Healing: a never-ending process of self-discovery
Healing: a never-ending process of self-discovery
I am writing from ‘a room with a view’ from a hospital in Melbourne…sigh, third admission in eight
weeks…this time I have a lovely, lovely view…my eighth floor room is looking over part of Melbourne CBD and you can see a tram and beyond in the distance a small patch of blue which is Port Phillip Bay. Oh, and notice the green tinge of new leaves, unfurling on the trees…spring is in the air!
As for me, I am sitting here like Queen Bee, with visits from many wonderful specialists dedicated to finding clues to confirm diagnosis and prognosis. Right arm and left leg not behaving as they should. Everything is indicating spinal cord problem, related to road trauma injury many moons ago, but I remain positive for it is the only way to be:-).
Seven Books by the Sea
Neuropathic pain management control is effective, and my wonderful children and their dad are setting up home for me in Melbourne, near to them, and to public transport, in a small unit that I own. I will miss my life beside the sea, on the Bellarine Peninsula, a several-hour drive away. I will miss my walks along the shore of the bay, where in the past seven years I have continued my healing journey of self, and gained inspiration to write seven books on eating disorders.
Time for a New Chapter
But now I must be sensible, and accept change is inevitable; it is time for my healing adventure to start a new chapter, and return to urban living in the big city of Melbourne. My children are having fun choosing and installing furniture, and filling cupboards with minor things that include everything from pots and pans to spices and tinned cans, so the little unit is all ready for me upon discharge from hospital….sometime next week, I hope! Importantly, I continue to type with 10 fingers and the doctors are careful to organise the pain medication so that I can focus on my writing. Writing is healing!
Facing a physical challenge, instead of mental or emotional challenge of my long-term eating disorder, is a new adventure in self-discovery. Either way, I know the mind can be a garden, where we can grow the seeds of beautiful thoughts, and allow them to blossom, no matter what other challenges surround or confront us.
Live in the Moment and Plan Dreams Too
The care of doctors and nurses and specialists, and the love of family and friends, enables me to remain buoyant in spirit. And to continue to plan adventures. My main goal, apart from making the most of every day, and writing my books, completing my PhD, is to fly to San Francisco in May 2016 for the international Academy for Eating Disorders conference (AED ICED).
Getting to this conference, to share with wonderful colleagues and friends in the USA and Canada who have invited me to present with them, is a great motivation at a time when being told: “You cannot drive a car again, cannot go grocery shopping again (my daughter: ‘Mum you can shop at the supermarket online!’), cannot pick up or carry a grandchild again, cannot do anything that may cause pressure on on my spinal cord.” But I can give one-arm hugs, left-hand handshakes, walk albeit currently with a slightly funny gait; I can ride on trains, fly in planes! I can see, hear, eat, taste, smell, feel and talk. So many, many blessings to count!
Writing Process is a Healer Too
As I sit here in this room with a view, nurses and doctors drop in, and they see The Diary Healer manuscript beside me. They see that the process of writing and editing this book is a healer in itself. I did not foresee this when dreaming up the concept for the book. I did not know there would be a fresh health challenge and that the experience of writing The Diary Healer would become a major form of pain diversion and distraction, a super-effective tool in taking me into a place beyond any pain in my physical self, allowing me to feel connected and purposeful.
Opportunity for Patient to Educate the Professional
I managed to organise printing of this 2nd hard copy, of the manuscript, on the way to this third admission to hospital….nurses see it on my meal table and sit and listen to what it is about. This draft copy that is like a baby, about to be born. They ask interesting questions about eating disorders – sigh, such questions reveal a continuing dearth in general knowledge of this serious illness, even in the health services sector … but rather than feel despondent, I welcome questions and opportunity always, to spread the word about ED. The Diary Healer is creating interest, arousing curiosity, educating others about eating disorders, even before it is printed, before its birth. Writing is a great healer and as a patient, remember you can be an educator as well as recipient of care.
Life Experience Counts
I am doing this final read and edit of the The Diary Healer manuscript, with great care, for this represents my major component of a PhD in Creative Writing. I plan to submit the manuscript to Routledge by end of September, first week in October at latest, to enable release of the book before mid-2016. This aim is motivating me, and this book is a healer in a thousand and more ways. And I could not be doing it without you and everyone who is supporting me. Everyone who shares their voice in this literary work is contributing to science as well as helping to create a mainstream book. Your voice counts!
A Life-Long Process
Yesterday was a big day of MRIs, thoracic and lumbar spine, and brain (again). I look forward to results coming through. Meanwhile, I keep tapping, and when I depart this room with a view, and enter my little unit in the leafy suburb of Melbourne; I know everything will be perfect, for my daughter is having fun with the interior decorating and my IT-expert sons are ensuring the wi-fi communication and everything I need to keep writing, and stay in touch with the world, is set to go so that I can continue my self-discovery healing adventure. Once I would think ‘that’s it, I’m healed‘. But now I am wiser. I know that healing is a life-long process. One day at a time. This is not a race or chore, it is a pleasure, an investment in self-care. A life-long project of self-enrichment and growth.
Patterns and Purpose Will Become Clear
Keeping a diary enables the challenges to be placed in context of life as a whole, and in this way all becomes manageable. Embrace your life, a day at a time, and enjoy your journey, too. Record the ups as well as the downs. For together, upon reflection, as the weeks and years pass by, the patterns you create will help you find your purpose and reason for being. Whatever happens, always hold on to hope. And allow your self to feel excited. I am.