Doctors say it. Patients say it. Bumper stickers say it. You’ve got to “fight” the disease. This aggressive, external mantra, usually is applied to those people with cancer or some other autoimmune disease like multiple sclerosis.
After dealing with my own case of MS, it has become clear to me that conflict with my body is what got me into trouble. Ignoring my body, and treating it poorly, combined with years of stress is a catalyst for this autoimmune disease. My father, as well, treated himself so poorly both physically and mentally that he died of cancer at the age of 66. Cigarettes, chemical inhalants, alcohol, and processed foods went into his body. He was ruled by the negative emotions of anger, frustration, and hatred.
Living a life filled with addictions, stress, poor diet and negative thinking is a typical lifestyle for people diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. When the body is detached and the mind is frantic with distractions, there is already a fight.
With an autoimmune disease there needs to be a new, internal, mantra. Make “peace” with your body. Begin by simply knowing that everything must change.
Relearn how to breathe. I wasn’t breathing correctly. Sometimes not at all. My yoga teacher once said, “god only has given you so many breathes on this earth., so make them long and smooth”.
Relearn how to eat. I wasn’t eating correctly. Processed meats, high fat, sugar, caffeine, beer and alcohol. Everything in excess (just like my father). Begin to eat as pure as possible and in a mindful manner. Remove all addictive substances. Find out all your allergies to avoid stressful foods. Take supplements.
Relearn how to live with people. I was in a stressful relationship. I see and hear it all the time now. People feeling trapped in relationships, or jobs with people who aren’t healthy for them to be around. Part of treating yourself well is to engage only in healthy relationships at home and work. Kind, loving, caring people. And then reciprocating the kind, loving, and caring way. The negativity soon transforms with a focus on peace.
Join the body with the mind and spirit in a peace treaty. Be in yoga. Meditate. The conflict within the body can be resolved and then restoration begins. It takes a lot of attention and dedication. I initially acted out of fear when diagnosed, like most people, but the fear also transforms and turns into confidence. Then at some point I put the medicine down.
MS medicine works and there are stories of how chemo has saved lives. My father couldn’t be corrected with chemo. He made no peaceful changes in his life. Always a fight between mind and body. He stayed addictive and increasingly negative.