I grew up in a very violent and dysfunctional home. I endured many abuses that haunt me to this day! I believed, that when I left home at 15 years old, I was leaving behind the agony, pain and confusion of my family. But there was still so much suffering within me that I had not recognized and reconciled.

The affects of my abuse began to surface when I was diagnosed with SLE at sixteen. My first thoughts when I was diagnosed with Lupus were, "See, I am nothing, I am nobody, I was never meant to be alive!" The average person, may have flirted with discouraging thoughts such as mine, especially during more painful and frustrating moments. But a person with a healthy identify will use that pain and frustration as a catalyst to finding ways to reduce their suffering and educate themselves. But, in my case, and in the case of many survivors of childhood abuse, instead of using those feelings to activate change and growth, they are used as evidence or proof that in fact, we are in some way defected. We become immobilized in hopelessness and neglected our health care needs; often as an unconscious way of punishing ourselves for not being perfect.

Living with a chronic illness is challenging enough. The experience of being ill challenges us on emotional, physical and sometimes, spiritual level. We quickly learn that it our responsibility to care for each level of our being that is affected by the illness. But in the case of a chronically ill person who has experienced abuse as a child, they may be disconnected from their emotional, physical and/or spiritual self, so their challenge consists of not only stepping up to the responsibilities of self-care, but with also healing the pain of the past abuse they suffered.

Healing the affects of abuse and maintaining an acceptable level of self care may appear to be a daunting task, but it is our responsibility. Believe me, when I first made the connection that my self care suffered because of the wounds of my past, I did not go running for help. I ducked my head in the sand and said, "woes is me..." It took time and unfortunately, more suffering, for me to seek out the appropriate help that I needed to move forward. Here are a few things that you can do to get the process of healing going for you.

• First and foremost, realize that you are worth it! You may not believe this each and everyday, or with consistency in any given moment, but you are. And when you find yourself in a place of total disbelief- fake it, until you make it!

•Seek a professional counselor that deals specifically with Adult Children Of Abuse. These counselors are trained in healing childhood abuse and understand how that unhealed abuse affects our adult life, relationships and health.

•Join a supportive community or support group. We often suffer in silence, believing that we are the only ones who have lived the horrors of abuse. Joining a support group ends the isolation, and gives us a voice and a listening ear to flourish in spite of what we have endured. The support group that I am affiliated with has accelerated my personal growth and self care tenfold. I highly recommend this route.

•Keep a personal journal. Use that journal to help identify your feelings as they relate to your health and the challenges you face when it comes to self care.

I speak from personal experience and from the place of great achievement in this area. Taking the time to address the many nuances of being human can only strengthen you in ways that you can not possibly imagine! Many Blessings!

Author's Bio: 

Keesha M. Mayes, a Professional Wellness Coach and owner of CSOLUTIONS Wellness Coaching. She specialized in the area of chronic illness and health challenges and is a seasoned facilitator and advocate for women's health and empowerment. Keesha has been the recipient of many awards recognizing her unique approach in working with people with life challenges. Keesha has lived with Systemic Lupus for 16 years, lived successfully with her illness and has the training and the experience to help others do this, too.