Everywhere I go, people tell me intimate details about their bowel movements, rashes, indigestion, chronic fatigue, migraines, autoimmune diseases, and other chronic health conditions. Why is this? Am I emitting a special aura that penetrates into people’s beings and makes them want to share this personal information with me? As totally awesome as that would be, I’m not emitting anything that cool from my being. So why, then? Why do I have the beautiful honor of their trust and confidentiality with such personal matters?
It’s because I’m making myself vulnerable to them by sharing my own personal health journey. Whether it’s in a one on one conversation with someone or in a small group setting at a HealthTorch gathering, I am very open with people about the state of my health, my struggles, my symptoms, and my healing. And while I am not particularly unique and special, the sharing of this intimately personal information is unique and special.
“As human beings, we have unfortunately evolved to see sickness and physical symptoms as signs of weakness….and therefore we don’t share them with others.”
As human beings, we have unfortunately evolved to see sickness and physical symptoms as signs of weakness….and therefore we don’t share them with others. We keep them as our dirty little secrets and only let those extremely close to us (spouses, parents, children) know the true extent of our suffering. And we put on a happy face for the rest of the world. Can you imagine responding to someone’s casual “How are you?” with “Oh, you should see what came out of me last night. I think I’m detoxing something from my intestines with this new diet!” Ha! As much as I believe that sharing is caring, that is NOT what I’m recommending!
But what I do recommend is being more open with your own personal health situation when you are engaged in a private conversation with someone. Undoubtedly that person has their own set of health challenges that they keep under lock and key, and your willingness to share your journey might be just the thing they need to feel comfortable releasing some of their own buried stress. What a gift you would be giving to them.
“The first time I realized that people don’t openly share their health problems is when I experienced two miscarriages in 2012.”
The first time I realized that people don’t openly share their health problems is when I experienced two miscarriages in 2012. I was absolutely devastated and was caught completely off guard. Of course I had heard of miscarriage before, but I thought miscarriages happened to other people, people far, far away from my own personal world, and I had certainly never met anyone who had a miscarriage. Or so I thought.
After my miscarriages, I had an urge to talk about my experience with other women as I felt that talking about it would help me heal. To my surprise, the more people I talked with, the more people I discovered who had also experienced a miscarriage. Who knew! I wish I had known of their experience during those agonizing days I spent passing blood clots at my home, crying endlessly over my lost baby. If I could have called a friend who truly knew my pain at that very moment it would have been such a blessing.
At a recent HealthTorch gathering in my home, a group of twelve women, most of whom did not know each other, shared their most intimate health experiences. It was absolutely beautiful. I shared my journey through eczema, topical steroid withdrawal, antibiotics, and gut disorders. Then each of the women began to speak up and share her own health struggles. One woman had been battling lymphoma for years. Another had Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and high cholesterol and was wondering if there was a way to heal and get off of her medications. One woman was experiencing sudden loss of feeling in one of her fingers and her young son kept getting sick with recurrent pneumonia. One woman talked about her children’s recurrent MRSA infections and how she used essential oils and other natural remedies to heal the infections that wouldn’t go away under the doctor prescribed medications. One woman was the sole survivor in a group of 99 people to receive an experimental treatment for a rare form of cancer 18 years earlier. She spoke of her health struggles in living with the side effects from that aggressive treatment.
We began the meeting as strangers and ended as friends, supporters, and encouragers. And although we all still had our same health conditions at the end of the meeting, we each felt a little bit lighter and less alone after that powerful sharing experience. And what’s more, we all learned a little bit more from each other’s journey that we can apply to our own healing.
What are your personal health struggles?
Share them here with the myHealthTorch community, and then share them with someone personal in your life.