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How Chronic Illness Fueled My Spiritual Development

Chronic illness impacted my spiritual and religious beliefs over time. At age 14 I became an atheist. I didn't believe in God anymore because I didn't see how a God could let someone suffer in this way.

However, at age 16, I became very interested in spirituality and saw everything as an aspect of God source. I began to see my difficult experiences as blessings as they led me towards a sense of purpose to help others and they gave me more empathy and compassion.

Now, at age 20, I still believe in a God source and I try to see my journey with chronic illness as a life full of lessons that help me to be less ignorant and help my soul evolve. I have had many experiences which have made me gain a deeper connection with this sense of spirituality, some of which are related to chronic illness and some of which are not.

My experience with OCD highlighted to me how certain new age spiritual teachings can be unhelpful, such as the Law Of Attraction, the avoidance of focusing on anything negative when you can learn from it or denying any negative feelings such as sadness or fear. My dissociation led to an ego death where I was able to just be the awareness of my body, thoughts and emotions without feeling attached to them.

This sense of detachment ended up being helpful to me as it helped me identify unhelpful thought patterns or perceptions which I was having, and being the awareness behind my emotions let me nurture myself more as if I was a small child. This prevented me from getting too sucked into negative feelings and thought patterns, and prevented me from judging myself for my emotions.

Chronic illness leads to more than just symptoms and ill health. It can change our whole perception on life and can influence our spiritual and religious beliefs. This isn't a negative thing at all, we are just learning from our experiences.

Many Spiritual Lessons Can Be Learnt From My Chronic Illness Journey, such as:

Self-Discipline: Avoiding triggers has taught me self-discipline. I have to avoid triggers so my symptoms don't get worse.

Humility: Being unable to be as productive as I wish to be has definitely humbled me. ♡

Acceptance Of The Present: With chronic illness, our minds often get stuck in the past, mourning the good health we may have had then. Our minds may also get stuck fearing the future due to how quickly our symptoms can change. To reduce anxiety and sadness, we may have to work on being present and having an "it is what it is" attitude so that we can make ourselves feel a little more at ease.

Patience: I have to be patient with my body as sometimes I go days or weeks unable to do things that I want to do and although this can be frustrating, it teaches me patience.

Letting Go Of Resistance: Feeling mental resistance against the situation sadly doesn't make the struggle go away, it only increases stress, so over time we learn to go with the flow and accept what is.

The Importance Of Resting: With Chronic illness, we are often made to rest a lot so that our health doesn't get worse. This helps us break out of the "hustle" mindset that a lot of us are conditioned into and put our bodies first.

Stillness: I experience muscle weakness, fatigue, elevated heart rate, palpations, and blood pressure fluctuations which make it dangerous to do too much physical activity. In bad episodes it makes it hard to move at all. Someone told me that this likely makes it easier to get into a meditative state, and technically, they're not wrong!

Faith: Chronic Illness can lead to a lot of fear. This may include anxiety about feeling like a burden, about symptoms getting worse, about the unpredictability of it all, etc. To feel safer, we may develop more faith in a higher power such as God or the universe. We may start feeling more protected this way.

That it is Okay To Not Live By Societies Standards: Society puts a lot of pressure on people to "go to university", "get a job", "have kids", etc. We often place a lot of our self-worth on these things. When you have a chronic illness, you may not be well enough to go to university, get a job or raise children. We learn that we are worthy as we are, as human beings. We learn that our worth isn't dependent on these things and that you don't have to live in the same way as everyone else. You learn that other people's judgmental nature is the biggest problem.

To me, my journey with chronic illness is filled with opportunities to help my soul evolve. To me it is a spiritual journey that I am undertaking in this earthly realm. It is a difficult journey for sure, but these lessons I am learning are really helping to improve my mental wellbeing and feel calmer about the situation.


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