Life with one or more chronic illnesses is tough.
Life with chronic pain is tough.
Life, whether you are chronically ill or not, is tough.
But I have news for you! You are tougher!!!!
Yes, that is right. I know that there are times when you don’t feel tough. I also know that there are days when you truly lack physical strength, but that doesn’t mean that you aren’t tough.
As long as you are fighting for your life, looking for ways to improve it, finding joy in every day, and not giving up, YOU ARE TOUGHER THAN YOUR ILLNESS OR CHRONIC PAIN!
I know that taking a nap may feel like your illness has won, but it isn’t true. You win when you acknowledge that your body needs to rest. It takes guts to do what your body demands of you, instead of forcing your body to follow your desires. It takes immense strength to go to physical therapy, to keep trying new treatments, to change your lifestyle, to make healthier choices, and most importantly accept that all these things must be done in order for you to remain strong enough to survive.
Here are three examples to help you build and maintain the emotional strength that is necessary for living with a chronic illness or pain.
*Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. Meaning that at no additional cost to you, I receive a commission when you make a purchase through my links. The proceeds earned fund the giveaways I host in my Facebook groups.
Number One: Spend more time with people who lift you up and less with those who bring you down.
Those who constantly remind you of your limitations or are always bringing up your shortcomings, are only going to weaken you. People who point out your strengths, help you find alternative ways to do things, or just cheer you on when you try something new will build your confidence. Who are you spending most of your time talking to?
My life isn’t filled with people who understood how difficult living with fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, psoriasis, endometriosis and its fallout, degenerative disc disease, and coccydynia is. The difference between my life then and now is that I choose not to spend much time with those whose favorite word is CAN’T. The more I hear that I can’t do something, the more I believe that I can’t do anything. I may not be able to do everything the way I used to, but I CAN find new ways to do what I want.
Number Two: Seek counseling
I am not talking about joining a social media support group. Those are okay to meet other people who “get” it, but not for truly dealing with your fears and life choices. Nor is it fair to expect your family or spouse to be the ones to counsel you. There are many options available for counseling depending upon your needs.
If You Need A Crisis Hotline
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-8255
SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) – 1-800-662-4357
RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) – 1-800-656-4673
Lifeline Crisis Chat
Veterans Crisis Line – 1-800-273-8255 (Press Option #1)
National Domestic Violence Hotline – 1-800-799-7233
MentalHelp.net (An American Addiction Centers Resource) – 1-866-308-2184
NAMI Helpline (National Alliance on Mental Illness) – 1-800-950-6264
And for those wanting regular therapy with a licensed therapist, but either have crappy healthcare coverage or none, and have either transportation issues or are just in too much pain to travel one or more days a week, Online-Therapy.com offers therapy when and where you want it.
My readers save 20% when they enroll via my affiliate link. Click here to check them out and enroll.
Number Three: Start envisioning your future WITH your chronic illness.
I know that you are hoping and praying for a cure. I am too…. But the reality is that our chronic illnesses are most likely going to be with us for the rest of our lives, especially for those of us over 50. If your chronic illness isn’t included in all of your future dreams and plans, your future will be filled with disappointment. Not only that you, but you will be unprepared for the hard times that await you. Sorry to sound like a Debbie downer, but living with your head in the clouds waiting for life to magically be transformed will only lead to more heartbreak.
When you envision a future that includes your chronic illness, you aren’t giving up. Instead you will grow stronger because your mind will be focused on figuring out what you will be able to do, making alternative plans, or finding a different way to do what you had originally planned for. Will things go wrong? Of course they will! Do you know anyone who hasn’t had anything go wrong in their life? I don’t! The difference is that you will be better prepared.
I know you are tough, because if you weren’t you wouldn’t be reading this blog post. If you are feeling like you are stuck in your life, take a deep breath, assess your situation, make plans to move forward, and never forget that you are a warrior!