A word on chronic illness & relationships from one of my living 'holistic ingredients', Nicky Done (and a Raw Chocolate Cookies & Cream recipe!)
By Amy Crawford
Recently I asked my dear friend Nicky Done (AKA @holistic_healing) to share her thoughts on chronic illness and its impact on relationships. And let me tell you she has done just that. I will say no more. Thank you beautiful girl for an amazingly honest, poignant and heartfelt piece of writing.
A Word on Relationships, by Nicky Done
A year ago on Valentine's Day, the gorgeous Amy Crawford and I had our first face to face meet. From different parts of our beautiful homeland we had been healing pen pals, text fiends, chit chatting phone marathon girls for 6 months. As two single gals, and Valentine’s Day approaching, we decided that on a day when couples celebrate their love we would celebrate our bodies and the friendship that we’d been gifted with. Thumbs up to a first date on Valentine’s Day, and a blind one at that!
Aims, who is a light in my life and no doubt yours too, and I found each other while trawling through the ups and downs, ins and outs and everything in between of CFS. The physical nature of a blog, aka Sarah Wilson's, played matchmaker but a higher energy was at work. The Universe's purposeful intention brought us together so we could face the next stage of our journey head on, not that we hadn’t been doing that, but like anything in life it’s easier with someone else. Our health stories were so similar, infact our life stories mirrored each other. It was like chatting to myself, only with dark hair and olive skin (skin I would kill for mind you, yes Aims you heard me!). The saying 'life works in mysterious ways' doesn't hold much truth for me. Life works exactly as it's meant to and beautiful blessings surround us if we open our minds and hearts to them. Aims and my relationship enabled a vehicle for exactly that. We were able to connect, vent, find further strength, learn, inspire, release and, ultimately, continue to heal. Here was a person who completely understood. Related on every level. Got it. Knew what it was like not to be able to wash her own hair. Work out how to dress herself. Had experienced the full extent and overwhelming nature of sensory overload. Brain fuzz. The inability to read one page of one book let alone one sentence. Knew what it was like to not be able to recall words stored inside a mind that once operated so proficiently but now had no function at all. What it was like to deal with an invisible illness. The whispers, would those girls just man up. Or worse still, no whispers at all. We shared the grief for lives once lived. Lives seemingly lost.
It's been 4 years since I was officially diagnosed with CFS. Fibromyalgia came a little later. But, in total, 5 years since my body started its shut down. This time anyway. To begin with, I blamed a little mosquito called Ross (other people might know him as Ross River Fever) but through my healing journey, and the mind body spirit perspective I now have, I'd had 30 years of walking (who am I kidding, racing like a highly strung mad perfectionist) down a path that was having a little laugh at a life out of balance. My body stopped because I wouldn’t listen. A physical trigger took place, yes, but healing has occurred through understanding and embracing a holistic view.
When Aims asked me to write a little something about relationships I was like eeeeeeeek! Big topic. Strong points of view. So many angles. Where will I start.
Like anyone who suffers complete and utter loss you really do suffer complete and utter loss. Loss can come in many forms and for me it was chronic illness. The life that I knew had fallen away. The person that I was, no longer existed. The choices that a dynamic, successful, financially stable, socially able, fiercely independent 30 year old girl has, all evaporated. And with that, of course, came the relationship shifts. A vibration was triggered and a change inevitable. The friends that I had, mostly, fell away. Well you feel like they do anyway. The people you expect to be there, aren’t (although those you don’t, are). Hurt, heart ache, disappointment, disbelief, self doubt, sadness, surprise all engulf you. A tidal wave of confrontational blaaaaaaa hits (yes that is a word I learnt when my CFS brain couldn’t form actual words but I like it and I’m keeping it). You feel so very alone. Or worse still, you are in a room full of people, yet, have never felt more alone because no one sees you anymore. For the few that do, those that are able to give when you have absolutely nothing to give back, form part of the real blessing you want to hold close. Infact an enforced Spring clean like this (mine kicked off in Summer mind you, or Winter if we want to get technical given that I was living in London at the time) is not only essential to cleansing toxicity at a physical level, it is essential at an energy level. It provides a healthier platform to grow from. To heal from. To learn from. To be vital and alive from. I was that girl with a thousand people in her life, well I considered myself that girl anyway, who tried to be everything for everybody when infact I was barely anything for anyone least of all myself.
While incredibly difficult to process, and go through, there are two critical things I've learnt. The first; people come in and out, and in many cases back in, of our lives at exactly the time they’re meant to. The people I have felt hurt by were not meant to take up the role I thought they should. The disappointment was real but there was no place for them and so they were doing just as they were meant to. The ones that did take up the support role were the ones destined to. I think it’s fair to say we’ve all been that friend. The one that has let someone else down. We don't do it maliciously but the other person is still affected and hurts because of it. However, like my healing story, there was no role for us to play at those times. It doesn’t mean we don’t care, and we don't feel bad when we realise we've hurt someone we love, but it is what it is and it’s ok that relationships move in ebbs and flows.
I am blessed with an amazing family who have been with me every step of my recovery. Naturally there can be toxicity around family relationships too (another subject altogether!) but mine always, and continue, to have my back – lucky considering they’ve had to hold me up at times! And to those beautiful friends that took up their destined support role, thank you. But when push comes to shove the main thing I now know, and healing cannot take place without it, is this; the most important relationship we will ever have is the one with ourselves. It is the only one that is forever. The only one that is constant, not necessarily consistent, but always constant. If that relationship isn’t real and held with gentle esteem and high compassion then how can any others be and how can our lives ever be in balance? If there isn’t love in the relationship with our self, if there isn’t respect, honesty, kindness, belief, admiration, inspiration, how can any other relationship in our life, chronic illness or not, serve us. There is no one person that can give us everything we need. We surround ourselves with a number of people so that each gorgeous soul can bring a unique quality to us, and us to them. We are so fortunate to have a jigsaw puzzle of relationships in our lives but the only person that can truly bless and nurture us is us.
So on a day like today when love is celebrated and that special person is acknowledged, acknowledge yourself too. Give yourself some chocolate hearts, the raw sugar free kind of course. Give yourself some happy heartfelt flowers direct from Mother Nature. Give yourself a hug from the inside with an energy vibration of green goddess goodness (aka green food) that speaks directly to the heart chakra. Send light and laughter to yourself. Be thankful and grateful for all the relationships in your life but most importantly be thankful and grateful for the relationship with yourself. Self love, there’s no greater gift you can give yourself and it should come in truckloads, with no need for gift wrapping, every day of the year.
Raw Chocolate Cookies & Cream
Gorgeous with a mindful cup of tea or as a dessert with friend. Who said healthy isn't tasty!
1/2 a cup of pistachios
1/2 a cup of pecans
2 tbs cacao
1 tsp of bee pollen (leave out if you don't have it or substitute for 1 tsp of cinnamon)
1/2 tsp of paprika
Pinch of salt
1 tbs of coconut oil
Combine all ingredients in a blender, food processor, whatever your whiz master of choice is, until mixture sticks together. Mixture should be crumbly and sticky but not too wet. If it isn't sticky enough add more coconut oil. It it's too wet add a few more nuts.
Roll mixture into a ball with your hands and then place it between two sheets of baking paper. Roll out with rolling pin until about an inch thick.
Use a cookie cutter (I used a round one but whatever you have) to cut the rolled out mixture up.
Place cookies on baking paper (on a plate or in a container), cover and place in fridge to set.
Blueberry and Passionfruit Cashew Cream:
1 - 2 passionfruits
1/2 a cup of blueberries (frozen are best to keep the mixture a little thicker)
1/2 a cup of cashews
1 tbs coyo yoghurt (or whatever yoghurt you use - and if you don't then just leave out)
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tbs of pysllium husk
Combine all ingredients well in your whizzing weapon of choice. Mixture should be thick and not too wet. If it isn't think enough then add more pysllium husk. If it's too dry then add a few more blueberries or a splash of filtered water.
Once the cookies are set (at least half an hour) top half with the cream and use the other half as little hats, I also piped some coyo on top. You can serve straight away or put them back in the fridge to set further. They do not last out of the fridge for long (everything goes quite soft) so either gobble them up or keep them chilled. They are super delicious the next day as they've had a fab amount of time to really do their setting thing in the fridge. They will last in an airtight container in the fridge for approx a week. Good luck not eating them though!