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The Naked Self

When I first became housebound with ME/CFS, like many of you, I slowly lost the ability to do the things I loved. It was heartbreaking. It also in short time created some inner confusion because these were things that had always been part of my identity. I started to feel like I didn’t know who I was anymore.

I think most healthy people (people healthy enough to be out functioning in the world) create identities based in large part on the things they do and how they do them. Things like clothes, jobs, hobbies, skill sets, accomplishments, etc. Without my creative outlets I didn’t feel like myself anymore. It was a time of great mourning and sense loss that we all go through.

Before getting sick I never realized how much of ourselves we define by the things we do and that when stripped of them how naked I would feel.

I remember searching through myself and feeling my raw naked self maybe for the first time. Just me, stripped of all the dress up most people are constantly playing. It was scary but also felt profound.

This naked self is something we all have to learn to accept and live with. It is difficult but it is an incredible opportunity to learn self awareness and inner confidence. Healthy people never experience anything close to this, they are constantly living through all of life’s distractions. We are forced to live with our naked selves and confront the demons that live there - the shame, insecurity and self hatred that we all feel for ourselves. This is a unique chance to heal these wounds. Which is ultimately such a blessing even if we can’t go out into the world and make use of it and be the person this teaches us to be.

We are warriors capable of confronting the world naked and alone. Once we can exist in this way we can put our whole being into the things that we do because these demons aren’t holding us back, forcing us to hide parts of ourselves anymore. This gives us immeasurable depth, power and strength in whatever we do.

And this is another reason why ME/CFS patients have so much to offer the world and when a cure comes whenever it does, there will be an influx of wisdom into the world like no other.


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