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Gratitude heals

Category: Impact on Quality of Life.

I have a complicated relationship with the concept of ‘healing’. When you have a chronic illness like endometriosis, pair it with two other chronic auto-immune diseases and depression and anxiety, your expectation for healing is dismal to say the least. But what I am learning to accept, is that my journey of healing should not be of the mind or body, but of the soul. When I have my bad days, I hate it when people stay “be positive” or “just keep going”. It made me feel like I was getting no credit for all the surviving I was doing. Then my mum started saying to me “what are you grateful for today?”. This shifted my perspective completely. I started keeping a gratitude journal and writing down three things a day that I was grateful for. It soon became difficult to pick only three things. A public health system (with all its faults), my family, a home, healthy food, a loving partner, my mind, my faith — the list goes on. I did realise however, that it is important not to adopt the mindset of “someone always has it worse than me”. This can be a destructive mindset that takes validation away from the very real pain that you experiencing. I have learnt that I can instead reverence the sacredness of my suffering through gratitude for all of the ways that I do not suffer. Today my hand brushed past one of my laparoscopy scars. It’s still a little tender, a little hard, a little itchy. In that moment I was overcome with an intense and unexpected amount of thankfulness. I felt thankful to have been gifted a reminder of what healing looks like. My scars will never let me forget that to heal, there must first be a wound. There must first be blood, and tears, and pain. Only after is there tenderness, regrowth, and miracles. The past year since my diagnosis was the one of bleeding, crying, and ‘wound-making’ if you will. But how sacred is the opportunity to heal? In anticipation of my second surgery, I need this reminder more than ever. It will be another season of wound making, and hopefully an increase of gratitude. All in all though, because of these wounds, I am living a more tender, grateful and miraculous life then I ever could have imagined.

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