to prove yourself to others and make yourself feel important.

You already are important. You don’t need anything else in your calendar. Cross off a few things this week, say NO to things you don’t want to do and take a few deep belly breaths. You’ll find a sense of comfort in your day and a hop in your step because you’re being YOU….and you’re genuinely happy with who you are whether you’re in a light or a dark patch, you’re in charge of how you feel and how you feel/your thoughts send messages to the cells in your body so if you want to overcome a rough dark patch, start loving yourself, caring for yourself and not worrying about what’s going on out there.

What matters is what’s inside of you. You’re the only person that can make you happy. Once I realized that and was true to myself, I found myself healing and blossoming more and more each day.

xo

My
Best-Selling Cookbook

Over 200 plant-based recipes free of gluten, dairy, soy, sugar, eggs, peanuts, corn and other inflammatory foods.

Buy Now

Hi, I'm Amie!

I’m here to share my story of healing with you. I know what it’s like to suffer and not know what’s going on with your body. I’ve been there. I was lost, searching for answers and alone for 10 years until I learned how to get my body working for me, not against me—to address the underlying symptoms instead of using a Band-aid approach to reclaim my vitality. I want to show you that eating and living clean feels incredible. Once you see life this way, you’ll never go back. Ever. Come play along with me on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter. I’m here for you. xo

5 Simple Steps to Optimal Gut Health

Did you know the health of your gut can be responsible for 70% of your immune system functioning? Increase energy, ease bloating, optimize digestion, and get to the root cause of unwanted symptoms.

Get Your Free Guide
Previous Post How I Found My Authentic Self & Grain-Fr...
Next Post NYC Foodspotting...
  • Share

12 comments

  1. I think its great that you have this site, because it will inspire others who are going through this also. Even though you have suffered and struggled, you have turned all that around, and have made a positive mission to help educate, inspire, and motivate others. That is a rare gift.

  2. love this, Amie, and it couldn’t have come on a better day for me as i’m struggling more than ever with back problems. thank you for sharing.

    i’m also reading a book called the Crossroads of Should and Must…it’s very similar to all you’ve written here. great, fast, beautiful read. have a wonderful tuesday.

    xo

  3. Funny I stumbled on this today, the day I gave notice to my boss that I need 3-6 months off after two life altering conditions came into my life. A reminder I need to sit back and let myself heal. (and go back to eating better even though it’s so hard to do right now…)

  4. Hi Amie,

    I really connected with your story, I have just had to do the same thing, when I could not return to work I had a choice look at the positives or dwell in my situation. I chose to look at the positives and even though the health side got rough, my emotional side bloomed. It was a journey I am glad that I had to take as I have learn’t so much and appreciate the little things in life.
    Enjoy your journey to wellness 🙂

  5. Thank you so much for posting this. I’m in year one of my health struggle/journey and this post has given me encouragement and enlightenment. I will keep returning to it on my super tough days (and even my good days!). Thank you so much for sharing your story and helping others!! In the past year I’ve changed my diet, seen up to 20 different doctors, and now I’m 18 weeks pregnant (and still sick), but as I continue to push on and solider through this, I realize I need to sit back, and, as you say, let the universe bring ME healing. I’m slowly learning to SLOW DOWN and really, truly take care of myself and my well-being. Thank you for this beautiful reminder.

Share Your Thoughts