I realized something recently. I’ve been living in a cocoon for 4 years. And it was incredibly necessary. When I got sick I retreated inwards. I needed to back away from the world to rest and nurture myself back to health. It was important that I get to know my body and my disease. I needed to learn how to be unapologetically selfish and make myself a priority… to fall in love with myself and create a foundation of self-kindness. I cannot stress how fundamental this has been to my healing with Graves Disease. But my cocoon has become my comfort zone and it’s time to let go.
What it means to leave the Graves Disease Cocoon
I’m not suggesting that rest, self-love and self-kindness should no longer be a priority. Those will always be the foundation of my lifestyle and I know that letting them go to the wayside would do nothing but harm my health.
But the downside to living with anything chronic and/or incurable is that you can become entrapped by it. And while cocooning myself and getting to know my disease and my body incredibly well were the key to making it this far, I know that I can’t let Graves be the pilot of my life.
Yes, this is permanent and yes I do need to consciously make the best efforts possible to care for myself if I wish to continue to thrive with an illness. But that doesn’t mean that I want Graves Disease to constantly be front and centre. And for the most part it has been. I’ve allowed fear of relapses and flare ups to guide me in many instances.
But things are changing and I couldn’t be in a happier place. This is the first summer since my diagnoses that I’ve barely had Graves Disease on the mind. The worry of a relapse hasn’t lived in my belly. It’s been liberating! And it’s also been so good for my health.
Which brings me back to my cocoon – I got to know Graves Disease so well in there. Sharing a body with something is about as intimate as it gets. When I became brave enough to sit with it and truly take it in I was able to start healing. It worked and I relentlessly clung to that.
But sitting with it permanently is not only impossible – it’s exhausting. There is a Sara that exists outside of Graves Disease and she needs to be indulged too. A chronic illness may change the way you have to care for yourself, it may require that you create a ton of extra space for rest and downtime and be a lot more in tune with your body… but it shouldn’t mean that you are constantly sitting with your illness.
So this summer I have emancipated myself from Graves Disease. I’ve left my cocoon and I’ve lived outside of my comfort zone and away from my diagnoses. I’ve still cared for myself and my health tremendously – I’ve just let joy, not Graves Disease, guide me.
I’m absolutely certain that I will retreat back into my cocoon again someday –either out of habit or necessity. And there will be times when Graves Disease and I will have to sit together and get comfortable. But I’m not making that my forever. This is part of who I am, not my identity.
Whatever your cocoon may be, I hope that you allow yourself the opportunity to escape from time to time. You deserve to exist outside of it – to just breathe and be, plainly and simply.
Health and love,
Thought of the day: While my cocoon is safe space for healing, I am not truly living if I only exist within it. I am brave enough to wander outside.
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