Has your chronic illness scrubbed all the color from your chronic life? Does it feel like it is all doom and gloom? That is exactly how I felt for the first decade of mine. Find out how I created a colorful life that brings joy to even my darkest of days.
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Morning Reminder of What Used to Be
The first page I flipped to in my planner this morning said: “Live a Colorful Life”. I smiled at this reminder because it’s something I’m doing, not just wishing for.
Most of my chronic life was void of color. Chronic pain turned my world into a black and gray nightmare. My chronic illnesses made a fool out of me. They’d cause me to stumble over my feet and words. Uncontrollable hand tremors would send a glass of water or my phone flying across the room. The last thing I wanted was to do or wear anything that brought more attention to the freakshow that was my life.
I stopped buying and wearing brightly colored clothing. Black and gray became my wardrobe staples. I chose boring and bland styles so that I would just fade into the scenery whenever I was able to leave the house.
My attitude bled into my home life. I stopped decorating. Not just for holidays, but for every day! No pictures hung on the walls out of fear of being in too much pain to take them down the next time we moved. Not realizing it at the time, I had also surrounded myself with others who were miserable.
Breaking Free of Fear
I chose to bring color back into my life six years ago. It wasn’t due to a miraculous change in regards to my chronic illness. I still had and have fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, psoriasis, degenerative disc disease, costochondritis, and irreparable damage from a botched hysterectomy.
What did change was my attitude! While chronic pain was partially to blame, I’m the one who allowed fear to hold me back.
Some of the things I feared included but were not limited to:
- What others thought of my illness
- Other’s opinions about how I chose to relieve chronic pain
- That no one, including my doctors would take me seriously if I were happy
Does any of this sound familiar to you?
Adding Color Back into Your Chronic Life
Color comes in many forms. It can be things you see, wear, do, and feel. Adding color doesn’t require being healed from a chronic illness. As I have learned with a few extended periods of bed-rest due to illness and injuries, it is possible to live a colorful life even when stuck in bed!
Some suggestions for adding color into your life include but are not limited to:
- Brightening up your wardrobe. Colorful pajamas are a great start!
- Do something fun with your hair! Change the color or style.
- Wear your favorite jewelry
- Spend time with people who make you laugh. Can’t leave the house? Invite them to visit you!
- Resume or find a hobby that brings you joy.
- Spread some love by supporting your favorite charity or cause. You can do this in various ways. By raising money, sharing their information on social media, making blankets for the homeless, etc.
- Bring color into your home! Add flowers (artificial will do just fine). Brightly colored throw pillows or bedding will bring cheer to wherever you rest.
- Let go of opinions that don’t matter. Friends and family aren’t living your life. Do what works for you, your spouse and children.
- Modify an activity you used to love to accommodate your physical limitations.
Keep on Coloring
It’s been 6 years since I began bringing color back into my life. And although I’ve struggled with my health throughout this time, it’s the colorful moments of joy that I remember the most. The moments when I allowed myself to laugh and be silly. Moments of silence while watching the sunset with my husband, children, or a friend.
Every day is a new opportunity to pick up the paintbrush and color to our lives. I have some colorful plans for February. A few include the planning and preparation of my new garden, yoga on the beach, enjoying time with both my adult children, and obviously a few visits to Disneyland with my husband.
How have/will you add color to your chronic life?
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