For the longest, I didn't see the light. I only saw the dark, the shadows. I was lost in the forest.
I struggled with chronic headaches, depression, self-hate, chronic muscle pains, eating disorders, trauma from being abused growing up, and so on. I desperately wanted to heal. I just wanted to be happy, healthy and free.
I wanted happiness, health and freedom so badly that I forgot to think about what these words meant. I imagined happiness, health and freedom as a destination, where I arrive and I will have nothing else to do, but to soak on the sun and hang my feet by the ocean. I imagined it as a permanent destination that something will take me to: I would get fixed and I would be there.
I was looking at my problems as separate issues. My original prescription was ibuprofen for my headaches, binge eating for anorexia and dark music for my depression. Then as I got into alternative options, I tried juicing and elimination diets for my headaches, listed affirmations for my depression, and self-massaged my muscles.
I was still missing the point. I was trying to fix rather than to heal. I was looking at problems and parts of me as separates entities with no relation to one another, as things that we separate from me, problems that needed to be fixed one-by-one.
Then suddenly I realized what holistic healing and holistic living truly meant. I realized that I was a holistic being: mind-body-soul. I realized that I couldn't separate issues and I couldn't just fix them, but I had to address them as an interconnected whole layer by layer with love.
I realized the bigger picture that I was just a small ant within a huge puzzle, yet everything I do affects everything around me. I realized that I had a purpose. I took responsibility.
I started mirror-work: looking deeply into my eyes, connecting with my soul, having honest conversations with myself and developing self-compassion. I journaled to let my thoughts out on paper, then I danced letting my soul learn to be alive. I nurtured my mind, my body and my soul layer by layer, yet as a connected beauty.
I began to appreciate my life, to be grateful for my experiences and the world around me, and to forgive for any source of pain and anger. I became more and more mindful of my surrounding. I connected to nature as running, walking, earthing and tree hugging.
Things started to shift one by one. Small shifts, small steps forward, and even some back, but suddenly I realized that I've changed. Life changed.
In case you wonder: I healed my pain -- physical and emotional. Headaches are from the past, so is depression, and the rest. But more importantly, my life changed and I learned what happiness, health and freedom really were.
I realized that happiness, health and freedom are not a destination, are not a permanent perfect thing, are not achieved and are not independent of us. I realized that happiness, health and freedom are within us. They are active decisions, choices, acts, thoughts, feelings and shifts within us.
Happiness, health, and freedom are a way of mindset. Happiness, health, and freedom is within us: Within all of us. Happiness, health, and freedom are decisions: I choose to be happy, healthy and free.
I realized that there is no destination. I realized what life is: a journey of ups and down, smiles and tears, learning experiences and more. I learned to embrace my journey no matter where I am.
As I am walking my way, I notice how my mind, body and soul works together, how I am linked to the world around my, and smile at the interconnectedness of life. Most importantly: I choose happiness, health and freedom.
If you're struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorder Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.