Frivolous. Excessive. Ridiculous. Over the top. Those are some of the words I’ve heard being used to describe my spending habits when it comes to health and wellness.
I have always splurged on health and wellness. A lot. Fitness was probably my first “adult love”.
The amount I’ve spent over the last 20 years on wellness products, devices, supplements and biohacks could pay off a new car. And if you add in the amounts I paid to work with some of my functional practitioners…possibly even a small house.
And while some people saw my spending as frivolous and out of control — I always saw it as an investment in my future.
I was about 16 years old the first time I experienced my first episode of auto-immune issues. I was put on various medications which temporarily relieved some of my symptoms but never actually addressed any of the root causes of my symptoms.
By the time I was in my late 20s even more unexplainable issues started to sprout up. And by the time I was in my 30s, there wasn’t a single part of my body (or my life) that wasn’t being affected. And I still had no explanation as to what was causing any of it.
I felt as if my own body had betrayed me.
It also didn’t help that most doctors I met with (especially back then) simply weren’t that familiar with auto-immune issues. Some were even dismissive of them. The most common solution they all had for me involved some concoction of antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication.
They also told me to cut back on almost everything that I truly enjoyed — working out, socializing and even working. (Believe it or not I actually do enjoy working!)
A few even suggested that I probably just needed to get married and have children — and maybe my ticking biological clock was the real reason for my issues.
While I didn’t know what was actually wrong with me — I did know that the options that were being given to me for feeling better weren’t weren’t the right ones for me. I also knew that even if the things they were recommending were able to change how I felt — at least temporarily — they wouldn’t actually heal me.
So I started researching.
I listened to every podcast and book I could find that mentioned my symptoms and pretty much tried almost anything and everything that Ben Greenfield recommended (he is still my hero and literally has been the biggest contributor in my health journey).
A lot of it didn’t work. A LOT. But some of it started to help. So I kept following the breadcrumbs and doing more of what was working and reducing (in some cases eliminating entirely) those things that either weren’t working or seemed to make things worse.
I got rid of foods, habits, thought patterns…and people that were clearly toxic for my body and my soul. I didn’t get rid of the things that brought me joy — even those that most doctors had recommended I stop doing (like working out, going out, eating out…anything that got me out and about actually).
I made the choice to believe in myself and trust the process.
I also decided to lean heavily into my body’s innate guidance system and started listening to what it was trying to tell me. And it kept telling me to keep going, keep trying and most of all, keep trusting.
When others doubted, I believed. When others questioned, I stood firm. When others criticized..I flashed them a big smile (and possibly a well known hand gesture every now and then). [shrug]
I had bad days also of course — but who doesn’t when you have a chronic illness? I even had days of being stuck in the “why me” mentality.
And while it may have taken me a while to get here, I can finally say that not only do I feel better than I have in over a decade but I am probably the strongest (both physically and emotionally) I have ever been.
In that sense, I think having a chronic illness has been one of the biggest gifts life could have handed me. Not only did it force me to reconnect with my own inner wisdom but it led me down a path of self love and spirituality that has completely changed how I see myself, other people and the world as a whole.
It has taught me compassion and love at a level that I would not have otherwise thought was possible. It has taught me that so many of the answers we search for on the outside are already available to us when we take a moment to look inside.
And most of all, it taught me to trust myself and my body.
I believe every part of our journey — even the painful parts — offer us a gift, a lesson or an opportunity for transformation. True success in life comes once we learn to welcome and embrace each of those options.
So wherever you are in your own journey, look for the gift, the lesson or transformation that’s possible for you. It’s in there somewhere. But you have to be willing to look for it and take a stand for it.
We each have more wisdom inside of ourselves than we can possibly imagine. Learn how to find yours and trust yours. It won’t lead you wrong.