Trigger Warning: This story contains details of suicide, trauma, and eating disorders that may be harmful to some.
“‘Why Me?’ A question birthed through desperation, agony, and self-pity, transformed to a prompt of power and purpose. My life was riddled with turmoil, darkness, trauma, and here’s the kicker, a lot of magic and miracles. When I say miracles and magic, I do not mean it in the form of exaggeration or even from a place of gratitude. I mean it in the absolute depiction of the words. I am a medical medium, psychic, holistic health practitioner, among many other titles—all of which found me through my journey of pain.
People identify pain as a curse, but my life is proof pain is your power, your purpose, and your key to unlocking all the magic life has to offer. It sounds illogical, but getting sick saved my life. It gifted me livelihood while it stripped away my control. It gifted me clarity. It gifted me self-love by submerging me in loneliness. It gifted me real friends while promptly weeding out those who did not have the best intentions. It gifted me value of life as a whole. It gifted me empowerment.
During my formative years, from when I was 10 to 22, my life was riddled with trauma, depression, and an eating disorder, to help me find some control through it all. I tried to commit suicide when I was 13 years old, and my mom miraculously knew something was wrong while she was at a wedding and called 911. I physically survived, but my depression prevailed. I was in and out of eating disorder rehabs. I thought, ‘Once I get to college, I will be better.’ I went to college and it was fine for a while, but as luck would have it, I was a victim of sexual assault and then the college covered up scandal. I worked with Security on Campus and the Office of Civil Rights Education Department to get the justice I deserved. It was the first time they had enough evidence against a state school to thoroughly reprimand them and intervene to fix the system. I thought winning this battle would help me heal, but it just left me emptier. I transferred out of that college, started again at a county college, and enrolled at another university. I was seemingly thriving.
Physically, I was perfect. I did well in school, I danced, I sang, I cheered, but I didn’t really experience any of it because I felt the suffocation of depression through all of it. I kept thinking to myself, ‘If I just achieve this, I’ll be happier.’ Every goal I set out for I achieved more than I had envisioned and each time, it hit so much harder because the pain remained the same. I thought, ‘Once I graduate, things will be different.’ Instead, I got sick. It was like my body went on strike. I let me run it to the ground until I graduated college and it said, ‘Enough is enough.’ Within a 3-month span of after graduation, I had a cyst on my vocal chords, had an adverse reaction to all the medication for my throat issues and my stomach became inflamed, broke my ankle standing because I had lost too much weight from the stomach issue and, somehow, got the chickenpox for the fourth time. I had to get surgery on my vocal chords, get my tonsils taken out with my broken ankle, and, because of all the pain medication I had taken for both, my stomach was completely damaged. I had to lay on bed rest, drink Ensure five times a day, and try and get my weight up without putting strain on my digestion.
I remember when my birthday came around. The birthday I thought would be my first ‘adult’ birthday. One where I would be accomplished and independent, and instead I was as physically dependent as I had ever been. I cried like I had never cried before and told my friends, ‘I’ve ‘canceled’ my birthday.’ My friends were amazing, and they planned a birthday at my house so I could enjoy company on my couch. They had arranged a game night, brought food, and sat with me at my level. It was the most fun I’ve ever had while being mostly immobile. I went to California after my surgery so I could recover in better weather and just have a change of scenery. Since I couldn’t talk as much, I started meditating more. I couldn’t run from myself and my thoughts, because my body physically could not move, and the most amazing thing started occurring. I started seeing myself. I finally had the chance to grieve all I had been through. Since I wasn’t mobile at all and I was still mentally agile, I started writing.
Losing function of my vocal chords lit this fire of conviction to start speaking my truth. To stop holding myself back. It helped me understand the power of my voice. I was never ever going to let anyone willingly take my voice away from me ever again. I was never going to mold my message to fit the confines of another person’s norm. I was so uncomfortable and so in pain, I refused to willingly contort myself and make myself uncomfortable for others again. This horrific, painful situation with my vocal chords gifted me my voice in the most holistic sense. I started sharing my journal entries on social media, and people from all over the world would contact me and told me the impact my words had on them. My whole life, I heard I talked too much or it was inappropriate how much I shared, and here, my sharing was helping me connect to people across the world while I was confined to a bed. I am naturally an extrovert, so being caged in my body and to a place was torturous.
Staying in California was incredibly healing; staying with my aunt, cousins, and my niece was so therapeutic. This was when I first started realizing my gifts as well. I didn’t talk about it, though, because I didn’t know how it would be perceived. Through my stomach being ‘broken,’ I healed my relationship with food. Eating disorders do not really ever go away, but it helped me focus on being healthy, not skinny. It helped me want to nurture myself. This terrible situation with my digestive system healed a heavy emotional burden that had tortured me through most of my life. I flew back from California thinking this was the end of my sick bout, but I was gravely mistaken. A month later, I had an ovarian cyst rupture that made me look pregnant and was incredibly painful, and at the same exact time, I herniated a disk in my spine, which left me with severe sciatica. I tried all of the physical therapies, but nothing worked. During this time, while I continued to be sick, my tight knit group of friends started to fade out of my life. I was always the ‘fun friend,’ but now I was the sick friend, and the sick friend is a boring friend.
I only saw them if they had an issue or when they wanted to talk, and slowly but surely, I found myself isolated. I couldn’t blame anyone, though, because I was frustrated myself. I was so mad at my body. I kept writing, though. It was my only source of connection. I kept up on social media and made friends with people I had never met and connected with them in a more intimate way as we were sharing our vulnerability. My back pain became increasingly unbearable, and at the same time, I started to develop an allergy to all pain medications. I was considering getting neurosurgery to help with the sciatic pain. I met someone through my spiritual community who told me, ‘I know a woman who has healed people through acupressure.’ He flew me to Texas to get treated, and instead of just being her patient, I learned the art of acupressure. This person who was an acquaintance became my family. We did a meditation camp together for 11 days. His family helped me settle into my intuitive gifts and helped me normalize them.
My acupressure therapist became my guru and she completely cured my back injury. As a person who always felt like an oddball out, I finally felt at home and completely accepted in my skin. To meet people who understood intuition and to be able to speak about it was enlivening. I wrote even more, gained a bigger following, and just started feeling more fulfilled as a whole. Sunshine started to peer through the dark Charlie Brown cloud which had followed me my whole life. I thought at this point my journey of struggle was over, because I was healing emotionally. I was wrong. I developed something called AERD, which causes severe asthma and polyps in your nasal cavity. I had no sinus cavity and could not breath through my nose, which further aggravated the asthma. I had surgery done on my nose hoping to fix it, but after a week of recovery it closed right up again. I was frustrated, to say the least. I was equaling around 30 minutes a night of sleep. Thank god I meditated, because there would be no way I’d be functional otherwise.
I went to India and met another healer, who healed people out of her house for free. I went to get a healing for my nose, but instead she told me, ‘I am going to teach you the art of healing.’ Without me telling her anything, she told me, ‘I know you are gifted.’ She knew I saw people’s auras and felt their pain. She said, ‘I have been waiting for you.’ I went to her house every day for four months. She treated me and taught me. She loved me. She made me feel more normal and helped me understand my gifts which were opening up. She helped me channel my gifts. I also went to a Yoga Therapy Teacher Training for a month in Southern India. It was the first time I had ever done anything alone, and I realized I am far more capable than I originally had thought. I met people from all over the world and forged these amazing bonds with them. I learned the art of Ayurveda, and through the daily yoga practices, I regained my physical strength I had lost.
It was magical staying there. It was incredible, feeling better and witnessing my body becoming stronger than it was before. It meant even more after being on-and-off bed rest. I went back with my healing guru in India, and she let me treat people. I started to see my healing abilities at work. I felt so rejuvenated and empowered. I thought, ‘I am never getting sick again.’ I was wrong. Again. I came back from India on May 10, 2014. On May 20, the whole right side of my body went numb. I went to the hospital, and it was the first time I stayed overnight. I didn’t just stay overnight, I stayed for two weeks. I lost function in my legs. I gained so much weight from the steroids they put me on. Was poked and prodded, and they said, ‘You most likely have Multiple Sclerosis.’ I don’t know if I mentioned this, but I am, or was, deathly afraid of needles. I had more needles and IV ports than I had ever had in my life. I did not walk for two months.
I lost all hope in life. I was so mad at God. I was so mad at these gifts. I was over it. I stopped writing. I shut down all my social media accounts. I shut down out of life. I was done. I did EVERYTHING right. I kept up my morale, I uplifted other people, I learned how to heal, and I became sicker than I had ever been with something I could not understand. I was DONE. I didn’t want to recover. I didn’t want to talk about it. I didn’t want to be positive. I had nothing left to give. I cried every day, so mad I had survived the suicide. I was so angry, and I thought this must be punishment for my self-harm. I didn’t know what else to do but just cry. In three months, I had a second Multiple Sclerosis flare so they could confirm I definitively had Multiple Sclerosis. I had to start daily shots. Remember I told you, I am so afraid of needles. The needle didn’t hurt, but the medicine would burn like a dragon breathing fire under my skin for hours, and I couldn’t take any medication for it because I was allergic.
I then had an allergic reaction to the shots and had to stop this treatment and start another one which I took every two weeks. This one gave me a fever for a week and a half. I would have only three days or so where I felt normal. I went to India again for the winter, and it was exactly what I needed to regain footing. My spiritual community was there for me while I crumbled through this diagnosis. For the first time in my life, I didn’t have it in me to really perform for anyone, and to my surprise, people still loved me. I learned Pranic Healing and Reiki during this trip. This trip, though, I had people who were there to heal me, so I didn’t have to focus on rising back up again. It was exactly what I needed to want to live again. I restarted my social media. I started writing, sharing, and connecting again.
Through social media, I saw a fundraiser for Multiple Sclerosis on my MS-versary. It was my first time going back out and I fell in love with the event. I joined the planning committee for the next year and remembered I was still smart. I found purpose in being on the Committee for the Preakness at the Piazza, and more than this, I found a family. During the 2016 event, I did the media tour and spoke on various news stations about my diagnosis. On my MS-versary, I was able to raise money and awareness, and take back control on the day which took control away from me. Philadelphia was a place of trauma for me after being raped in college, but Preakness at the Piazza helped me fall in love with Philadelphia again. It became a place of healing for me as opposed to a place of trauma. I made friends who not only didn’t mind I was sick, but thought I was so much more incredible for it.
I was able to get a job in PR because of the work I did on Preakness at the Piazza. I went on to co-chair the event and was interviewed for Remarkable Women, HerStory, and various other news outlets about my journey with MS. I became an advocate for the disease, and people who were also struggling with autoimmune diagnoses would contact me, saying my courage through my diagnosis gave them hope. I do continue to have health hiccups and flares, and I do continue to go to the hospital, but each time I feel a little less emotionally triggered by it. I found my new normal through it. I found out how I could thrive within it. Every time I went to the hospital, I had a flood of people who would come to visit me. I became friends with the hospital staff. Now when I enter the ER with an MS flare, everyone greets me with joy and also makes a joke about how we had a deal I wouldn’t be back in this amount of time. When I stay at the hospital, some of the ER staff visit me upstairs.
During my hospital stays, I teach the nurses acupressure tips they can use on other patients. I stopped fighting my body and started fighting for it. I started appreciating what my body can do instead of cursing it for what it cannot. I learned life is so fragile, and each and every single moment of my life is noteworthy. Each time my body goes through a flare, it is that much rewarding regaining my strength back. Every time I am sad, I now have the support system in place to sit with me while I grieve. Life didn’t get easier. It is a struggle. I do live with pain, but I also feel the joy through it. I feel so enamored and enchanted with my life, it feels alien to have ever gone through depression. I love that I can share the wisdom of my journey with others. I love that I can offer solace to those in the trenches—it does get better, and I am living proof.
I love being able to share the goal isn’t to get to a certain destination, but to be completely authentic about where you are and how you are. It’s about enjoying the small moments. I went from always waiting to be happy to just being completely overwhelmed with happiness despite what I am going through. Multiple Sclerosis gifted me my life. It gifted me a means to really find myself. It gifted me a tribe of people who support me and enliven me. It gifted me a better relationship with my parents. It gifted me a platform to speak on. It gifted me power.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Sheel Bhuta of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. You can follow her journey on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and her website. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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