Chronic illness is a living hell. Of course it is bound to pull you down, affect your mood and cause you to have to make big life changes.
We, like anyone would often focus more on the negatives of our illness; missing out on life, not being able to travel, missing your favourite foods. To name a few. But we need to learn how to see the positives through all the negatives and point our focus to the positive vibes to help our inner happiness.
Here are a few experiences I have gone through that you may be able to relate to.
Moving back home: when I first began becoming more poorly around 2 and a half years ago now I didn't fully understand my symptoms or how to cope with them. So I moved back to the main family home.
This was hard for me. With my swimming background I am used to being responsible for myself and independent. At the time I purely saw it as a negative. A step backwards.
If I was to know what I know now and could talk to myself back then. I would tell her the positives to numb the big negative I felt.
The positives were; I had my support system right there, people to help me cope, people to talk to, never facing symptoms alone, help with chores etc.
And that is how I hope you look at the situation if your condition means you must go back to the family home.
Needing a wheelchair; this was a hard one to come to terms with. From a swimmer, swimming 24 hours a week reduced to a wheelchair when doing bigger trips.
At first it was a big no, no! My pride and stubborn heart not allowing this aid to become a part of my travels.
I had to dig deep! I had to put in to perspective and prioritise what meant more to me. The experience or my pride. The experience won hands down. So the chair it was.
Now I have trained myself to see this situtation in that light and with my family & friends support making jokes about the chair and wanting days out pushing me around has helped me accept the situtation.
Thank you my loves.
If you have a good support system you will too be able to get over your own pride and realise what is more important to you.
The amount you have learnt; you can't go to uni, do an apprenticeship or have a nine to five job but boy have you learnt so many life lessons that you will treasure for life.
You may not be a high flying Oxford graduate.
But you have learnt how to deal with a tremendous amount of pain, you have research your health problems and work on healing yourself everyday, you learn what is and isn't important, you gain common sense, you learn massive life lessons ( taking care of yourself, cooking, cleaning etc).
A brain won't teach you how to deal with pain. You can't teach someone that. You learn from experience.
And you have talents and brains in other ways that are just as important to that Oxford degree.
You have gained talents; you have hobbies in areas you never believed you would come across. These talents helping you in your healing process.
Whether it's cooking and you cooking your own food or for the family.
Mindful colouring and colouring bright pictures to prove there is colour in life.
Sewing and knitting scarves for loved ones.
Writing poetry to get your feelings down you can't in any other way.
All these are fab. And you shouldn't see them as silly or nothing they make people happy and they soothe your soul! They make you and are a part of your journey.
Appreciate them, don't put them down.
Whether for Lymie's you become intolerant to the materials or chemicals in your home. Or you just can't handle the set up in which you currently live.
We may fight the symptoms we are feeling. Living in denial, telling ourselves they will pass, you don't need this change, you will be better soon.
No, we have to be realistic. This is what new path and chapter fate is putting us on. We are struggling and where we are currently may be affecting our health. There will be signs and signals that your new path awaits and what to do.
At first it may cause hurt and upset we have to have faith and hope in fate and try to keep on the path. Always keeping better health or making our lives easier with less pain the main goal. Over what we believe is right for us.
Fate knows best.
With brain fog - big decisions can be overwhelming and too much. You are not alone, seek advice and the views from your loved ones. That's what they are there for, to help! Use them. And don't feel guilty.
Sometimes we have to recognise the denial which many of us live in a state of in my areas of life when our health begins to deteriorate. We hold on, hold on to things, objects, traits and friendships from our lives when we were in a better place and our health was better.
See it as a new exciting beginning not a failure and 'giving up' something we adore. Embrace the new memories that will be made ( try to make plans with loved ones to begin creating memories there ) and be thankful for the memories made in your past residence and cherish them greatly.
More intense treatments; having to accept that alternative treatments may be your only option. Simple antibiotics may not target the problem effectively.
We are all different and unique and require a different treatment plan. Someone may improve after two years of treatment, someone else may take ten years. We don't know what will and won't work. We have to be open to new treatment ideas and be open to taking the risks.
We may have to travel further afield or abroad. But with research and support from loved ones you will work out a treatment path that works for you.
I am not out living and partying; I always worry that I am not living like a 23 year old. I am not out partying, drinking, going to festivals, going to concerts, and travelling.
A simple coffee, pub quiz or a few drinks is about as exciting as my form of 'partying' gets.
We have to look around us though. Yes we are not out partying but we don't wake up with hang overs, we wake up everyday and create a purpose for ourselves. We are surrounded by loved ones and still have a good laugh doing the activities we do get to do. We still create memories and in more ways these memories become more important as they show the true loyalty, friendship, love and kindness of your support system. That's worth so much more than some pictures with a random person you won't remember or see again.
What is life?
The big question. Before chronic illness strikes you, we take so much for granted:
- the food on our plate
- the family and friends we have
- the home we live in
- the events we go to
To name a few that when you become sadly more poorly it kicks everything into touch. You are grateful and appreciate everything. You learn how to show and look into gratitude for all you experience.
This is something a classroom can not teach you.
Gain strength from this new trait you have adapted into your life.
My treatment is making me feel worse; we have to believe in the quote 'it gets worse before it gets better.'
We must ride out the extra pain and symptoms and not give up. Our body needs time to heal. We all know being chronically ill that we can't just have an over night cure. Our healing takes months and years to show.
We have to accept the flare ups as signs and signals. Whether it's 'hey, I am not well and struggling- please help.' Or it may be the body's immune system waking up and fighting back.
Learn to monitor these flare ups and see them as a good step forward in the fact your body is still fighting or see it as, right! I need a new treatment plan. Don't simply cry and suffer in silence, alone!!
Understanding your body;
Wow you have to know your body inside out. You must learn all the warning signs and signals. You have to learn now to treat and cope with your symptoms. Not just how to get over a hang over or a common cold but chronic, daily pain.
Yes - you don't always want to be thinking about pain and the symptoms. You try to ignore them and this can cause further damage.
We have to see the extra symptoms as signs and the body talking to us. Telling us to rest, showing us it is struggling etc.
This is often extremely hard to come to terms with. We are so good at ignoring our pain as something we silly or crying because we aren't coping.
We are coping, we still have our feet on the ground but look at the positives and see the pain as a sign not a weakness.
So there are a few of my main 'negative vibes' that try to get me down and yes of course I admit they do get me down but I am trying so hard to convert them to positives and embrace life, my treatment and my pain.
I was given this challenge for a reason. Sulking, crying or throwing blame around won't make the pain go away nor the condition I am in to be fixed. More than likely it will make things worse! Yes we can have days when we cry but we always need to keep ourselves fighting and motivated.
I am not living the life I dreamed for myself at this time. It's not ideal and a lot of the time it does feel like you are going through hell but it makes you appreciate everything and enjoy everything you can, always showing gratitude.
Always, always, always try to see the positives. This way of thinking will make you far happier as a person and you will gain so much more inner strength that will help you all round!
I hope you enjoyed this blog. Please share you thoughts and comments.
Love and peace