Guest blog: Beth Cox – Life after chronic illness: I believe therefore I am
Can you believe it’s September already?! In a lot of ways I’m blown away by it but I’m also really pleased because it means I get to introduce you to the wonderful Beth; my former corporate colleague and now soul sister. I invited Beth to be this month’s guest blogger because I knew she had some really exciting ideas to share with you all on how you can shine on this September – I hope you love this post as much as I do!
I have recovered from an incurable chronic illness. When I first received my diagnosis, the doctors told me I would have to learn to live with my symptoms, there was nothing they could do to help me, which translated to: “we don’t have a pill to fix you”. In some respects, the doctors were right, there was no pill to fix me. But I found a way to overcome my symptoms, take control of my health and recover to the point where I am now living a fulfilling, happy life. And it all started with finding the inner belief that I could recover.
You may not be suffering from a specific illness but the tips I’m going to share below can apply to so many areas of life. Believing you can is the first step to achieving anything!
My journey began about 5-years ago when I woke up one morning so exhausted I couldn’t get out of bed, but no matter how much I slept I never felt better. I thought I had the flu. But after 3-weeks I realised it was something much worse. Many tests, doctor’s appointments and weeks of pain later, I was told I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). No one could tell me why and no one could offer me the hope I needed that things would get better. I was 30 years old, barely able to leave the house, in constant pain and unable to focus on anything. But I refused to accept that nothing could be done to improve my symptoms. I went in search of a solution and found it with the support of some amazing holistic practitioners. I was a model patient – I took every supplement they recommended, ate the healthy diet they suggested, did gentle exercise when I could, and it all made a little difference. But the big breakthrough for me came when I realised that my mind held the key to my recovery.
Until I believed I could recover, I never would.
Recovery and change, is a holistic process. I had to learn both physically and mentally how to take care of my body. For me, the mental changes were a lot harder than the physical ones.
If you want to change your health, your life, your wellbeing, here are three things I recommend you try:
- Visualise success. It might sound strange to start at the end but knowing where you want to be with your health or what recovery means for you is so important. I used to sit and mentally visualise myself running. This was something I was passionate about before I got sick, so being able to run again would be a sign that I was in recovery. I would sit on a cushion on the floor and close my eyes, I would picture myself putting on my running trainers, tying up the laces, standing up, opening the door and running down the road, round the park – all the usual routes I used to run. I did this every day. Sometimes the action would make me sad, but mostly it filled me with hope – I believed I would reach that goal. And just over 2 years after my diagnosis I did. I put on my trainers and I ran, not far, not fast, but my visualisation came true. If you don’t fancy the idea of sitting on the floor and mentally visualising your goals, try putting together a mood board with images which represent where you want to be and look at it every day.
Allow yourself to dream.
- Identify your current beliefs. Write down your current beliefs about the area of your life you want to change, be that:
- Responding to change itself
Be as honest and free as you can, try not to think about what you’re writing just write all the thoughts which come into your head about this topic. It doesn’t have to make sense – you don’t have to show it to anyone, it’s just good to write them down. Now have a look back and see if you can identify any beliefs which are holding you back. For me, the most shocking belief I held about my own recovery, along with not believing that I could recover, was the belief that I didn’t deserve to recover. Until I did this exercise I had no idea I felt like this about myself.
- Create new beliefs. Words are incredibly powerful. Tell yourself something enough times and you’ll start to believe it. A bit like the “placebo effect” if you tell someone a pill will have a certain effect, some people will feel that effect even if the pill is having no physical impact! After identifying the beliefs you have, write down the beliefs you want to have – for example:
“I can recover”
“I deserve to get better”
“I deserve to lose weight”
“I can get fit”
“I am good enough to apply for that job”
Then repeat these positive beliefs to yourself over and over – either out loud, in your head, by writing them down or by putting them somewhere you’ll read them every day until your brain starts to believe them. It may feel uncomfortable at first but work through that feeling and soon not only will you feel comfortable with the statements, but you’ll believe them and they will be true. The moment I started to believe that I deserved to get better and that I could recover was the moment my journey to wellbeing really began.
Believing is an important step if you want to create change in your life, but it’s not the only step.
I believe that optimal health and wellbeing come from a combination of what you eat, how you live and the things you believe. To create a positive change, we need to tackle all three of these areas.
Since my recovery, I’ve retrained as a nutritional therapist and Indian Head Masseuse. I now run my own business helping people change the way they Eat, Breathe, Believe, so they can find the healthiest version of themselves.
Thank you so much Beth for sharing your personal experience, it’s really wonderful to see how you’ve transformed your life through the power of positive thinking. Having worked alongside you in the corporate world and seen some of the changes in you, I couldn’t be more pleased and proud of you for all that you’ve achieved.
If this post has resonated with you, we’d love to hear about it, please comment below! And if you’d like to know more about the amazing work Beth does with her clients, check out her gorgeous website.