ze health update & further exploration

As many of you know, I have struggled immensely over the past few years with my eczema. With doctors, allergy tests, vitamins, lotions, research, and diet, I have had a great deal ups and downs, triumphs and disappointments.

Last summer I found out I was severely allergic to OATS, of all things!, which made me laugh because I had been eating this healthy dish almost daily for several years. But in the prick allergy test, my skin exploded – and that was the only reaction. Even though a blood allergy test had suggested I was allergic to wheat/gluten/dairy, this other test said no. But when I avoided these things, my skin seemed better.

Also, alcohol – so beer was out if I was doing the gluten/wheat thing, and sometimes wine seemed to bother me, sometimes not. Sometimes the sun did, sometimes it didn’t. I also couldn’t work out, because when I sweated, it made me itchy. My body felt swollen and inflamed. I have been ashamed to show any skin, extremely self conscious.

So I would do good for awhile, then I would be a bit better, so I’d half ass it, eating whatever I wanted, but paying for it later. The hardest part was in social situations, which I am in constantly per my extroverted personality. I have felt tired a lot over the past few years – more than I can ever remember, and would often want to be by myself. Since it hurt to move, I’d find myself preferring to just go home and watch a movie/show on Netflix. I have struggled with fatigue throughout my day. Which, as you can imagine, has made work a lot harder too.

On top of all of this, everyone has had an opinion or suggestion. Not that it is all bad, but because my suffering is visible, and it has directly affected how I feel in every way and setting, I have succumb to a lot of unsolicited advice. Which can be exhausting too.

Overall, I can tell how far I’ve come and how much I’ve healed! While I have days of absolute discouragement and pain, the majority of the time I still feel hopeful and motivated. Usually, at each wall I’ve hit, another revelation occurs. For example, this past May, I felt extremely anxious about having no plans on a Tuesday night, so I decided to go to a yoga class at a studio I had tried and liked the summer previous. After that night, I was hooked. And since May I have been going 3-6 times a week!! It has changed my life in so many ways, including the owners, who have been a great source of support to me as I try to heal.

One of the owners, Kathleen, gave me a book called You Can Heal Your Life, by Louise Hay. While I don’t agree with everything she says, I do agree with her main philosophy, that often our physical problems are manifestations of struggles or inner turmoil. I found it to be true for eczema. In the back of the book, you can look up a pain/ailment/disease, and it has a “Probable Cause”, and a “New Thought Pattern” that you can repeat to yourself to help you heal. For eczema it said it was caused by “Breath-taking antagonism. Mental eruptions.” Through the book, I came to realize how hard I am on myself, how much I antagonize myself in my head. My inner dialogue can be quite harsh! “I really need to…” “I should..” “You should have…” – constant. Also, as my mind would fire off with things or worries, I would not breath. And as an nervous/anxious reaction, I would hold my breath. I have always been bad at breathing. The affirmation for me to combat this was to say, “Harmony and peace, joy and love surround and indwell me. I am safe and secure.”

It said that Skin is our sense organ, the largest organ. And usually people who have problems with their skin feel like their individuality is being threatened. While I’m not sure that is true for me at this time in my life, I know for a fact that when all of my skin/hair problems exploded at the end of 2007, it had been a year of oppression from a horrible relationship and then five month faith-based internship to Asia. I was a wreck upon my return. It has taken me years to heal from these things, and perhaps my body still is.

When I had the realization a few months back about how hard I am on myself, I happened to be going home. I told my dad about it all, and he said, “Erin, you’ve ALWAYS been like that! Ever since you were in elementary school. It became apparent to your mom and I that we didn’t have to put any pressure on you because you put more than enough on yourself.” A light bulb went on…I said, as tears welled in my eyes, “That answers so many questions!” I had had no idea. What a revelation. I suddenly felt compassion on myself. And I realized that I had never told myself I love myself.

I had verbalized a few times the past few years that I felt like it was easier to love others than it was myself. I have also had this weird mindset battling within that for some reason I was supposed to suffer in my life, whether physically or financially. I know it doesn’t make sense, and I’m not sure I can pinpoint its origin.

The past few months, I’ve made progress I am proud of. Not only have I done really well on my diet and felt better in that way, but with yoga, I’ve settled into type and class I absolutely love: Ashtanga. I have become the most flexible I’ve ever been in my life, I’ve become so much stronger, have slimmed down, and my skin looks better than it has in years. I look forward to every class, and love everything about it.

Then, this week alone, I made a few more huge strides for my health. I got a colonic for the first time [also per recommendation of Kathleen, my yoga teacher, as well as a coworker and another friend!] and it was amazing. The guy who did it is the only certified person in MO, and has been doing it for 30 years. He said he was able to remove so much poison from my body [more than most people on their first time!], and he bet that if I came several times, all my skin problems would clear up.

I also felt led to seek and see a counselor for the first time. This came from a day of intense anxiety when I couldn’t stop itching and realized I was worried with a lot on my mind, and that I didn’t know why or how to express it. For the first time, I asked myself out loud, “Erin, why are you upset?” Then I verbalized some, prayed out loud, and proceeded to spend some time writing it all out. It was then I thought it would be good to talk to someone about how to better cope and acknowledge stress and anxiety I may have but not realize – which seems to be my problem. If you ask me, I never feel stressed. Yet I have these moments that prove otherwise. I’m a weird duck :)

While there wasn’t any big things that came of my first counselor visit, it was nice and I look forward to more conversations. I told her that I’ve devoted so much time, energy, and money over the past few years to my physical health and healing, and now I wanted to devote some to my mental healing. For example, one thing I told her that I felt like I was punishing myself in my itching. She asked me why would I do that? And I couldn’t answer.

Which brings me to the point of this post ;p I have been thinking – why do I think I don’t deserve to be happy? Why do I think I am supposed to suffer? How does God see me? How can I learn to see and love myself the way others in my life do – my family, Chad, friends?  What is their hope for me and my life?

This morning I began my day at a coffee shop and started to write about these things, stream of consciousness. I felt like it was a great step forward, and wanted to share it with you as a part of my healing process. This is but the rugged babbling of a young woman, fumbling her way through love and faith and hope and thought and healing…

“Lord, how do you see me? Us?

As a Father
I am your daughter
Created in your image
Beautiful
Made with intention
Who I am, my personality, body
Revealing a part of you
Who you are…

Before sin
Created to be whole
To enjoy You
Creation
The partner you gave
The work you gave
Purpose
Love
Nature
Walking with You

Trinity – 3 in 1
Relationship
Laughter
Confidant
Vulnerability
Intimacy
Fun
Play
Sit in nature
Explore – adventure

Your Kingdom
Your glory

Sharing

Enjoying it all through the senses – eating, sex, smelling, hearing, touching, tasting, seeing…

Community

Pleasure…it is good!
Evidence of God’s desires for us
To feel
Experience
LIVE
Not to be numb or sad or broken…

Forgiveness
Renewal
Guidance
All to make us whole

WHY?
A vision for us, to live with Him
In his magnificence, His world
All he has made, Still but just a
fraction/reflection
of WHO HE IS
I AM

He desires for us to let Him in
To know/experience His love
As He expresses in Christ, a sacrifice

I am his –
He gazes upon me
With a smile, delight
That my heart is open
To Him
He interacts with me
Place me with thought and purpose where I am

Give me other people –
His wondrous creations!
To be tangible expressions of His love
His movement in this world/life
Revealing who He is

His desires for healthy relationships
Bring honor to Him

In heaven our bodies will be restored, renewed
As is his original purpose/intent/vision
in our creation

Skin – our largest sense organ
All we experience
Daily
In skin, through our skin…
Air, wind
Touch
Hot, cold
Affection, love – we need from birth!

Made to FEEL
Feel love, touch – physical
Not merely emotional or visual
POWERFUL
Effects our lives in every way

As with the Lord,
the Creator’s vision!
When he made you:

You have permission
to be healthy!
Radiant
To feel good
To have smooth skin
Free from a rash, irritation, inflammation

You have permission
to be happy

“Thy Kingdom Come,
Thy will be done,
on earth as it is
in Heaven…”

A whole restored body
as with our spirit/mind
Purified with Christ

The Lord wants to heal you
“Get up my daughter, your faith has made you well…”

Lord help me to love myself,
to see myself how YOU see me,
How Chad and family and friends see me
Not on the clock, with expectation
Or disappointment
But knowing what I can be/do
Through Your eyes
A Proud Father

Feeling & action – love
Taking care of myself
Encouragement
Positive self-speak
Life-giving
Admiration
Awe
Christ in me
Delight
Enjoyment
Fun
Beauty
An expression of God’s character, faithfulness, joy, love, vision, beauty, LIGHT, and movement in our world right now!!!

Great vision and PURPOSE
As with Moses, Abraham, Joseph…
everyone in the Bible
How He used them where they were

The Lord has gone to GREAT LENGTHS
To show His love
and faithfulness
In history, in Christ
and NOW
in our daily lives….

If we are only open
He uses everything
For His purpose

Look to Jesus –
God in skin
His SON on earth
Revealing Himself
Love in action

How did He interact with others?
Peace, community, healing, friendship, miracles, meals, simplicity –
trusting in, walking with the Father

That is his WILL for us!

Lord may this be true!
Take my life & use it!
Shine through me!
Purify, sharpen
Guide
Where we go
What we do
Who we meet
Our relationships

Create a strong bond rooted in your love
that will transform us,
that we may never be the same…

Help us to ACCEPT
and KNOW
Your LOVE!

May our actions, words and lives
Be a response
Outpouring from this truth

I AM FULLY AND WHOLLY KNOWN AND LOVED
I was made with purpose and love,
for a relationship and beauty
in the fullest expression of the
Creator’s being!

He goes to great lengths to make this truth known
– Sending and giving his Son Jesus
– The Spirit to guide us
– The Word to tell us
– Gifts to remind us, to use
– Blessings to enrich us
– Prayer to connect us
– Creation, nature, science, miracles, to awe us

He looks on me with delight and joy,
He is faithful,
protecting,
Yearns to do life with me…

God is VULNERABLE
to me,
to be open, to want my love

But it is my choice.
He has put himself out there
Revealed himself in so many ways
Hoping that I just might love Him back
That I would see and accept His
Magnificent Love,
greater than I can even grasp or express…

Whether I accept or betray
He loves me the same
Loyal
Enamored
Believing in me
Desiring I choose Him
To live my life to the FULLEST
With HIM
His vision and original intent

Yes Lord!
You do not give up…
Your search
As for the coin
The Sheep
and the daily greeting me with open arms as
The Prodigal…

Your daughter!
Throwing a huge party upon my return
to You, Your arms, Your House!
All the very best,
It was waiting
All along.

You were sad to see me go – whether by heart or action
But you let me…
Hoping I would realize you would not give up,
but be waiting with open
forgiving
arms
for my return!

MY HEART SOARS!

Thank you Lord for this victorious love!
Greater than anything…”

Thank you, dear friends and family, for letting me share these intimate parts of who I am; for walking with me on this long road to healing, for your patience, and for supporting me in the many ways continue to do. Your actions, encouragement, and prayers have undoubtedly carried me!

I am blown away by all that this year has held, despite the low points, pain, or self-criticism. I have traveled often – Haiti, California [2X], and Alaska – one of my favorite things to do! I fell in love for the first time with an incredible man, continued to thrive at Water.org and be a part of amazing work, discovered yoga and a new strength I did not know I had, seen best friends get married, had friendships grow and be strengthened, learned a lot, and welcomed a new wave of adulthood in various forms.

I am so happy I get to share this life with YOU! You make it…you make ME!…better…rich.

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5 Comments on “ze health update & further exploration

  1. Thank you so much for sharing. I see a lot of truly beautiful things in this post. It looks like you are coming to believe — or at least desiring to believe some true things about yourself. You are worth it. And I’m glad you are realizing that it isn’t your job to carry the world’s burdens. You are an incredible girl. I’m proud that you are seeking the help you need so that you can continue growing.

  2. Beautiful! You are such an inspiration to me friend. I am so glad you are experiencing such transformational healing! I am so proud of all the progress you have made and your commitment to being healthy inside and out. You are fabulous. Let me know if ever I can support you better. You are an amazing friend and person. I love you!

  3. This is almost as good as getting to talk to you in person. Almost. :) I love you bunches, and wholeheartedly cheer on the voice in your head that only recently told you that you love you.

  4. Thanks for sharing this with me. It was amazing to read it and know how far you have come in the past few years. You are such a strong, beautiful person. Love you!

  5. I stumbled up on your blog today reading the post about Rach, thank you so much for sharing your heart! God is indeed working in big ways. Very Inspiring.

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