Is My Illness My Fault?

Via on Feb 13, 2013

Naughty Little Bean.

I’ve noticed that lately some of my blogs have question mark titles.

I’m thinking it’s because I’ve been focusing on being a yoga student again, rather than a teacher, and this brings a lot of questions to the surface of my thoughts. I also think it’s simply because I’m the sort of person that asks a lot of questions.

One of my recent questions is rather uncomfortable to think about. Is my illness my fault?

I find out yesterday (and it wasn’t a big shock either) that I have to have another sinus surgery. My first surgery wasn’t a walk in the park and this one will probably be more complicated, throwing in that my home life is more complicated too (I have a two-year old now).

It’s not that I’m particularly nervous about the procedure or the discomfort. In fact, I’ve been so sick that I actually really want it done. However, I am very upset for the difficulty that it will bring my family while I recuperate. I’m also a little upset because I’m confronted by a slight belief that I hold: that I am responsible for the disease in myself.

As a yogi, I definitely believe that I hold emotional baggage in my muscles and soft tissues. This is one of the basic reasons that I have a physical yoga practice: to relieve these unhealthy storages and blockages. (If this is new terrain for you, check out books like Molecules of Emotion and Anatomy of the Spirit.)

I know that for me personally, the last two plus years have been the most challenging of my life thus far. I’ve suffered from post-traumatic stress and severe sleep deprivation. As a chakra enthusiast, I also know that my throat chakra has been blocked by my faith crisis. All of these things are emotional and physical results of being a new parent and watching my little girl go through some very difficult things. So I know that, to say the least, I’ve struggled with myself and my life these last few years—did I also cause my sinus disease?

From a chakra standpoint, if my heart and throat chakras are severely blocked, or severely energy deficient, then my third eye chakra (right by my diseased sinuses) is not getting enough energy flow. This is an over-simplification, of course, but it’s a good and easy way to think about it for this article’s discussion purposes.

My third eye chakra has obviously experienced some technical difficulties along my bumpy road (just read some of my above symptoms), and I’m not sure—as a person who believes that my positive and negative thought and emotional patterns affect my physical body—but I’m inclined to say that I caused the need for my own sinus surgery.

That’s not to say that I did it on purpose, and that’s not to say that I wanted to be sick, and that’s not to say that I could even help it. I’m also not saying that I firmly believe this, I’m throwing it out there as something to think about, because I’m thinking about it.

I don’t have a clear-cut answer or even a tidy way to finish up this blog. I don’t have either because I’m still questioning. Have you ever thought about how much control you have over your physical illnesses? 

I know that the mind has a strong control over the body. Science knows that. I have low blood pressure and when I get stressed out, and adrenaline courses through my veins, my blood pressure plummets rather than spikes. Yoga has helped me control my anxiety level and thus, my blood pressure. It has helped me control it enough that I no longer take medication. Personal experience has showed me this and many other mind-body relationships. (Meditation is another great example.)

Yet, I’m talking about something deeper and less tangible. I’m talking about my diseased emotions causing my physical disease.

Molecules of Emotion by Candace Pert tries to scientifically prove this connection. If you love reading and are in to any of the “alternative” healing practices, you should absolutely read this book. Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss delves into this topic from an energy healer’s standpoint, another worthwhile read on this subject—and while I’m not sure exactly where my blog fits in, I do know that I wanted to share the processing of my current experience on this.

I don’t feel guilt over my reality that I quite possibly have caused my own illness. Rather, I have sympathy for myself that I have been so distressed that this is an end result—and I definitely want to try to regain more personal power over my future health, power that I’ve obviously let go awry.

Sometimes we have questions in life that aren’t easily answered. These questions are the ones worth asking. I promise I’ll keep asking more questions, and I’ll keep sharing them with you.

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Ed: Brianna Bemel

About Jennifer S. White

Jennifer is a voracious reader, obsessive writer, passionate yoga instructor and drinker of hoppy ales. She's also a devoted mama and wife (a stay-at-home yogi). She considers herself to be one of the funniest people that ever lived and she's also an identical twin. In addition to her work on elephant journal, Jennifer has over 40 articles published on the wellness website MindBodyGreen and her yoga-themed column Your Personal Yogi ran in the newspaper Toledo Free Press. She holds a Bachelor's degree in geology, absolutely no degrees in anything related to literature, and she currently owns a wheel of cheese. If you want to learn more about Jennifer then make sure to check out her writing, as she's finally put her tendencies to over-think and over-share to good use. Jennifer's first book, The Best Day of Your Life, is now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and on her website.

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