Having a chronic illness or long term health condition can create a lot of inner battles. There is a seemly endless fight between what you should be doing and what you can do. Sometimes it can feel like life is passing you by while you're missing out on major life events. It feels like you're caught between trying to be realistic without being depressing all while still grasping onto your dreams, wondering if they're still possible with your limitations. The mind of someone with any chronic health concern is a complicated place.
I sit here trying to think of good advice to give someone who is struggling with an illness and wonder how can I give advice when I still struggle with many of the things I just mentioned? Staying in a mindset of positivity isn't easy when you're suffering. It takes work everyday, and there will be set backs. I like to write down 5 good things from everyday. It's a simple way to make hard days feel a bit easier.
The quote below is one of my favourites. You never know what storms may or may not lie ahead, but often you come out the other side a better more compassionate and appreciative person.
1. Take It Day By Day
Those negative feelings of fear about your future capabilities are only holding you back from seeing the positive of today. Do your best everyday and be proud of those victories, whether they're big or small.
2. Let Go of The Obsession With Control
When you have any chronic illness it often brings a sense of uncertainty and loss of control. Being fixated on control won't change the outcome. When you're health is failing it's easy to hold tightly onto trying to control over aspect of your life. That obsession with trying to control every aspect of your life only holds you back. It's freeing to let go and accept.
3. Don't Make Assumptions
As my health worsened I starting to make assumptions about my future. I thought that I could never work, no one would ever want to marry me and I'd spend the rest of my life with 20 cats alone. If I could go back I would say assuming the worst case scenario doesn't do anything but lead you towards a self fulfilling prophecy. When you believe something to be true, the small choices you make everyday lead you there. If you are going to make assumptions believe in a better healthier life for yourself and take the steps to get there.
4. Don't Worry So Much About Others
If you have a chronic health condition, chances are you’ve dealt with people who refuse to believe that you suffer from your illness or down play its effects. When you cancel or pull back on your busy schedule, do so with the utmost love for yourself and with self-care. Lose the guilt and especially lose the worry of what others will think. Do not let other people’s opinions of how you should feel about your illness sway you from the personal path of healing following a diagnosis.
5. Accept The Now
Stop fighting every single aspect of your illness and accept it. Accepting your illness doesn't mean not taking the steps in the future to improve your health, it just means accepting the moment now for what it is. We spend so much of our lives regretting the past and worrying about the future. Try to accept the circumstances for what they are and battle through each day in the best way you can.
“When life gets you down, do you wanna know what you’ve gotta do? Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming.” — Dory, “Finding Nemo” (Yes this is from a kids movie, but it's a great quote for anyone struggling with an illness).