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  • Writer's pictureDr. Martin Hart

Mold, Losing Your Home, and the Art of Surrender

Loss. Starting over. Hitting rock bottom. These are all part of chronic illness, Lyme Disease, and Mold Illness. These states often leave us feeling victimized. As if life has beaten us up and all we can do is lay down and take it. Resign ourselves to whatever this illness throws at us and be silently resentful about it.

Maybe not so silently, maybe you are seething with anger about it. Maybe everyone around you knows you are pissed off and depressed about the problems chronic illness has caused in your life. You're angry about the how much you have lost and stand to lose still with this illness.

It gets even harder when mold has infiltrated your house and your belongings. It has taken over your home, the place that was supposed to be safe, and made it a death trap. I have talked to countless patients about their home and mold only to be met with resistance, even in the face of a test showing toxic levels of mold. This illness can not take one more thing from me, not my home.

grief, mold illness, chronic illness

The reality is what you are going through is grief. When I have to tell a patient or client that their home is no longer safe for them, they and their families will often go through all five stages of grieving. Sometimes a patient and their spouse are at different stages of the grieving process, but either way, it's important to recognize it for what it is and begin working our way towards acceptance.

1) Denial

It still amazes me sometimes, that when a patient is presented with all the facts: a postive home-mold test, high mold toxins in their urine, a timeline of events that corresponds with mold in the home, and symptoms that match perfectly, they will flat DENY that the mold in their home is a problem.

Occasionally, they will refuse to have their house tested. But I get it, it's a scary idea that your home could be making you sick. It creates a lot of anxiety around finances, relationships, moving, remediation, etc. As a clinician, a healer, it's paramount that I stay present and patient, continuing to fight for what's best for their healing journey.

2) Anger

Now that you realize that you may need to move out of your house, you are mad. You're mad at the mold, at the illness, at the people who sold you your home, at the inspector, sometimes you're even mad at me for finding the mold! It's okay to be angry. Anger is a high energy state that can help you get things done. Just don't let it consume you. More importantly, realize that underneath the anger is sadness or fear, could be both. We have to gently confront those feelings, sit with them. We need to redirect that energy and emotion into taking action steps. Which often leads to the next stage.

3) Bargaining

What if I get an air filter? How about sleeping in the other room? This one remediation company says we can just air it out, can't we just do that? Well how come it doesn't affect the rest of the family the same way? But the house is brand new?

Look, I get it. This is a lot to think about, their are a lot of moving parts to dealing with mold in your home. But your health is important, isn't it? (The answer is YES). So it's important that we take it one step at a time. Honoring the emotions as they come up and dealing with the practical aspects with one of my favorite mantras:

When faced with an obstacle, we don't cower, we don't run away, or give up. We adapt. We overcome. We improvise. You have two affirmations, two mantras as you work through this stage and develop a plan. One step at a time. and Adapt, overcome, improvise.

4) Depression

You're exhausted from the emotions of having to move out of your house while you clean up the mold or sell it. Maybe your spouse is not supportive of this route. It's okay to get down and depressed about it as long as you don't stay there. Continue to respect emotions you are having, feel the sadness, the grief, the exhaustion. It can be therapeutic to write it out, what does this depression have to say to you, to the world? But keep your eye on healing, keep it at the forefront of your mind. Do not lose sight of the goal, the greater purpose. It's easy to confuse depression, resignation, and exhaustion for surrender but they are not the same. Not be a long shot.

5) Acceptance

Radical acceptance is when we stop arguing with reality, we quit fighting against it. Instead we begin to embrace it so that we can move past it. Acceptance and surrender are not giving up, they are giving yourself fully to the moment in front of you. This is where we can begin to heal, to crack our shells, and awaken to life again. When we accept life for what it is and then begin to embrace it and work with it that we can change it.

In this space of acceptance, you may end up selling your home, getting rid of most of your belongings, and moving somewhere totally new. And those things will come with their difficulties. But in doing so, you will learn the Art of Surrender. You will learn to let go and radically accept what life has in store for you and then move past it.

It is at this point that you can really integrate the lessons this journey has to offer. This is when you really begin to value connection and people over your security and belongings. It's not easy but it's worth it. I'm so sorry if you have had to lose your home due to mold, but healing is available. Greater things are to come. Keep taking it one step at a time, moment by moment.

If you are dealing with mold related illness and trying to sort it all out, reach out Here. We are honored to be on your healing team.

*Not intended to treat, diagnose, or cure medical illness. Informational purposes only.

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