Have you ever tried something and had people look at you like you were nuts? Have you ever looked at what someone else was doing, wearing, or saying and think “why on earth…?” We’ve all done it. We’ve all judged other people’s’ decisions and the way other people live their lives. Honestly, I do it way more than I should. However, recently I’ve been thinking a lot about judgement. Why do we do the things we do? Why do we judge others for doing what they do? I think the best way to understand other people is through understanding yourself. So I’m using this post to do a little self-reflection. I hope it inspires you to do the same.
Recently, I’ve decided to try a new approach to my health. As I’ve mentioned before, living with Interstitial Cystitis has been completely life changing, affecting not only my physical health, but my mental health as well. And let me tell you, a chronic illness such as this can suck the life right out of you. Being the control freak that I am, it’s beyond frustrating not to be able to control my own body. Instead of taking control of my life, my bladder often dictates what I can and cannot do. It dictates nearly every choice I make, which often leads to judgement from outside parties. However, I have found a way to try to take some of the control back through my diet.
Those of you with IC, or who know someone with IC, know just how limiting the diet can be. No caffeine, alcohol, soy, citrus, artificial ingredients, etc. When you first get diagnosed, they tell you to basically take anything good out of your diet. It isn’t until then that you realize just how important food can be in your life (beyond allowing you to live, of course). For me, it was soul crushing. I was diagnosed in the middle of college, a week before my 21st birthday. I was basically living on coffee, Chinese takeout, and wine. So I was stubborn. I continued with my poor judgement and consumed those foods that were only making my life worse. But damn, they were just SO good.
However, one day I realized that these foods weren’t SO good they were worth being miserable. I had reached the point where I was ready to make the decision to cut these things out of my life. I was ready to take control and feel better again. So, slowly but surely, I stopped drinking coffee (even decaf lattes, my weakness), I minimized the frequency with which I ordered from the Chinese restaurant (this has honestly been the hardest thing for me), and quit drinking almost completely (occasional sip of wine for a toast or because it smells good, but quitting drinking has been the easiest part of this for me). I hate the idea of restriction. I don’t want food, my bladder, or anything but me controlling my life. However, sometimes it just gets to a point where you have to prioritize feeling good over other things that previously seemed important in your life. You are worth prioritizing your health and wellbeing. Please remember that.
I tried a bunch of different meds, sticking to a relatively strict diet (I did an elimination diet and slowly reintroduced certain foods back in to see how my body handled them. Thank goodness I am okay with chocolate!). I even focused on exercising more. After making these changes I noticed that, while my symptoms had gotten better for a time, they quickly came back. As I started grad school and the stress of everything increased rapidly, I noticed my symptoms started to get worse. Like, peeing every 10 mins or not being able to really get out of bed for two days, kind of worse.
It got to a point where simply going to class put me in bed for the rest of the day. My bed is where I’d do my homework, eat dinner, and basically live my life. As my energy levels plummeted, so did the quality of the food I was eating. I started ordering in more, skipping meals and opting for unhealthy snacks, and I stopped exercising. All I could do was school work and lay in bed. I barely had any energy to live a (somewhat) normal life. And the self-judgement began. While this kind of fatigue is NOT NORMAL, it was like my body was screaming at me to take care of it.
However, it seemed that the only way to take care of my body in its state at the time was to step away from the “important” things that had caused me to abuse it in the first place. Doing so made me feel like a failure, like I was giving up, like I was weak. It also made me afraid that others would judge me that way as well. However, I really couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t continue on the same self-destructive path that I was on, regardless of the judgement that would come from those around me, or even from myself. Something had to change.
So here I am, about three months later, getting ready to start my school work again after being on medical leave. In about 2 hours, I’ll be getting my first dose of yet another treatment my doctors have recommended to help ease my IC symptoms. Notice, I did not say cure as there is not cure for this condition. There are no cures for many conditions out there, but they can be improved through medical intervention and lifestyle changes. It is for this reason I have started changing my diet again. Nothing crazy, nothing drastic.
I have simply decided to eat what makes me feel good, both physically and emotionally. I have decided to try new things, like adding adaptogens and superfoods into my diet to help with stress, brain function, inflammation, and other things. Some people may see my recent posts on Instagram (allllll the mushroom elixirs, take a look here) and think “Why is she all of a sudden trying all this new age hippie stuff?” All I can say to those who are passing judgement on my choice to try these methods is, why? Why be skeptical of someone’s choices when all they are trying to do is better themselves? Why judge someone for trying something new that has the potential to improve their life?
I have started making these changes because I’ve asked myself, “Why not? What could it hurt? WHAT IF IT WORKS?” I’ve changed the way I pass judgement on my own choices, focusing on the good they can bring as opposed to criticizing myself. As a result, I have noticed a downtrend in my judgement of other people’s choices. My mind now less often goes immediately to skepticism, and instead goes straight to support for the for people making choices to make their lives better.
I am still way more judgemental than I would like to be. I question people decisions, what they share on social media, and their motives behind living their lives the way they choose. However, through my wellness journey so far, I have found myself making choices I would have laughed at people for making even just a year ago. I am actively working to change the way I pass judgement on those around me when they share choices they’ve in their lives. Not everyone is open about their goals, their struggles, or even their restrictions. Not everyone wants to be. So, I challenge you today to think about why you are living your life the way you are. Why do you choose to eat a certain way, to buy certain products, to follow certain influencers on social media? Why do you choose to exercise, to rest, to meditate, to draw? How do you pass judgement on who make choices that are different than yours?
Bonus: Walnut Milk Memory Latte Recipe
- 20 oz Walnut Milk (find recipe here)
- 1 tsp Om Mushrooms Lion’s Mane
- 1 scoop Neocell Collagen (optional)
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp local honey
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp allspice
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Bring walnut milk to slight boil over medium heat on the stove.
- Add walnut milk and all other ingredients to blender. Make sure when blending anything hot to allow for steam ventilation.
- Blend for at least 40 seconds.
- Serve and enjoy immediately. If allowed to sit too long, the drink will need to be stirred.