„It’s easy for you, your life is perfect, and I’m so desperate,” a lady friend told me, asking for advice. She was suffering from gastroenteritis, which she developed gradually from an initial bout of gastritis.
“A perfect life is no less problem-free than a desperate one might be – the difference lies in the knowledge and skills required to solve the problems.”
“Don’t you see? On top of the disease, my dog has died. How not to be desperate?”
“The death of someone you love is the hardest thing in our lives, whether we have expected it or not. It’s precisely the reason to learn and try to accept the following:
1. It is impossible to get involved in the process, because everyone dies at their own time.
2. It is also impossible not to be sad, and a time of grief is unavoidable.
3. No one and nothing can console you in the period of mourning.
With this in mind, I, for one, never even speak of these things.”
“All right, I agree with you that there’s nothing you can change about death, and that I might be inconsolable, but I’m sick, and that’s too much for me right now.”
“What you need to do first is to accept the situation as is, and come to terms with the fact that it’s part of your life at this point. Secondly, when we enter what we feel is a vicious circle of bad events, we need to find the strength not to identify with our own thoughts and feelings.”
“But, I’m sick. I can’t do that!”
“First, don’t use the disease as an excuse. Second, it seems to me that the cause lies way deeper in your life, which is why you feel bad.”
“Why there has to be ‘the bad’ in our lives?”
Sometimes, when backed into a corner, we tend to deny the truth, make excuses for ourselves, etc. It’s important to understand that what you do not only merely extends the agony, but is completely useless, too. That’s why I was just watching my lady friend with an intense look in my eyes, as if to say, “Don’t you try to lie to me and stall!”
“I can’t accept my life as it is. It’s been repulsive since I graduated and was forced to work.”
“Who forced you to work?”
“You know. My parents. I had studied for nine years, and, as they put it, they no longer wanted to finance a parasite. And it wasn’t like that at all! It was a really hard major to complete.”
A mere fifteen minutes before the conversation, she had joked with me that she had completed her studies in a café, boasting about how resourceful she had been.
“In a nutshell, you don’t want to digest your reality, and that’s why you got sick?”
“What do you mean?”
“Gastritis, which you developed first, is an inflammation of the lining of the stomach, where the digestion of everything we take in, food and liquid alike, begins. In your case, the intake may also include the thoughts and emotions you’ve been facing. Hunger, too, is created in the stomach, be it hunger for food, or emotional hunger for the fulfilment we are missing. Before you started to work, you had had an easy life, as others had been looking after you. Now that you have to take care of your own reality, you can’t digest the life as it is. Inflammation implies irritation. That feeling created something you’ve been sucking into your system. When that “something” passes into your stomach, there’s nothing else for you to do but to process it. That “something” upsets you seriously, and it seems to me you’d much rather reject it. You don’t have a choice though, because your parents won’t let you go back to your old ways. That’s why the entire system for the assimilation and integration of your reality is upset, and it makes you feel frustrated and irritated.”
“That’s not true. My dog has died, and that’s why I feel bad!” her face turned red as she spoke to me.
“Don’t try to skirt the issue! Gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the intestines closest to the stomach. It shows that whatever might be irritating you is much larger than before, while you still had only gastritis, because now it affects not only the place where food enters the stomach, but also the spot where it leaves it. My opinion is that you’ve been irritated by what’s going on so strongly that you can’t absorb it – instead, you rather release it in an inflamed state.”
“I couldn’t disagree more!” she said, on the brink of tears.
“I’ve never learnt anything from the people who agreed with me. You’d better try to understand.”
She started to cry. The crying took so long that I was getting uncomfortable, but I didn’t interrupt her, sitting in silence, and waiting for her to stop. When she did, she looked at me and said:
“I don’t want to work. I want to go back to mum and dad, and let them take care of me!”
I knew that her words were a step away from her illness.
“I can’t live any other way.”
“You should never say you can’t do something before you even try to do it. Let’s make a little arrangement. If you succeed, I’ll do whatever you now say you want me to do.” I offered her a deal because I truly wanted to help her, but I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
“Singing traditional songs is your hobby. Do you think this is easy for me to do? Record an album, I dare you! That’s more or less as difficult as it is for me to learn to live a life imposed on me,” she said, clearly wishing to thwart my desire to help her.
We began the change together, that of her picture of reality first. I provided her with guidelines, she listened very carefully and worked hard. She no longer challenged me, and shortly after she began to enjoy the fact that her life was in her hands.
She’s reaping the benefits already, but the best is yet to come. I’m no longer worried about her.
And, yes, I did my part of the deal, too. See how that turned out. 😊