The million dollar question of the day. How do you learn to accept that you will be chronically ill for the rest of your life? Boy, that is a good question and I wonder if anyone really has the answer to it. It is a constant struggle. Let me explain.
When you think of getting ill, and I am talking of a majority of the population the somewhat healthy people of the world. Here is how it goes. You get a cold or the flu, you complain about it because you are laid up for a week to ten days. If you do not get better you call your doctor or go to Urgent Care because you may need a dose of antibiotics to scare those little bacteria out of your blood stream. Lucky for you it is more of a nuisance than anything else. What happens when you get sick, you go to doctor after doctor, for months after months, and either finally reach a diagnosis or sometimes no diagnosis. You hear time and time again, it may be this or it may be that we are not real sure, but we do know something is wrong but there are just so many things it could be. Or when you do get a definate diagnosis you hear, "Lets start you on these meds and have you come back in three months and we will see how things are going." How do you deal with that? A diagnosis or not, a prescription or not, and a kick out the door. Now you are left in a sea of unanswered questions. Your head is swimming in a million directions, you still feel awful physially, and you are alone. Oh there are loved ones there, you are surrounded by them, but I am talking you are alone in your own battle of trying to make sense of what you have just been through. It is hard work physically because you do not feel well, but the emotional work is even harder and almost unbearable to deal with. The trying to understand and accept that life as you know it has changed, while all you want is to have your old life back. Free of all of this.
I have had over twenty years of this with the past five being the most brutal. I don't know how in the past year I have finally come to my acceptance, it sure hasn't been easy. I did a lot of soul searching, a lot of crying, a lot of questioning, a lot of reading, a lot of support groups, a lot of screaming "this isn't fair," a lot of I don't want this, and on and on and on. Yes this has been a long, emotional journey, to get here, and to be truthful even though I say I accept this as my life, I still do not want it to be my life. I am finally able to say at least I have some kind of a peace. I have tried for the past five years to get back to the way life use to be but every time I try to I end up getting very ill so I have just learned to question everything I do. Is it worth what will happen tomorrow? Many time the answer is no, so I just find something else I enjoy doing instead. Your life becomes a give and take Illness has become my life. I don't like it, I don't want it, but it is what it is, I can't change that so therefore I must accept it. The emotional journey to here has taken its toll. I have lost friends, I have made new friends, and I have cut some people out of my life but I can say my life has become much richer and better because of illness. I have learned to enjoy new things in my life. I love to paint now where before I would have thought I don't have time for that. I have learned that I make a very good friend to myself. In fact I carry on conversations with myself out loud all the time, the best part is I am always right! We all, meaning anyone dealing with chronic illness, must find what works for us and not worry about what the world thinks. Find the new you! It takes a long time to get there and it is not easy, but when you get there it is almost freeing and worth the journey. Of course if you are in the beginning stages of your journey I can imagine you want to punch me in the face right now. I know I wanted to punch a lot of people when I first got sick. I wanted to yell at them and tell them they just didn't understand. They didn't and now I get that, finally. All they wanted was for me to be better, that's all. They never meant any harm with their comments. It is like the world when you think about it. When someone gets sick we are all fixers. We all just want everyone to be happy or better and when that doesn't happen fast we don't like it. That is when you find out who really does care and love you through the long haul! Simple and it makes sense.
Accepting or just learning to live with illness means many thing to each and every person. What works for me, might not work for you or what one person does in their journey may not work in your journey. So you see, it is up to you, and only you, to figure out the "new" you! It can be very lonely, scary, and sad for you, but it has to be done! Take all the time you need to get to that place. It is hard but try to enjoy the journey. Even though it is a journey you do not really want to take, it is one that has been forced upon you and you must take. You can't run from it, even as much as you want to, you just can't because your body will be right there to remind you that it is in control. It is so much easier not to argue with your body and to use your mind because you know what? You are not going to win sometimes. Plain and simple.Try, as hard as it may be, to keep positive. It isn't easy, I know. Yesterday I had a terrible day, I was sad, I hurt, I just didn't care. But then I kept telling myself it will get better and by last night it did. It always does!
When things seem bad and you think you just can't do this, tell yourself, yes I can! YES I CAN! YES I CAN! Over time you will learn to control your illness and not allow your illness to control you. It does not happen over night so allow yourself the time you need to go through your journey. After all it is your journey and no one else's! You can do it, what other choice do you have? Then one day, maybe a long way off, but one day, you will realize your journey has happened for a reason and that reason is to help others get through their roughest, darkest times the same way you did it, ONE DAY AT A TIME, ONE MINUTE AT A TIME, ONE SECOND AT A TIME! If all else fails, message me!!
May God Bless you as you accept whatever you must face!