High Sensitivity and Chronic Illness
Updated: Jan 13
"The wound is the place where the light enters you." - Rumi
Many sensitive souls struggle with chronic illness. Unfortunately, in some ways, this makes sense. We are often the “canaries in the coal mine.” We tend to have a more finely tuned nervous system and are more sensitive to our environment. Whether it’s something like toxic chemicals, mold, or negative emotions, we are more affected by the world than our less sensitive counterparts.
I have struggled with chronic health issues since I was 15, but there were a few years recently when I considered myself more or less “healed”. This was around the time I wrote and published my book, Empowering the Sensitive Soul, and then moved from Boston to Sarasota, FL. At the time, I felt the strongest I had ever felt in my life, both mentally and physically, and I expected things would only get better from there.
If you follow my Instagram, you’ll know that I recently opened up about my current struggle with chronic mystery illness. My nervous system has been stuck in the sympathetic (fight, flight or freeze) response and I have been experiencing debilitating fatigue, anxiety, panic, insomnia, difficultly breathing and a constant racing heart. I have seen numerous doctors and alternative healers and there is no consensus as to what is wrong or how I should treat it. I am extremely limited in what I can do and haven’t been able to go about my life normally for almost two years now. The fear around not knowing what is wrong or if I will get better has only made things more difficult to manage.
I had considered opening up about my struggles for a long time but I kept hoping that it would get better and that I could just open up about it when I was “healed” .There was a level of shame that I felt from being a health coach who, despite her best attempts, wasn’t yet able to heal from her own health issues. On top of that, there was another level of shame because I did not feel empowered in any sense of the word. I felt the opposite - I felt ashamed and depressed. As I have often done in my life, I was quick to blame myself for what I was going through and then on top of that, I blamed myself for not being able to get well more quickly. This mindset was extremely detrimental to me and was only bringing me further away from my goal of healing. I have now come to realize deeply that this illness is not my fault (and your illness is not your fault either) and that my value as a coach does not come from being perfect, healed or even well. I know now that if I am open and true to my story that I can offer much more than I can just waiting until I am better.
This article marks my next stage of healing. I now have clarity that it is my purpose to share what I am going through rather than to hide behind it. I am ready to put myself out there again and not be ashamed of who I am. I am ready to believe deeply that I can still be of value even if I am not healed. I am ready to stop playing small and to expand into the true light of who I am.
I am happy to say that I have been feeling a bit better the last few weeks and have a new healing plan that I am very hopeful for. (More on that soon!) Healing is not a linear process, and there have been many ups and downs on my journey so far, but I am grateful and hopeful for any and all improvement I feel. Either way, I will be more vocal and open about what I am going through.
Are you struggling with a chronic illness (mental or physical) and blaming yourself for it? Now is the time to say: “No! This is not my fault and I will no longer beat myself up for something I did not cause. I am doing the best that I can and it is enough.” If this resonates with you, repeat it out loud right now.
I also recommend being open about what you are experiencing. Hiding yourself dims your light. You never know the support you might receive from opening up, or the way you might inspire others to know they are not alone and to keep on working for answers. As sensitive souls, we need support more than anyone. If you feel called to open up about what you’ve been going through, share your story in the comments below.
Love and light,