Question for Bernie:
I have recently been diagnosed with Sjogrens Syndrome. I’ve been having symptoms off and on for 15 years, and was diagnosed with fibromyalgia earlier, but I knew I didn’t have that. I’ve been saying daily affirmations, meditation, and prayers for years. I have tried visualization, but I cannot see anything. I must be one of the few who cannot visualize.
I am a person who doesn’t experience much love or joy. I always felt I was just existing, but not living. Two years ago I finally felt joy in my life. I felt life was good. I wasn’t on any medication. I was exercising regularly and entertaining friends. I felt my affirmations and prayers were paying off. Well shortly after that, my hands and knees started to swell and were inflamed. At first my blood work was normal, but then all the inflammatory markers rose quickly. I was put on prednisone, which helped, but they didn’t know what type of autoimmune disease I had. The following year my mouth became dry. I had experienced this several times before over the years and was tested negative for Sjogrens around 10 years ago. The symptoms would come and go, sometimes for years at a time, but I have had little relief in over the last six months.
During the past two years, since I voiced my joy and happiness for the first time, I have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, my mother had a stroke, was hospitalized, put in a home (which I visited 3-4 times a week) and who passed away this past January. My mother-in- law passed suddenly from a massive heart attack. I fell and broke my shoulder and because of that developed a yeast infection and cellulitis. I was diagnosed with severe osteoporosis in the spine because of the prednisone use, and now am having joint and muscle pain and extreme dryness.
I have two questions, first, why after 57 years on this earth, when I finally felt, for the first time, happiness and joy, has my health taken a turn for the worse; and secondly, how do I visualize my immune system stopping its attack on my body, especially my moisture glands? Sorry for the length of the email.
First, ask yourself what anger, probably about the lack of love and joy, is stored within you that needs to be expressed. Start visualizing loving yourself, and create a life with love for yourself and your body. Sit naked in front of the mirror and love yourself just as you are.
Create shrines with photos of yourself at all ages, and love that kid. Don’t use disease to get attention. If you don’t already have a furry pet, and your life allows you to spend a lot of time with one, go to the shelter and find a pet who will love you unconditionally. If you can’t have a pet of your own, offer to take a friend’s dog for walks.
Consult a naturopath about various herbs which can be therapeutic like curcumin and boswellia.
Look on my website (www.berniesiegelmd.com) for CDs which will guide you in how to visualize and heal.
Stop judging yourself. Ask yourself what being sick feels like to you—make a list of words you might use to describe feeling sick. For example, one word many people come up with right away is “limiting.” Think about who or what else in your life feels “limiting” to you. Go through your list of words describing what being sick feels like to you, and then think about whom or what else in your life could be described with the same word or words that describe feeling sick.
As part of your therapy, eliminate those negative relationships or activities from your life. Take back your power over your health. You know it is possible to feel good and be happy as you described above, so it can happen again. If you really want that happiness to stay, then don’t let negative people into your life. Change your “self-talk” to positive statements about what you CAN do and what you HAVE done in the past that made you happy.
Start acting like you are seeing the world once again through positive eyes—you must take control of your feelings—and you can.
Peace be with you,
Questioner’s Response to Bernie:
I think I found why I had stored anger—it is from my childhood. How do I express it so I can let it go once and for all?
What exactly do you mean when you say “ask yourself what being sick feels like.” Being sick makes me feel dry, doom, and a loser. I don’t know what in my life fits these words. Can you explain a little more?
You can scream and yell somewhere where you can be alone with your anger. You can hammer nails into a board. Or, use sports as a way of expressing anger and not hurting anyone. Find an exercise buddy—just to walk with every other day or whatever schedule works for the two of you. Join a group that walks around a mall before it opens for the day.
What in your life fits the doom and loser feelings? Find classes in everything from humor to how to write your autobiography. Find a food bank or hospital that needs volunteers and go through the training to help as often as you can. You will meet people who know you can’t be a loser if you are a helper—a giver of your time. Find a literacy class at the library and volunteer to help children and adults become competent readers. What a gift to give someone.
If anything negative comes up when you are thinking about changing your life from one of gloom and doom to one of giving hope to people, or getting moving yourself in activities where you will meet people, just dump them out of your vocabulary. Leave your past behind and start right now to improve your life and the lives of others who you can help.