“Sometimes we need both hands to climb out of a place.
Sometimes there are steep parts, where one has to walk ahead of the other.
If I can’t find you, I’ll look deeper into myself.
If I can’t keep up, if you’re far ahead, look back. Look back.” ~Anne Michaels
The fact is that an autoimmune flare up sucks! Period. It can feel like a form of extreme torture, a "Hell on Earth" beyond what most average people will ever experience in their lives. It can go on for days, weeks, months, or even years and flare ups don't have any respect for holidays, planned family events, or celebrations. Those of us that experience these "flares" often look to those around us for compassion, help, love and support. The problem is, that for some of us, our friends and family are just not able to be there for us. For whatever reason they are not capable of emotionally, physically or even spiritually supporting us in our hours of need. Part of the problem, I believe, is that they can never truly know just how intense the pain and isolation really is. They may perceive us as being overly negative, or whiners that complain to much, or that we are just not trying hard enough. And, realistically, they are busy with their own lives, their kids, jobs, errands and their own life-issues. So they get off the phone more quickly when we call, they hide our Facebook posts from their newsfeed and eventually we disappear from their view altogether.
Dealing with that much pain, disability and isolation by ourselves tends to plunge us into a deep dark pit of despair. All that negativity and pain rains down on us into that pit where it swirls around creating a cesspool made up of depression, pain, anxiety and loneliness. Our thoughts and actions during these symptom flares tend to create a sort of "energetic vortex" that stirs things up even more. I am learning more and more that I cannot rely on the support of friends and family when I have a flare. If I do it will only add to my feelings of isolation. If my suffering around this issue is ever to end I need to learn acceptance in this area of my life. It is likely the kindest thing I can do for both myself and those around me. Part of that acceptance for me is remembering to lean less on people and more on God during these times.
A song of ascents.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
I came across this great article written by Eileen Laird on her blog, Phoenix Helix. I think it is a must read for both sufferers of autoimmune diseases and their family members. The article is called How to Survive an Autoimmune Flare . In the article she posts 19 important guidelines that we can use to help ourselves get through these difficult symptom flare ups. It is a very good list so I hope you will click the link and check it out.
She also shares a video in which Eckhart Tolle talks about "The Wisdom of Surrender"
"You don't need to accept an unpleasant or undesirable life situation. Nor do you need to deceive yourself and say that there is nothing wrong with it. No, you recognize fully that you want to get out of it. You then narrow your attention down to the present moment, without mentally labeling it in anyway. This means that there is no judgement of the now therefore there is no resistance, no emotional negativity. You accept the is-ness of this moment then you take action and do all that you can to get out of the situation. Such action I call positive action. It is far more effective than negative action which arises out of anger, despair or frustration. Until you achieve the desired result you continue to practice surrender by refraining to label the Now......."