Let Go Of What Doesn't Flow

All my life, I have been an extremely adventurous person. From having gone backpacking to South America for 5 months to being an athlete in school and further running from Rajasthan to Delhi in a cross-country race, I have done it all. I am also an advanced scuba diver. But, in 2013, life took a sudden turn and I got diagnosed with an autoimmune condition called Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). For the uninitiated, RA causes excruciating pain in the joints amongst many other things. (FYI, we have 360 joints in our body!!)

The onset of this condition was not only a physical attack on my joints but also an emotional and mental attack on my identity and for someone like me — spontaneous, go-with-the-flow, and an adventurous person — it was a major setback.

It was these seemingly slight losses of control over my life that hit me the hardest. I couldn’t be active, I could not get out of bed without pain and had lost most basic motor skills. For 5 months, doing simple things like picking up a glass of water or squeezing toothpaste or closing my fist was not possible. There was so much swelling and inflammation, to an extent my index finger was the size of two fingers.

I couldn’t eat what I wanted, couldn’t work, and then there was the pain. My pain was so paralysing that I was unable to think beyond it.

But guess what? I had to! Life doesn’t stop for pain, and, so, never did I.

Doctors and decisions took up a lot of my time. Still do.

Initially, I had to choose between the devil and the deep blue sea. The devil being a cocktail of some seriously potent medicines with side effects that lead up to kidney and liver failure. Not that I’m averse to cocktails, but I couldn’t make peace with their horrific side effects.

So it happened that I decided diving into the deep sea was preferable to me. I began exploring the possibility of alternate therapies. There were a hundred options, not one with a guarantee of a cure.

The next couple of years involved experimenting with alternative therapies. Honestly I could write a book, but to name a few – Ayurveda, naturopathy, kinesiology, CBD oils, past life regression, hypnotherapy, H2O2 therapy, acupressure, acupuncture, etc.
I was so desperate to get well and have my life back – I tried it all. With a lot of hit and run, I eventually figured what therapies are working for me more than others.

During the journey, I got control of the pain but mentally I was messed up. So now that I could think outside the pain, I started to understand how the mind and body are so deeply connected. I realised that the days I was feeling very happy, my pain was reducing. And that took me into a deep dive into a spiritual journey of understanding my mind, my inner being. In time, I started to learn to manage my mental space as well, which was a very empowering feeling for me.

As I continue to live with RA, I have come to accept its role in my life.

I am slowly able to appreciate the valuable lessons that come with the pain and this journey taught me to “Let go of what doesn’t flow”.