To Good Health – By @AlyRadia93
By Alysha Radia
To Good Health
New year, new start, that’s what they say. A chance to right the wrongs of yesteryear, by starting afresh and becoming a better version of oneself.
As is typical for this time of year, I’ve been thinking about this idea of renewal and self improvement and what I most want to change about the way I am. What can I do to be happier, more rounded and perform to my best? It’s no easy ask.
During this period of introspection, I’ve realised now more than ever, that the most essential thing, the thing that if fixed will improve every aspect of my life from the top down, is my health.
I’ve had a rough time with it over the past few years, but especially over this past year, where it really took a toll on my studies and my personal relationships. I was diagnosed at 19 with Coeliac disease, having had severe health problems during my A level years. After eliminating gluten from my diet, things got better. But then much, much worse.
Without boring you with all the medical details, which I’m sick of talking about myself, it’s got to the point where I have a laundry list of symptoms that come and go, including becoming intolerant to dozens of foods (which as a foodie and a baker truly breaks my heart), that doctors frustratingly don’t have an explanation for. I’m continuing to persist with appointments, trying to get a diagnosis, however progress is arduously slow and tedious.
One thing that is certain, whether or not I’m suffering from something else, is that my body is still trying to repair itself from 19 years of relentless damage. And that the one thing that always helps is sticking to a diet of gut-repairing low inflammatory foods. The year of 2017 saw me half-heartedly try to stick to the diet multiple times, before faltering for a slice of gluten free cake or a round of cocktails. I would tell myself, ‘Surely a little can’t hurt?’- cue days of foggyness where I can barely string a sentence together, weakness, breathlessness, nausea, a throbbing head and extreme fatigue.
This reality is something that I have to accept, instead of fight. I have to accept that I have a body that is more prone to sickness, to breaking down and to becoming fatigued. I have to learn to forgive myself for missing social occasions, or not turning up, let alone speaking up, in class on days that I feel ill. I have to accept that my health is more important than getting drunk, more important than sushi and more important than seeming ‘fussy’ or ‘difficult’ to other people. Fuck other people. My energy is too precious to waste on worrying about what others think of me, and denial won’t get me anywhere either.
I owe it to myself to do everything I can to keep myself as healthy as possible at this pivotal period of my life, when I’m on the path to hopefully getting the career that I’ve wanted for such a long time. Chronic illness is unfair and its shitty. It gets me down more than anything. But I’m lucky that I have at least some aspect of control over it.
Without health, there is nothing. So from today, absolutely nothing is going to come between me and my health, and I vow to make every necessary sacrifice to get there. I’m going to eat right. I’m going to meditate. I’m going to sweat it out in the gym and get intimate with a yoga mat. I’m going to rest in the true sense of the word, without my phone, my laptop or the TV.
When I’m at my healthiest, I produce my best work, so everything is riding on it. However, despite this, I vow to push my body and my brain to its creative limit – because if I can learn to produce great work when I’m functioning at 20%, imagine what I will be able to achieve at 100?
2017 was the year where my body broke down. And 2018 is going to be the year where it fights back.