This is me on July 15, 2012, my first successful “test hike” after 10 years of illness. The trail to Glacier Lake in southern Montana is a short, steep 3-mile victory for anyone who takes it, and that day it signified to me that I. Was. Back. Illness was finally going to be in my rear-view mirror.
I’d hiked alone that day, because I didn’t yet trust my body, and couldn’t stand the thought of disappointing anyone, if I had to turn back again. But I didn’t. Instead, I skipped the last 50 yards to the lake, beside myself with giddiness, and kissed the ground moments after taking this shot.
A week later, I put on the pack, joined my then-husband and dog, and backpacked 5 miles to celebrate my 40th birthday. SWEET does not begin to describe it. There had been many, many, MANY days during those 10 years when I found myself at the edge of hope: believing I COULD recover, but not quite believing IN recovery, if that makes any sense.
My healing journey (the part during which I was actually getting better, not just trying one thing after another) was quick. Six months from “I think I might actually be dying” to knowing the nightmare was over.
If you’re stuck in some form of Invisible Illness, your journey is going to be unique; whether you’re a wounded healer, or just a person whose life has hit a major speedbump, I’m here to tell you it can end well. You can get your life back.
And for those who would like to follow a map out of the abyss, I’d love to be your guide.