The most difficult thing about living with chronic illness is accepting it. We spend a majority of the time analyzing, fighting, wondering and wishing it away. And the rest of the time, we feel guilty for being the way we are. I know it is not easy, but when you accept it for what it is, and that it is not going away anytime soon, you have more time and energy for learning to manage it.
No two people have the same story
Everybody experiences chronic illness differently. You and I could both have migraine. You might eat right, sleep right, take pills on time, exercise and still end up in the ER a couple of times a month, whereas I might be doing all the ‘wrong things’ and popping an Advil for the pain (not true but you get the point. At the end of it, you can relate when I talk about sensitivity, losing out on life, fatigue, insomnia, lack of focus, difficult in making decisions, and keeping our emotions in check. So you could be doing everything right, and still feel terrible.
Stop trying to ‘Fix’ it
It is human to want to find solutions for all problems but sometimes it is that very nature that creates more trouble. When anybody has a diagnosis, the focus turns to ‘I want to get better’. Medical conditions don’t work that way. Sometimes pills work, sometimes they don’t. Your body becomes resistant. Sometimes, it gets worse with time. Sometimes you need to live the rest of life on medication. Sometimes, you need surgery. Sometimes, you need to be hospitalized. Sometimes you need rehabilitation. Stop trying to ‘fix’ it, and start doing things that will eventually help you ‘live with it’.
Stop blaming yourself for your condition
I talk about the mental health impact of chronic illness here on the website. It all starts with blame. We are born a certain way (genes and everything). Sometimes things just happen. You can change the color of your eyes with lenses and get surgery to stand taller, but there is only so much you can do to change who you really are (DNA-wise). If I have a gene that is triggered, there is very little I can do to ‘fix’ it. There is very little I do to avoid ever triggering it.
You are not to blame. It is never something you did. This kind of pressure creates so much stress and eventually leads to depression, anxiety and other mental health issues, which in turn flood your body with stress hormones and worsen the disease.
The focus should be on feeling comfortable
People could say a thousand things. They are not living with this condition. You are. You don’t have to avoid this or that, or do yoga, or try Tylenol, or do that thing that supposedly ‘cured’ someone else.
Do whatever helps you. If that’s lying in bed all day. That’s fine. If that means you don’t wear pants. That’s fine. If you need to eat comfort food. That’s fine. If you need a bite of chocolate just to indulge a little. That is ok too. As long as you drink enough water, and eat something wholesome through the day, you are free to do whatever makes you feel comfortable.
When you are relaxed, your mind begins to focus on healing the body or giving the body enough strength to get through this. I’m saying it one more time. It is not your fault.