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Welcome to The Autoimmune Wellness Podcast Season 1! We’ve created this podcast as a free resource to accompany our upcoming book, The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook: A DIY Guide to Living Well with Chronic Illness.
Episode #14: Step 7: Connect – Our Stories is an episode all about an often unexplored, but vitally important, piece of the healing process, connection. In this episode we talk not only about connection with other people and its role in healing, but connection with the natural world. We start with a chat about how our illnesses initially impacted our support networks, how things changed after diagnosis and when realization that this was chronic set-in. We address the awkward, depressing, and often stressful truth behind trying to articulate the experience of autoimmune disease to those close to us, plus how the experience can expose weaknesses in our connections with others. We also talk about transitioning our social lives to support healing, finding new connections through online support, and avoiding the trap of adopting illness as an identity. Next we move on to exploring the role connection with nature had in our recoveries and wrap up with ways to experience the benefits of that connection even when you can’t get out in the woods regularly. This episode is a great match for listeners that are wondering if the strain illness has taken on their “people” connections is normal or what they can do to enhance their nature connections.
If you want to dig in check-out the ideas in the “Building a Support Network” section in Chapter 7. This is a good place to help you get the gears turning about forming or strengthening relationships, if it feels like this area could use some attention for you.
How to listen:
If you’d like to download the .mp3, you can do so by following this link.
If you’d like to play the episode right now in your browser, use the player below!
- 0:00 Intro
- 1:31 Introducing the Connect topic
- 2:26 Angie shares about what her support network was like early in her journey
- Strong, but confused
- 5:26 Mickey shares about what her support network was like early in her journey
- Strong, but tense
- 7:50 Mickey talks about key relationships that were under stress due to her illness
- 9:17 We don’t have rituals for acknowledging chronic illness in our society
- 10:18 The awkward and depressing side of discussing your autoimmune disease
- 11:18 The importance of adding people who “get it” on a personal level to your support network
- 12:29 Mickey’s social life now
- 13:26 Angie shares about transitioning her social life to support healing
- Working to inspire others to support her choices by projecting confidence about her journey
- 15:54 Mickey shares about avoiding long explanations with all but the most important people
- 17:48 Mickey shares about connections she found online
- She was looking for empowered people
- 19:30 Angie shares about connections she found online
- Her virtual relationships turned into real world connections
- 21:25 How to avoid adopting illness as our identities
- Consider ways autoimmune disease has expanded your life
- Consider how it could actually shut you off from connection with others
- Consider meeting new people and letting your illness take a backseat in how you define yourself to them
- 25:00 The powerful role connection with nature can play in healing
- 25:38 Angie shares about her experience with nature and healing
- It gave her a renewed energy
- 27:00 Mickey shares about her experience with nature and healing
- She had a similar sense of drawing energy
- 28:20 The inescapable connection we have to the natural world
- 28:52 How Angie connects with nature now
- 30:05 How Mickey connects with nature now
- She moved to a farm
- 31:30 Experiencing the elements of nature when we can’t get out
- House plants
- Nature sounds recordings
- Diffusing essential oils
- Bright light exposure
- 34:14 Your homework for Step 7, Connect!
- Try out the “Support Network Evaluation” tool in Chapter 7 of The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook to assess the strength of your connections with others.
- 34:34 Outro
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The Autoimmune Wellness Podcast is a complimentary resource to our forthcoming book, The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook: A DIY Guide to Living Well with Chronic Illness. Support us in our mission to revolutionize how autoimmune disease is viewed and treated by pre-ordering your copy today!
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Check out the previous episode, Episode #13: Noelle Tarr, NTP on Autoimmune-Friendly Movement, and the next episode, Episode #15: Angelo Coppola on Connecting with Humans and Nature. For the full podcast archive, click here.