Coping with the Emotions of Healing from Chronic Illness

Emotions of Healing from Chronic Illness

A little over a year ago, I had high hopes for healing from chronic illness.

I had just begun a program of healing called the Dynamic Neural Retraining System and was seeing big changes in my health. It was amazing (and still is).

Better days meant I could actually do things normal people do. I could go out to eat or take a walk. I could make plans to attend functions and actually show up.

It felt great!

But it was another major life change. And if you’ve ever experienced extreme change, you may understand the potential difficulties.

After a year of doing the bare minimum in life (spending 90% of my time in bed), I felt like I could take on the world!

I was excited…oh so excited!

But then I began to face setbacks.

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Things I Refuse to Say to Myself

negative self talk for Christian women

Whether we’re conscious of it or not, each of us has an inner dialogue running through our mind. Sometimes I find myself thinking on something and then realize I have no idea how I got there.

It catches me off guard.

A mind that constantly runs seems to be pretty normal, right? But what happens when we deviate from positive self-talk and run down a path of negative thinking about ourselves?

How does negative self-talk affect us?

Through years of ups and downs with depression and chronic illness, I experienced the detrimental effects of negative self-talk. And it wasn’t until I got serious about reframing my thoughts that I was able to start healing.

Now I consciously choose to think on things that align with scripture and encourage me in living out my identity as a daughter of God. This is a conscious choice I make daily, hourly, and sometimes by the minute.

With lies and negativity being shouted to the masses, it’s no wonder depression, anxiety, and overall discontentment are on the rise.

I’m convinced that many of the struggles we face with negative self talk and feelings of inadequacy stem from the things we feed ourselves. Both outside influences (like social media) and internal influences (the way we speak to ourselves) are feeding us food that either nourishes or depletes us.

Proverbs 15:14 says,

A discerning mind seeks knowledge, but the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness. (CSB)

It clearly matters what we feed our minds. Talking to myself with words that aren’t just hurtful but are actually untrue makes me a fool.

So I know I shouldn’t do that anymore. I refuse to speak words, either vocally or internally, about myself that put me down or reinforce negative thought patterns.

And my life has changed drastically as a result.

Things I refuse to say to myself:

1. I’m fat, ugly, not pretty enough, etc.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of self-depreciation because of perceived appearance. Having dealt with acne and weight issues on and off since childhood, I’ve cried over my appearance more times than I care to discuss. At this point in my life, I know it’s not worth it to engage in negative talk about my body.

We were created in God’s image for the purpose of glorifying Him. This goes much beyond outer appearance. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10, ESV) Because of this truth, I choose to care for my body well without obsessing over my appearance.

2. My husband doesn’t love me.

This is one of the biggest lies that creeps into my life. I have an unjustified fear of abandonment that I must choose to release to God when it creeps in. I know that Jonathan loves me. And even so, I know my hope cannot be placed in the love of another person. It can only be placed in Christ.

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Life Lately // 5.4.18

Emily Ryan freelance copywriter

Back when I lived in China, I wrote regular “Life Lately” posts to share what I was doing or learning that particular week. Those posts were both informational for readers and therapeutic for me. I enjoy processing through putting words out into the world. So since this blog is new, I want to continue that pastime with regular “Life Lately” posts that will go live most Fridays. Here, I’ll share what I’m learning, reading, doing, etc. while including links to resources that may be valuable to others!

Work

I have news, my friends! I’m going to start taking on clients for freelance writing projects! It’s something I’ve considered doing for years but it wasn’t until I started seeing significant improvement in my health that I even thought it could be possible. To be honest, I wasn’t sure I could meet deadlines when my health was inconsistent. Now though, I’m confident I can do it!

Like with any new challenge or adventure I pursue, I’m researching as much as possible to become more effective in the craft. If you need a freelance copywriter, blogger, or PR gal, please check out my website.

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Life Lately // 4.20.18

Christian Newlyweds

Back when I lived in China, I wrote regular “Life Lately” posts to share what I was doing or learning that particular week. Those posts were both informational for readers and therapeutic for me. I enjoy processing through putting words out into the world. So since this blog is new, I want to continue that pastime with weekly “Life Lately” posts on Fridays. Here, I’ll share what I’m learning, reading, doing, etc. while including links to resources that may be valuable to others!

Lessons

Wow – have I been learning a lot over the past two weeks! Jonathan and I have been married for a total of 13 days, and they’ve been some of the sweetest days I’ve ever experienced. It’s been fun to learn how to navigate our schedules as we mostly jumped back into normal life after only a mini-honeymoon. We’re taking an actual honeymoon in June once school is out! I feel like God’s already teaching me a lot about humility as I seek to put Jonathan’s needs before my own.

This blog post contains affiliate links.

Favorite Christian Books - Emily Ryan

Reads

In premarital counseling, our pastor recommended we read New Morning Mercies together each day. Because of our varied work schedules, we don’t always read it in the morning, but it’s nice to recenter on God at the end of the day before we drift off to sleep. We received both New Morning Mercies and The Love Dare Devotional as wedding gifts, and we’re looking forward to maintaining a daily habit of reading and praying together.

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A New Name, A New Blog

Why I Blog - Emily Ryan

Well, hello!

I’m pretty excited that you’re here – that you’ve joined me for this next leg of the writing adventure! In case you’re new here and don’t know me yet, I’d like to introduce myself. I’m Emily Ryan. Before marring my sweet husband, Jonathan, I was Emily Lofgren. I blogged over at emilylofgren.com about finding hope amidst chronic illness.

The past few years of my life have been a roller coaster. The ups were so good! But the downs were…well, so bad. I suffered with debilitating chronic illness before God brought the right resources into my path. Since implementing a system to heal my limbic system, and therefore [mostly] heal the rest of my body, my life has changed in huge ways. I went from a mostly homebound existence to being well enough to dance the night away at our wedding one year later!

It’s pretty amazing when I think about how far God has brought me (well, brought us, because Jonathan was by my side each step of the healing journey – even when he didn’t have to be!).

At this point, I wouldn’t say I’m 100% healed from all sickness, but I’m probably around 90%…except, the more I try to figure out exactly how healed I am, the more I realize the specifics don’t matter all that much. What I do know is God brought healing into my life and I’m back to being myself again. But this time, it’s a better version of myself because of how the Holy Spirit has changed me.

For much of my life, I attempted to live beyond the good, God-given boundaries of rest. I tried to do too much. While my life now, after much healing, is still slower-paced than it was before I became debilitatingly ill, I think it’s actually a good thing. I’m not convinced we were made for the “crazy busy” life that’s coveted by too much of American society.

While it’s still a process, and I’m continually growing, I’m learning what it means to rest in my identity in Christ. I know that I have nothing to prove. And I don’t say this in a defensive way anymore either. I used to know I had nothing to prove but then think about it defensively, as if trying to shield myself from the opinions of others. Now, I’m free in Christ to live confidently in the place He’s called me to be! It’s pretty cool!

This new blog will be a place where I share the journey from the desire to strive to a place of rest and contentment. Like many others, and maybe even you, I’ve struggled along this journey. It can feel like a wild ride. But the most important thing is that we can seek God, trust Him – and I mean really trust Him at his Word – and He changes us through the Holy Spirit. It’s quite incredible, and I don’t say this lightly…

Life here on earth is short. We all want to make it count. But how do we do that? How do we use the God-given talents, resources, and desires in a way that is most pleasing to Him and gives Him all the glory? How do we work with the challenges we face instead of letting them paralyze us?

I’m excited to explore this all with you…

I hope to write about real faith in this hurting world, good habits and their impact on our lives, and the importance of seeking to be emotionally healthy.

Thanks for being here! It means a lot.

Lots of love,

Emily