September 27


The Isolation of Healing

By Sue Ingebretson

September 27, 2016

community, fibromyalgia, FibroWHYalgia, Healing, isolation, Rebuilding Wellness

Have you ever felt alone in your chronic illness? Is there isolation in your healing? As though no one else has a clue what you’re going through? Maybe your fibromyalgia doctors don’t listen. Your family nods, yet you know they’re tired of hearing. What if I told you that you’re not alone? In fact, what if you discovered that you have everything you need – right now – to heal … from the inside out?

This past weekend, after attending the funeral of a good friend, I dug through some old files on my hard drive. I didn’t know what I was looking for, but I felt pulled to sort through old posts, articles, and bits of writings that were so important to me a decade or so ago.

What surprised me was this.

I’d forgotten about the isolation. I’m now surrounded by positive people and, more importantly, the positive dialogue inside my own head.

But, it wasn’t always that way.

Here’s a scrap of something I wrote years ago. I think I wrote it shortly after finishing my book, FibroWHYalgia. I want to share it with you now, because I know that the emotions described still hold true today.


I used to feel alone with my negativity, hopelessness, and isolation. I was surrounded by people – traditional medical professionals – yet, I couldn’t deny that gnawing, empty feeling. I had no faith in their words. They made no sense to me. Was I really supposed to accept a life of constant, unrelenting pain?

Living with chronic illness is isolating. It’s hard to focus on relationships, family, friends, and careers when your body’s pain receptors shriek with every move. It’s tough to ignore. But, who was I to also ignore the advice of established authorities? I was told by countless doctors to go home, lie down, take my medications as prescribed, and review my legal options for disability. I already walked with a cane … how long until I needed the scooter chair they recommended?

Doubt persisted. My inner voice urged me to ignore conventional wisdom and look elsewhere. I was a natural researcher – the daughter of parents who read, absorbed, and taught what they knew. I collected volumes of study materials and developed a profound fascination for how the body works. I studied nutrition, physiology, and psychology. Time and again, I tripped over information that went against the grain of what I’d been told. Through my education, I transformed from a nutritionally illiterate mom to one who voraciously read books on the digestive system, the nutritive value of natural foods, and the relationship between foods, moods, and healing.

I left behind a rheumatologist who said, “What you eat doesn’t matter” and instead followed my own inner wisdom. I learned that food does matter. I learned that fitness and physical strength matters. Above all, I learned that what and how we think matters. All three components — what I call the Restoration Trio — braid together forming a bond of ultimate lifestyle balance. They are, nutrition, body movement, and emotional wellness.

Rebuilding my body from the ground up didn’t happen overnight, although some changes occurred quickly. Nearly a decade ago, I’d never heard of wheat free, gluten free, or dairy free diets. I had no game plan to remove foods that were toxic; I only planned to add foods that were healing. I ate more salads, more veggies, and drank more water. No rocket science involved. But traditional science couldn’t explain my rapid improvements. The pain in my hands and wrists noticeably diminished within just a week or so. My digestive troubles and foggy thinking improved over time. I pressed on eating a balanced diet of fresh, whole, fiber-rich and nutrient-dense foods.

My body said, “Thank you.”

Feeling much better, I added a fitness regimen to my routine. I joined a local gym and worked out regularly. Yes, my body pain still existed, but as I built muscle strength, my pain slowly ebbed away. My cane gathered dust in the trunk of my car.

The toughest challenge on my wellness journey was to heal my thoughts. I discovered that my body felt and experienced every negative emotion. My inner guide again kicked in, telling me to have patience with my progress. Healing takes time. I found far healthier ways to deal with stress than the negative self-talk I was accustomed to. Wonderfully healing practices such as tai chi and restorative yoga became lifesavers for me.  

Restoring my physical health is nothing short of miraculous, but that’s not the most important discovery made. The real miracle was learning to trust my inner wisdom. I’ve healed my body from the inside out and guide others, through my books and coaching, to do the same. By trusting in myself – even against conventional wisdom – I’ve developed a community of friends, colleagues, and even strangers who share their experiences and thoughts with me

I am not alone.


I now know that I’m no longer isolated. I’ve discovered that reaching out begins by reaching within.

Have you discovered this for yourself, too? Please share your experiences below!

  1. Hello Sue.
    Just been reading your story and yes. I have been there for six years already.
    I am still suffering the pain of a knee replacement that did not help and in fact left me with a terrible knee pain worse than before.
    Also a hip replacement a year later that had the very same affect.
    Medication and painkillers were prescribed with follow up operations that did not help one bit.
    They do not know why I have been so unlucky and almost don’t believe that I can hardly walk without aid of crutches.
    I have had a personal trainer to my home as it is difficult for me to get out.
    A year ago I gave up on the medication and pain killers as I am petrified in messing up my internal organs that are so precious to my life.
    Yes I was always in severe pain because for 7 years I have suffered with the most intense Fibromialgic pain.
    My neck, back and shoulders were driving me insane since I had opened up a restaurant 8 years ago and had to work every single day almost every minute of every day. I was going downhill very slowly until I decided to give up on medication and doctors.
    I had become almost bedridden because it was too painful to move my body or even get up to have a shower.
    Then I was blessed with a bedsore that took 4 months of hell to get rid of.
    That is when I woke up and decided to take matters in my own hands and get up and get going.
    That disgusting painful bedsore was a gift from above to shock me into living once again.
    Especially on the bottom which you need to sit on. I lay on my side with more pain than ever before hating myself for the pathetic person I had become.

    Never ever do I want another bed sore.

    I am in control of my life now. So used to my excruciating fibro pain that I take it as a tough cookie and do not get me down as I know it is not life threatening at all. so I treat it with more stretching movements and have given it back some hell. You know what apart from also eating great natural food and keeping my mind busy with the love I have of my three Toy Pom boys, my fish pond with fish who have names. My 5 tortoises. My one frog in a pond near my bedroom window….that serenades me every night..The birds that we feed in my sanctury garden in front of my glass door. My beautiful garden which I attend to personally with help of one of my staff. I force myself to get up and have a plan of action every day. I find it difficult to lift my leg to get into the shower and great pain drying myself but the pain is not killing me so I don’t care. I am so used to it. I am the happiest 75 year old lady in the entire world.
    Eat correctly…Do the stretching of all parts of your body every day as much as you can take and can cope with but move your body all over every day…. If it is only Fibro it is not going to kill you. People are sick of hearing about our pain. they cannot help you. Nothing will help except maybe which I am trying now is the latest and actually it has taken the bite off the pain…Potato water. Google it.

    So that is what I prescribe as a woman who had to find her own way and run a very successful restaurant on her own with ten staff.
    I am fully in charge and run my business from my bedroom office with 14 cameras all over the restaurant to view daily operations.
    I have learnt to ignore the pain as it will always be there. No amount of prayer is going to take it away.
    You have to control it and start living and do things that bring peace to your life.
    This is the first time I have ever put these words down for any person to read.
    I hope it can bring some happiness to your life as well.
    Remember there are millions worse off than us. we are the lucky ones.
    Take care and love yourself.


    1. Thanks so much, Rosemary for such a lovely account of your own journey! I’m certain it will benefit many here in the Rebuilding Wellness community!

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"True Healing requires a combination of healthy nutrition, healthy body movements, and emotional wellness. This is what I call the Restoration Trio" ~ Sue Ingebretson