The things I have learnt through Chronic Illness

The things I have learnt through Chronic Illness

I am almost two years in with Chronic Lyme Disease. Living with a chronic illness has taught me many things.

Keep Asking

No matter how many appointments you have, how many tests you get done, how many people you have telling you they can’t find anything wrong, keep asking. Keep pushing and insisting. Somewhere out there is someone that will help you.

Let Go

Some friends will stay with you through the whole journey. Others won’t be able to cope with your inability to do things and will question if there is anything actually wrong with you. You look ok after all!

Let them go. You don’t have to justify yourself. Those that are meant to continue in your life will stick by you and do what they can to support you.

Take Responsibility

No one can fix things for you. You have to take responsibility for yourself.  There isn’t a cure, so to get back to better health you have to concentrate on everything you do. What you eat and how much you move. What you do in each day will have a knock on effect for tomorrow.

Choose Well

When you live with a chronic illness, waking up means you have to make an assessment of how you are feeling before you can get out of bed. You have to decide how many ‘tokens’ you have to get you through the day. On a good day you might get 10. On a bad day just a few.

Everything you do in the day will take up a token. Getting up, showered and dressed will take at least one token. Washing your hair is another token. Preparing a meal is another token. Moving so many steps is another token. Using your brain in a conversation or reading is another token. Getting back to bed, another token.

Even though every step is excruciatingly painful, you know you need to get so many steps in during the day, or tomorrow will be even worse. You have to eat the right foods or you will have even less energy or increased inflammation and pain tomorrow.

You need to concentrate on something during the day. If you don’t, the momentum will stall and you will lose access to your brain again when you have worked so hard for months to reclaim it.

Getting the balance right and spending your tokens wisely today means you might have an ok day tomorrow. Get it wrong and you will be on the slippery slope to a really bad day. Decisions need to be made each day.

How would you spend your tokens?

Be Fully Present

When you can’t move through pain and exhaustion, you learn to be more mindful. Placing focus and attention on what you are doing means the pain becomes secondary and you can enjoy the moments from an entirely different level.

Be Creative, Switch Off

Painting and drawing have become an excellent distraction from pain for me. Meditation a fundamental part of my day. We all need to relax and switch off from the pressures in the day. Whatever pressures we face.

Stay Resilient

Whatever cards you have been dealt in life, grab hold of them.

Don’t get swallowed up with the difficulties. Do what you can to change things. Your attitude and mental resilience are the keys to getting you through.

Love Life – Slow Down

Rushing through life at 100 miles an hour isn’t what life is about. You will be so busy trying to get to the next thing that you will miss what is right in front of you.

Materialistic things are not what give any of us true happiness. They might make you feel better for a short time, but will not be the cause of your happiness.

True happiness comes from within. Simple things are what can give us the greatest pleasure, we just need to slow down and learn to appreciate what we already have.

Love yourself and the people close to you.

We are each responsible for our own happiness and the impact we have on others.

How we apply the things we learn along the way is the foundation of our future.

Make yours count.



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