My name is Lauren,
I have a passion for economics, metaphysics, ancient Egypt, and astrology. I love the ocean, country music, meaningful conversations and exploring new things.
That is a pretty neat way of summing me up.
Funny thing is if you had of asked me four years ago to give you an elevator pitch of myself it would not have gone that way at all.
It would have read:
My name is Lauren. I work as an economist, I have a brother and a sister and I have a number of autoimmune conditions.
I have ankylosing spondylitis, which is similar to rheumatoid arthritis only it also affects my spine, I have fibromyalgia which when in a flare, wearing clothes is not an option, I also have chronic gastritis and also the other things that go along with an autoimmune condition, like brain fog and chronic fatigue.
Both stories remain true, at both points in time.
Or well.Doctors still give me the diagnosis of the above things.
The difference is the way it’s framed.
How many of you with a Chronic Illness, can relate to the second statement?
How many of you lose yourself within your illness?
How many of you have let it define you?
If you can relate to any of those statements, we share something in common.
At the height of the illness, when my body was swollen from jaw to my toes, when I was unable to eat and I had people carrying me to the toilet, I decided if I heard from one more person that was healthy that “it was going to be okay” I was going to break completely.
You know that person is just trying to care for you, but it’s hard to hear from someone that just doesn’t seem to get it. They don’t get the pain, they don’t get the fear, they don’t get the loneliness. It was at this point I decided to start an instagram account, I just needed to vent, I needed support, I needed to believe in something other than my current reality.
I really had no idea what I would find. It wasn’t always good, but for the most part the people I started to interact with where the nicest, kindest people I have ever spoken to, and the crazy part is I was a stranger to them. What brought us together was a common goal, to find a cure or a way out of chronic pain every day. Among the beautiful humans I met on Instagram there was one in particular, who I credit to saving my life (without an ounce of exaggeration) this guy is known as Ralph Ruiz or on the Instagram community @ralphitness. This man skyped with me for hours and hours over the period of a year and a half, he taught me everything he had learnt on his journey to a pain free lifestyle and was there to pick me up every time the pain got too much and I lost all hope again.
With him my account underwent name changes from @kick_as to @kicking_as to finally @shape_your_reality, I learnt the power of thought and spoken word, how I could manipulate my reality simply by my chosen phrases and thoughts.
I learnt about myself, I learnt to notice patterns before different flares, for example if life became overwhelming and physically exhausting but I felt like I couldn’t slow down, my knees would swell up. I physically would be unable to walk or move. I was being forced to slow down.
I noticed if I was in a situation that I was uncomfortable in, my wrist would flare up and then my clavicle, I would hold these joints and either excuse myself from an activity or use it as an ice breaker to start conversation in a group I didn’t know, therefore becoming comfortable.
By noticing these patterns, I become able to take control of them, I practiced mindfulness and when these patterns would show up, I would adjust my behaviour accordingly. The biggest thing I learnt from Ralph is that a pain free lifestyle is attainable. Remission isn’t this fantasy you hear of, it takes work. It takes a lot of self-analysing and dealing with things you have been suppressing for a number of years, but it is attainable.
I went from being chronically tired, from being crushed by brain fog, from being carried around and having to eat through a straw, from being on a strict diet to having boundless energy, to having a brain that operated back at its full capacity, to carrying out an exercise routine and to being able to eat everything and everything in a year and a half. And the funniest thing is, my specialist is so astounded. He cant work out what has happened, I went from his most difficult patient to help to not needing his help anymore without anything changing but mindset.
I truly believe that you are limited by your beliefs, if you believe you wont get better, you wont. If you believe it is permanent, it will be.
After 9 months in remission, the most incredible thing happened to me.
My GP told me the game plan for remission over the next five years, this involved no longer seeing my specialist, and then eventually not even having to see my
Amazed I looked at him and reminded him of a year before when I sat in his office, tears spilling out of my eyes, because I couldn’t take it no more.
Lauren he said to me “look, you need to just face it, this is your life now, stop asking questions and accept it, you’re going to bed ridden, you’re going to be in pain, I am sorry to say it’s going to get worse with age. Accept it and deal with it the best you can, maybe try some antidepressants”
And then here we are a year later and he is telling me people go into remission all the time and there is a plan for it.
He had the opportunity to give me hope or darkness, that day I sat in his office completely broken and he chose darkness.
Imagine the difference if he had of given me hope.
He would have given me something to believe in, a goal to strive to, instead I left in tears. I went home and drunk the pain away just to escape it for a little while.
Thank God, I had a supportive network to provide the hope I needed to get to health.
I don’t want anyone else to ever feel like their helpless again.
You have all the resources within you to shape your own reality, don’t let anyone ever make you believe otherwise.
This may be confronting to a lot of people. Please be aware I am not saying this illness is in your head. Please understand I suffered for years with chronic pain, I know where you are. I know how hard it is.
But there is a light at the end of the tunnel, if you are prepared to work for it.
However, for some, it can actually be less painful to stay in the physical pain, then deal with the emotional pain. I respect that. All pain serves a purpose. My 19 year old self would have laughed at this message, it would have been angry, it would have said this person doesn’t understand or that I am different.
If I could tell my past self-anything it would be, to be patient, to trust in myself and who I am. To allow myself a break. It was okay not to be strong, it was okay to break down and cry, it was in those moments that I learnt the most about myself. I would like to go back and hug that girl, to tell her she was loved, that she was perfect the way she was and that one day things would be right again. The pain would go, and the person I had become would be unstoppable.
I am sharing a story of hope. One I have personally experienced and seen a number of others personally experience. If Ralph hadn’t extended his support to me, I would hate to know where I would be, so I am hoping to do the same to you, in the hopes that it may help.
For coaching plans to assist with your autoimmune or pain management journey please inquire through the contact box to the right.
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