Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness

Climbing the Treehouse

Did you have a treehouse growing up?  I didn’t because the trees we planted when we first moved in were nothing but elongated pencils.  Also I was never very handy so I probably wouldn’t have been able to build one that would have supported my weight.  It would have been an emergency room visit waiting to happen.

I always loved the movies or tv shows that had kids climbing those rickety steps to get to the top of their treehouse.  It always seemed like a place of safety and tranquility.  That’s why a line from the book I’m reading, “Cutting for Stone” by Abraham Verghese, caught me by surprise.  Two of the main characters in the book are twins.  One says about the other (paraphrasing), “I was always in awe when Shiva (his brother) could climb into the treehouse in his head.” 

That’s quite a visual, don’t you think?  Do you have a treehouse in your head?  You know, the place you can retreat to when things get hectic or crazy.  That place in your heart or soul, in addition to your mind that gives you solace when it’s needed.  It provides a haven so you can recollect your composure and re-enter the world with fresh eyes.

There’s a childish charm that goes along with treehouses.  They are usually primitive in design and yet intricate in their purpose.  They are up and away from others so there is privacy and yet if people actually looked up you might be in full view.  They are places, that for many hold fond memories, and remind us of the days when we thought having to do homework was our biggest worry in the world.

 A lot changes over time as you know, especially after the diagnosis of a chronic or other life-altering illness.  Creating or re-creating that treehouse in your head may be just the respite you need as you travel on your journey to health and healing.  They certainly are places of fantasy and no matter your current fantasy, having a place of refuge is magical!


I've lived my life in service to others. I'm focused on mental health and how it impacts our relationships, culture, and society. Through creative expression and narrative I believe we can impact change.

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