Living With A Chronic Illness

I found myself nodding along while reading this article, Five Things I Wish I Knew Before My Chronic Illness by Tessa Miller on the weekend. She seemed to get me.

Her points are a good start for those of you who are dealing with a chronic illness and even those of you who aren’t but need a reminder of what someone else may be going through. But you can’t always tell by what a person presents to you on their outsides. You have no idea what kind of battle their dealing with internally.

I could add many more... but these five things things from the article are a good start. I've experienced them since learning of my rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis, and some still pop up.

1) The mental part is as hard as the physical part... ✅

I highly recommend NOT searching a hashtag on Instagram if you don't want to experience a panic attack.

I’ve found myself wrestling with my thoughts more often then my physical pain. The mental aspect totally plays into how I feel physically, and some physical changes can completely send you into a spiral of awful thoughts and beliefs.

2) Your relationships change... ✅

Sometimes for the better, sometimes they simply end. Both can help you see what is truly important to you.

3) Everyone offers you advice... ✅

Well, unless you tell them what you really need. There are people who actually listened when I said I'm not interested in any advice... I need people to listen to me or simply be here with me for support. You should know that it can be nice to simply tell me what's going on in your life so that I'm not always occupying my time with my thoughts only.

4) You have to educate yourself — and everyone else... ✅

Educating yourself is key. Go at your own pace and it'll help you feel empowered. It was a way that helped me gain back some control I thought I had lost when I was first diagnosed. Plus it's "fun" questioning those in your wellness team when you want to understand what the hell they are talking about. But you only have to educate the people who are important to you, if and when you want to. If you ever hear me say "Is that so"... consider yourself warned that I've either stopped listening, or I don't give a shit about what is coming out of your mouth at the moment.

5) Support is everything... ✅

YES, IT IS!!! Find your people. They will include those who may not understand what you're going through but help you remember that you are more than your disease or chronic illness. And it also helps to become acquainted with people who may have a glimpse of what you might be dealing with because they too are living with their own health issues. Plus, being able to cancel on those people if you're not feeling up to hanging out helps with your guilt.

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An Update