One thing that really helped, and continues to, is listening to affirmations and guided imagery. I know that a lot of people laugh at the idea of listening to positive statements, as if affirmations can make a difference if you don't believe them anyway. They say things like "What good does lying to yourself do?"
Well, here's what I found... Affirmations only make a huge difference if you don't really believe them (so, be careful what you listen to :) ).
I remember the first time I heard an affirmation audio by Belleruth Naparstak. She was making positive statements about healing and becoming stronger and returning to health, and I repeated each one faithfully. They felt good, and of course, since I wanted my health back, it all made sense. But then she said, and I faithfully repeated, my body was my oldest and dearest friend. What a lie, I thought. My body, my friend? You've got to be kidding. It hates me - it's trying to kill me - it's no friend to me anymore. But, every day, for several weeks, I said it anyway. All of it. Everything that went into my ears I repeated, believing it or not.
Now I had this ridiculous idea in my head - that my body was my dearest friend and one of my greatest allies. Why on earth, I wondered, did she put that in there?
Over time I became familiar with Belleruth Naparstek's work through her book, her blog, some Youtube interviews, and several more affirmations and guided imagery audios that I used. There was no single audio for Lyme Disease patients and so I broke things down and used a wide variety. From anxiety to immune system to pain to stress, each one had something for me. She must have had a darn good reason for those positive statements of praise for this wreck of a body. I didn't buy it, but the seed was planted, and it grew.
Funny thing about affirmations. They raise awareness. They set ideas in your head that maybe need to be set there because maybe our thinking gets mixed up sometimes. Let's face it, it took a long time to create some of those negative, insulting, angry thought patterns we carry around, so maybe it takes more than a listen or two to chip away at the thick crusts we use to protect our tender spots.
I'm sure anyone with Lyme Disease can relate to the experience of having a good day, doing way more than usual (which may only mean going to the grocery store), and then being wracked with pain and fatigue for days, or even weeks. My go to response used to be seething anger and bitterness. I'd think things like One more thing I can't do... this body of mine hates me and now it's making me pay. Huge pity parties were thrown in honor of my rotten luck and broken body. I even toyed with buying yellow balloons to really make the parties rock.
After working with the audios for a while my thinking started to shift. Instead of reacting with anger and bitterness, I found myself thinking things like Thank you, body, for letting me do that. That was different. I knew something really had taken root when I started telling my body Now I am going to rest and give you what you need in order to restore yourself. I'm sorry if I hurt you, but wasn't that fun?!
BINGO! And that, my friends, is the point (for me) of affirmations. The statements we like and resonate with from the start are important reinforcers, but maybe they aren't necessarily the ones we need the most. Maybe the ones that rub us the wrong way are the ones that have the most to teach and can cause a true shift. It's kind of like taking a class. You don't really do it to hear a lot of things you already know. To really learn you have to be exposed to lots of things you might not expect.
Visit HealthJourneys.com to learn about a the healing potential of Guided Imagery and Affirmations, mediation, and more. You can even get a free sample download right HERE . Sign up for the newsletter for a free sample!
Photo by Peg Zukaitis, used with permission.
Don't forget to sign up for my email list for periodic updates and announcements!
Read Belleruth Naparstek's comments about Affirmations, What's the Point? on the Health Journeys Inspiring Stories blog.