Desirous StoryTM was created by Alyson Stanton, an occupational therapist and life coach. After experiencing symptoms of multiple chronic illnesses as a kid, she became an occupational therapist to serve others living in pain. As a new OT, Alyson was working with clients on a physical level to address chronic pain, joint protection strategies, ergonomics, and more. She began to notice that many of her clients were really struggling on a deeper level – like she was – to love themselves. Her own experience of self-doubt and self-esteem and self-confidence issues led her to pursue life coaching and personal development. This endeavor quickly turned into a passion and career, and Desirous StoryTM was born as a life coaching program for women with chronic illnesses!
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Alyson's chronic illness story
For the most part, I had a wistful childhood. I had (and still do have) a loving family, a wonderfully supportive community of friends, a stable foundation in our beautiful home, comfort and care, all of my needs met, and most of my desires actualized. It was a dream.
My symptoms started slowly, just after my 8th birthday. First came the pain in some of my joints, then the frequent, partial joint dislocations.
My parents did whatever they could think of to get some answers. I had multiple xrays, MRIs, and other procedures. I went from doctor to doctor and specialist to specialist. No one could tell us what was wrong, just that they thought I would “probably outgrow it” or that I “might have arthritis” before I was 25.
It was frustrating and disheartening, but for the most part, I continued living out my childhood normally. I continued to participate in soccer and swimming, and then eventually cross-country and track. I continued to play and pretend, making up games with my friends for hours on end. I continued to excel in school, devouring every book I could get my hands on. But despite the outward appearance of normalcy, there was an erosion happening on the inside.
I never truly felt healthy. With each passing year, a new symptom would arise or an old one would change its patterns or get worse. I would go to new doctors and specialists and receive the same non-answers and run arounds. I began to believe that some of this was just in my head.
When I went off to college, things began to spiral downward even more. My habits changed, as they normally do for college freshmen. With the reduction in exercise, the convenience of dining halls, and the added stress of school, my health worsened. It was a juxtaposition of emotions as I studied health (in the form of nutrition and exercise) while feeling totally off balance.
I often talk to my clients now about the holistic effects of chronic illnesses. When we experience change, pain, and imbalance in one area, we eventually experience it in all life areas. My physical health was sub-par, yes, but what was far worse was my emotional, mental, and spiritual health. I felt out of alignment on a deep soul level – like the physical problems manifesting in my body were simply a symptom of a more fundamental problem.
I searched for answers outside of myself for years, believing that someone else would know more than I would about how to “fix” me. And I hid my pain, fatigue, GI distress, dizziness, brain fog, and anxiety from pretty much everyone around me. Even now, I’ll share this story with people whom I know very well and be met with looks of confusion, sympathy, and even pity. “I never knew you weren’t feeling good,” they’ll say. “I wanted it that way,” I’ll reply.
On some level, I wasn’t vocal about my chronic illnesses because I didn’t feel like they were “bad enough” for me to complain. I could still function relatively normally, after all. I would think about someone I knew who had just been diagnosed with cancer or about the proverbial starving child in Africa, and I would think about how good I had it. This way of thinking – this either or mentality where we compare our situations to other people’s shittier situations as an attempt to make us feel better or gain perspective – is largely unhealthy. Pain, whether it is physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual, is highly subjective and relative.
In the words of Brene Brown, “you either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.” For me, the past three years have been a journey of walking inside my story. I’m not going to lie – this has been so, so hard. There are parts of my story that I don’t desire to share; in fact, there are pieces I haven’t even explored myself. But I know there’s beauty, magic, and healing to be found in this path, so I’m devoted to it. I liken this process to walking a labyrinth. Entering the path only to know that you are going to spiral back around to the same point over and over again before reaching the core.
- I have gotten really comfortable with the uncomfortable
- I have done a LOT of self-reflection
- I have asked myself some hard questions and found some answers I didn’t really like
- I have began healing holistically, in mind, body, soul, spirit, relationships, purpose, and so much more
- I have fallen in love with myself for the first time
My life is a beacon of light…
Because I have been willing to explore the darkness.
Loss, tragedy, chronic pain, death, abuse, self-doubt, anger.
I am a natural leader. I love bringing people together and planning events. I feel most aligned and alive when I’m speaking to a group of inspired people. Getting my hands dirty in the garden is my Soul’s Song. I express my creativity in words and in the kitchen. Green tea or champagne are my drinks of choice. I could spend all day reading good books. Sunshine and nature renew my Spirit. My husband, Ken, knows me even better than I know myself sometimes, and we are a team in life and in business.
Desirous Story (TM) is a program run by Narasi Coaching, trade name operating under Team B Solutions, LLC.