As someone who suffers from a chronic illness, one of the hardest things to fathom was the fact that my body was working against me. That bit of information caused a lot of emotional overload as I faced my new truth. While taking care of our physical bodies becomes a priority, we can’t forget about our emotional state because that can affect our ability to adjust or even hinder our progress. I have learned a few things to help me along my journey; I hope they will help you as well.
- Accept A New Normal
Wishing your body would return to how it used to be is hard to let go of because we all desire to be pain free and healthy. If you’ve been diagnosed with a chronic illness, chances are even if you get close to how you used to be, there will still be enough of a difference to make you realize you are living a new normal. Learn your new normal, both the good and bad surrounding it. Enjoy the good times as often as you can and endure the bad times by focusing on a brighter tomorrow with hope and expectation that it will come to pass.
- No need to apologize
One of the hardest places of adjustment is how people respond to the illness you now face. Some may treat you as if you’re now flawed and you’ll find yourself having to defend or justify how you feel and cope because from their perspective, they can’t understand how quickly a good day can turn bad as symptoms arise and subside. Don’t feel the need to apologize; instead, use it as an opportunity to help others understand the difficulties and adjustments associated with your daily life.
- Inspire someone else with your story
Although you may not feel like your story can help someone else, trust me it will. There are so many people suffering in silence and once I understood that, I no longer was embarrassed or ashamed of what I was facing. In fact my Initiative, Words That Surround Your Soul was birthed from wanting to help others like myself understand that they are not alone and someone else can relate to the ups and downs of dealing with a chronic illness. Let your story shine and illuminate the way for someone else to find peace.
Your days may be unpredictable as you face the uncertainties of living with a chronic illness, but embracing the new normal of your life will help to decrease the frustration and allow you to make it through the tumultuous ride that often occurs. Your emotions may be all over the place from anger to disappoint and of course depression will rear its ugly head. Sometimes all you can do is ride out the storm but try to find what gives you rest: music, dancing, meditation, prayer, time with friends, alone time. Get to know the new you.
My hope for you is that you learn to love yourself, and enjoy your life right in the midst of your pain. Keep moving and stay in the fight. Don’t you dare give up!