HEALING / RECOVERING
What does it take to have the recovery you seek?
by Mary Elliott
Rising Above Systemic Lupus (My Own Desire to Heal)
I gained a lot of wisdom through my recovery from Systemic Lupus. Unfortunately I suffered ten years with very serious symptoms and a tremendous amount of pain physically and emotionally from that disease. I was in and out of the hospital regularly for ten years. It not only devasted me but my family and friends too. But through that devastation what arose within me was such an incredible amount of wisdom and love. I have now been Lupus symptom-free for over 14 years. No longer am I on any medication and haven’t been for the last 14 years. I would like share with you what I learned about healing and recovering. And how I have helped many of our knee recovering patients get the outcomes they desire.
I Would Like to Help You Right Now
If you are reading this blog, I imagine you are either in recovery from knee surgery or getting ready to have knee replacement. I am involved with many patients every day and have the honor of going through their journey with them. Everyone has the desire to heal. But what I find is that people who are experiencing difficulties in their recovery get stuck. They get entangled in a mesh of frustration, hopelessness and fear. Well, I’ve been there. I know what that feels like and I also know personally how you can overcome it.
The Emotion of Getting Better
Healing is emotional. Have you ever noticed that when a person is working on growing and changing their lives for the better, like having knee surgery and freeing themselves from a life of daily pain and restrictions, fear arrives? Fear is a part of our experience called life. We can count on it to show up when we are thinking about moving out of our comfort zone. Even though living every day with the pain from your knees is awful, it’s also familiar. Familiar feels safe, even if it’s an awful experience. So, when we start talking about moving forward and healing – fear starts talking.
Choosing a New Path
We are making a decision about a new path. Even though this path is about healing our current circumstances for the better, emotions arise. Fear sets in. You start having mental conversations with yourself. “What if this doesn’t work out? What if things go wrong? Am I being selfish thinking about me and fixing this? Will I be a burden on my family?” All kinds of thoughts come into play.
But here’s one of the most beautiful things about us- we have the freedom to choose our thoughts. No one, and I mean no one, has control over our thoughts. How incredibly beautiful is that?
Observing Your Own Thoughts
Pay attention to your thoughts. Are they empowering you or weakening you? Are they filled with fear or the opposite- filled with love? When a thought arises, and you realize it’s feeding fear, notice that, and move yourself into thinking about something else, and it can be something totally unrelated. But that something, when you think about it, makes you feel peaceful and loving. Think of things that move your emotions into a loving, peaceful and happy place. Our beliefs are at the core of the choices we make in our lives and are choices create the life we are experiencing. What is a belief? A belief is something you think over and over again.
I read recently that the thoughts we have today are about 80% of the thoughts we had yesterday. This is why people get stuck. So, to “unstuck yourself” out of an undesirable situation doesn’t it make sense to change your thoughts? And here’s the most beautiful part of this, you just need to help yourself maintain happy and loving thoughts. They don’t have to necessarily be about your current challenge. When I was suffering from Lupus there were so many times that I was in such incredible pain and I would realize that this was just one moment in time. That my life has been about many moments in time. That this too shall pass. I then would focus on empowering thoughts such as what it would feel like to be swimming and dancing again and feel myself laughing and feeling incredibly healthy and vibrantly free.
Your Challenging Recovery
So, if you are currently going through a challenge in your recovery or are fearful to take the steps to have knee replacement, its ok, fear is just one of our many emotions. Of course, it’s going to show up. Just recognize its presence and help yourself shift into more loving thoughts. Call an uplifting friend. Watch a funny movie. Paint, draw, or listen to your favorite music. Shift to peace. Spend time in nature. Make it a habit of feeding yourself with loving thoughts. And place yourself in loving situations that fuel your passion to move forward, and you will get unstuck and reach your desired outcome. Above all have fun with this goal. This recovery and healing journey will bring you gifts that you will have the rest of your life.
Nature- It isn’t just beautiful but it’s healing too. Spending time in nature is very healing. Get outside as much as you can. If you’ve lost your way, lost your desire to heal, and are feeling doubtful and alone, take a look around in nature. See all the beauty around you. It’s just mind-boggling when you a take a look at our beautiful home called Earth. Did you know that there are 60,065 different species of trees in our home here? Can you imagine the amount of love, time and creativity that was placed on creating just our trees for us? And on top of that they have leaves that change colors and have flowers too!! I feel such awe and love when I step outside. And when you are outside, pay close attention to the sounds of nature. The sounds of nature help us heal too.
Gratitude- Spend time each time asking yourself” What Am I grateful for?” Spend time thanking the people who brighten your moments. Appreciate all the beauty and comfort you already have. Instead of focusing on what you feel you are lacking, focus on what you have. Be grateful for your new found desire to heal. You can always find something to be grateful for.
Laughter- is so…healing!! Make a habit of finding the humor in your situation. When I get stressed out about something, I immediately start getting the giggles. My beloved husband would get so frustrated with me. We would be in the midst of talking or arguing about a current perceived problem and I would begin to giggle than laugh. He would start saying “This is a serious problem Mary” and the more serious he got the more I laughed. And then all of a sudden, he would start laughing and lighten up. Then we would find a solution together in a better state of mind.
Look up jokes, watch a funny movie, call that friend who you laugh easily with. And laugh, laugh as much as you can. Joy and laughter are great for your health!! And laughter boosts the immune system. Laughing triggers the release of endorphins (which promotes feeling a sense of well-being and helps you not focus on pain). A good laugh helps the heart (improves the function of your blood vessels which can help protect you against a heart attack or other heart related issues). And laughing relaxes the whole body (a hearty laugh can leave your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes)!!!! Laugh, laugh as much as you can. If you lighten up your mood you will enjoy this healing journey so much more.
Healing Starts from Within
Dream!! We have all gone through times of disappointment. What I have noticed is that some of my patients have stopped allowing themselves to dream. If that’s where you are at currently then listen to this- suffering, true suffering is watching others have things that you feel you can’t have. See, you are already doing the hardest thing. Don’t be afraid to dream, to want to live a healthy physical free life!!!! Creative visualization is a tool I used throughout my healing journey.
Healing starts from within. If you can imagine it then you can create it!! Yes, you are that powerful! Every day spend some time imagining what it would feel like to have your physical freedom back. What would you do? Where would you go? What would change for the better? Feel it!! The most empowering way to visualize is this: While you are visualizing, it helps to visualize at the same time each day, for instance right before you fall asleep at night or right when you wake up. You want to have your vision stay the same and within your vision you want to involve all your senses.
Involve Your Senses
You want to see it, you want to involve your sense of sense of smell, your sense of hearing, your sense of taste and most importantly you want to feel it emotionally. For example, the vision a used while going through Lupus was this: I would picture myself at a party with my friends and family. Laughter and music playing would fill my ears. And I would be sipping on my favorite cocktail (because I no longer had to worry about the health of my kidneys). We would all be dancing and laughing together, and I would be joint- pain free. I could dance again. I would look into my family and friends’ eyes and see their love and joy instead of their fear and compassion. And such happiness in that moment would fill me, and I would feel so…physically FREE. It was very empowering for me, this vision.
So, choose one that empowers you. Dream with all your heart!
Here’s a great book to help strengthen your belief in visualization. Meditating is extremely helpful in healing. Meditation helps reduce stress, controls anxiety, promotes emotional health, enhances self-awareness, lengthens attention span, improves sleep, can decrease blood pressure and helps control pain. Meditating is something you can do anytime anywhere! Meditation can help everyone improve their mental and emotional health!!!
Apps to Help You Get There
Here are some meditation apps you can download on your phone: The Mindfulness App, Headspace, Calm and Mindbody
A Little Help with Meditation
Here is a link below to a Deepak Chopra meditation:
Harnessing Your New Desire to Heal
You can do this!!!! You can heal and change your life for the better! Just remember to take it one day at a time. And remember that you are an individual who has had their own unique life were their knee. Consequently there is no need to compare your journey with anyone else’s because it’s uniquely yours. Enjoy the journey it will bring you many blessings that will continue to fill the rest of your life!!!
To read more from Mary Elliott click here. The Immensity of You!
The X10 Meta-Blog
We call it a “Meta-Blog” because we step back and give you a broad perspective on all aspects of knee health, surgery and recovery and such subjects as “Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).”
Voted Top 10 Knee Blog of 2018.
In this one-of-a-kind blog we gather together great thinkers, doers, writers related to Knee Surgery, Recovery, Preparation, Care, Success and Failure. Meet physical therapists, coaches, surgeons, patients, and as many smart people as we can gather to create useful articles for you. Whether you have a surgery upcoming, in the rear-view mirror, or just want to take care of your knees to avoid surgery, you should find some value here. Executive Editor: PJ Ewing (firstname.lastname@example.org)