What My Chronic Illness Taught Me

Manya Ronay
5 min readDec 21, 2020
Photo by Elia Pellegrini on Unsplash

“When you have your health, you have everything,” writes American author Augusten Burroughs. His words ring true today as I reflect on our current global health crisis and my personal healing journey.

For the first 18 years of my life, I took my health for granted.

I ate whatever I wanted.

I hardly exercised or spent time in nature.

I worked myself to the ground.

I made little time for self-care.

I didn’t think I needed to change my lifestyle because I felt fine…until I didn’t. One month into college, I was diagnosed with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), an autonomic nervous system disorder that turned my life upside down with debilitating symptoms ranging from pre-fainting spells to extreme dizziness, fatigue, gastrointestinal problems and more. I couldn’t take my body for granted any longer and — after all of the conventional treatments failed — I decided to transform my lifestyle.

I ditched ultra-processed food for real, whole foods. I started exercising and spending time outdoors. I practiced active relaxation like meditation, journaling and yoga. I worked on my mental, emotional and spiritual health — which improved my physical health as well because they are all connected. Five years later, I feel 95 percent better thanks to lifestyle change on top of other healing modalities like acupuncture and neurorehabilitation. My healing journey has radically changed my life and helped me develop my own philosophy on health, which I present to you here:

1. There is no finish line. Every time I learned about a new healing modality, I was convinced that THIS WAS IT. “This [insert diet, medication, practitioner, program, etc.] will make me 100 percent healthy. I will be able to return to normal life and not have to worry about health any longer.” Wrong. Health is something we must constantly work on. There is no finish line. As the saying goes: “If you do not make time for your wellness, you will be forced to make time for your illness.” Until recently, I was not mentally prepared to accept the fact that health is a lifelong-journey. But once I did, I was liberated from the disappointment of the illusive finish line I never seemed able to reach.



Manya Ronay

Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES®) and Internal Family Systems (IFS) practitioner specializing in food and health.