Having to give up my job due to my chronic illness was a major turning point for me. I had arrived at a cross-roads with two totally different paths ahead and I needed to choose which one to follow. When first got to that point, my initial thoughts were understandably bleak. I thought to myself ‘Okay, this is it now – I have to stay in bed everyday and do the bare minimum to make my condition manageable’. And I did this for a few years – just going out for doctors appointments, small errands and every now and then to see my friends.
When I look back at that time in my life – it just seems so dark to me and a million miles from where I am now. That isn’t because so much has changed entirely – I generally still take the same day-day approach focused on resting up and taking it slow. The biggest shift is in my mindset. I struggled to look at life positively and was focused only on how much it sucks! These days, however, I Instead remind myself that it is ok to live this way, and there will be better days ahead if I keep trying and finding new ways to help myself both mentally and physically. In essence, I was able to think more positively about what the future could hold. This tiny shift in attitude was personally very uplifting for me.
I can’t work due to my health but instead of using that as a reason to call myself useless, I see my life as my job. It’s my job to take care of myself, my partner, my home and my pets. I am useful – I clean and I cook and I occasionally have the odd joke. I have hobbies that I can fill my day with. I don’t need to work at a specific job to be worthy; and I can instead find purpose in being the best possible version of myself that I can be.
So I was wrong! When I became ill, in fact no that was not it for the rest of my life. This was a new journey and a challenge to adapt to a new way of living. This is the time where I have to really find the strength inside myself to carry on living, even if living is a little different than it was before. There is still amazing things to come, I can still do things that are fun. I don’t just have to ‘exist’.
Once you give up and tell yourself ‘Well this is it, I’m f*cked’ – that is when you will become stuck in a rut and your body will become more prone to giving in. Changing your mind set and making a small shift in attitude can really push you to actually live your life despite chronic illness. I’m speaking from experience!