Epilepsy and spinal injuries have given Lucy Baena a few extra challenges to contend with every day, but through her blog, Empowerment, Epilepsy and Elephants, she explains why time, self acceptance, and being just a little bit vain are all part of overall wellness!
A challenge which I face on a daily basis, minute by minute, is working out what I believe I can do and what my body will let me do. Finding this balance is, I am sure, elusive to many people, especially those who, like me, carry added health complications. I think that there are two main issues which make this such a difficult balance for me to achieve.
The first is acknowledging and accepting the body I have been given. This means being truthful with myself. It means whilst in my mind I can surf, climb mountains, run marathons and give Tarzan a run for his money, the reality is that at this precise moment in time my body won’t let me.
This doesn’t mean that I am useless, unemployable, weak, and will be consigned to a horizontal position for all eternity. What it does mean is that I have to listen that bit more closely to what my body is telling me. I find having a hidden disability (epilepsy and spinal injuries) make this even harder. I look in the mirror and I look fine, I look normal. How can I claim benefits? Or tick the ‘yes’ box on disability forms? I look just like you, don’t I?
I used to tick No. I now tick Yes. I am epileptic and proud! Accepting myself also means knowing when to ask for help. It means celebrating when help is offered, rejecting guilt, and enjoying the little things. Turning small actions into treasured memories, like when my husband cut my toenails for me; without my health challenges perhaps I would never have experienced an act of pure love like that.
To really listen to my body I need the most precious of all unquantifiable entities; time. Time is the second reason why balancing what I want and what is possible is such a struggle. The 21st century world moves so fast, it is easy to feel like we are meant to exist at the speed at which emails travel. Doctors are keen to offer quick fixes, steroid-injections, and Pain Management Plans. Very few doctors I’ve met have taken time to ask: ‘How are you?’ Such a simple question, seemingly so obvious, so essential, yet rarely thought of. There isn’t time. As my blog illustrates, I am increasingly drawn to finding alternative therapies to the massive super-fast medications consultants prescribe. I want to try and heal myself by slowing down, learning from nature, and from the wise women I know in my life.
Finding time to show our bodies love is so important and yet so hard to do as society seems to view time spent on ourselves as a luxury, not a necessity. This hasn’t always been the case and doesn’t hold true for many people around the world. To highlight just one example, sweat-lodges were once commonplace, free and widely used in many cultures, they could be seen as the precursor of our modern spas. I believe that visiting a spa is more than just about improving a person’s looks but can also be a healing experience for their whole being. I wish that doctors would work more closely with spas and suggest more alternative and complimentary therapies to people like me.
I want a haircut. I know having healthy hair will make me feel better it will heal my mind as well as my body, but also because I’m vain! I’m proud I’m still vain! Despite everything, I want to live and love, feel good and be able to do good. Fresh hair and a loved body will decorate my hippy soul, increasing my wellbeing and by default that of those who love me too. I hope that by writing about this more people will think that visiting a spa could be just as valuable to their health as visiting the GP. I think it sounds like a PLAN MAN! One Love.
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