You are likely reading this because you are in the same boat as I am, living with chronic illness. Or maybe Perhaps you are reading this blog in support of someone who is living with chronic illness.
This journey is difficult. There are many feelings that one goes through when they are struggling. Anger, sadness, depression, hopelessness, loneliness, and confusion are all common things to feel when you are chronically ill. Almost like the 7 stages of grief!
So what do we do?
One of the first things that you can do is accept your diagnosis. In some cases, it is a blessing to have a diagnosis and easy to accept as many having been searching for answers for YEARS!
Accepting reality is very important as it will give you the drive to begin to heal. Many things can change in your life, such as mobility, financial situations, and relationships between family members, your spouse, and your friends. Some of these changes can be significant and extremely stressful, but you can only control you. There is no way to control other people’s feelings, things people say or do, or several other aspects in your life. Accepting is realizing that these things can happen as unfortunate as it is.
Don’t make yourself the victim. Be strong, see yourself as strong. It is all how you look at the world. It is scientifically proven those with a positive attitude have a better rate success in healing. It can also push people away. Everyone has a bad day and we are entitled to share our feelings, but sharing and constant complaining are two entirely different things. It is entirely normal to be sad, but never give yourself that “label”. Read my article on positivity for more information: https://kimmiecakeskickslyme.wordpress.com/2014/02/04/staying-positive/
It is common to feel a sense of loneliness and isolation when you are suffering from a chronic illness. It has happened to me. You seem to feel like life passes you by and miss visiting with people, going to dinner, whatever you use to enjoy. People might not stop by as you thought they would have since you are too sick to go visit them. Fill the void. You can in fact learn to love time alone. Learn a new hobby. Writing has become my therapy! Dive into a new book or watch a funny movie. Enjoy the scenery even if you can only look through a window. Talk to someone if needed, and a great tool that I have found is online support groups, as sometimes it is easier to talk to a stranger, or talk to someone in a similar situation in order to feel comfortable or have someone who can relate to you.
Coming back to things you can control, try to focus on these things. Focus on your diet, stopping drinking or smoking, things you can still do. It will be a mood booster for you when you feel like you have some control in your life even if it seems small.
Look at the silver linings in life. Things could be absolutely terrible but there might be just one thing that is making you happy. Hold onto that and tight.
Set goals for yourself. Sometimes any improvements seem completely out of reach, but you CAN get better! Each milestone will be incredibly special when you reach it. I was in tears with happiness the first time I did a grocery shopping trip. I should note however, do not give yourself unrealistic expectations as you will set yourself up for disappointment. Know your limits.
One of the biggest things that one can do is LEARN!!! This is so important. Learn about your illness, treatment plans, other important factors like treating your body as a whole. By doing this, you are giving yourself the power to be your own advocate. Do not rely on everything a doctor tells you as correct, and having the information gives you the ability to question them if you have thoughts or concerns. Having the knowledge gives you the ability to trust your instincts and do what is right for you.
Learning helps you educate others about your disease. There will be a lot of people who disagree, but there will also be people in your life that do want to learn about your illness too. Educating yourself helps with your treatment, but educating others can lead to prevention.
Realize that right now sucks and can feel hopeless, but things will get better when you find a treatment plan that works for you. Remember, there is no set cure for Lyme disease. If there was, none of us would be sick. Best wishes to you all and happy healing. 🙂 xo