Monday, October 22, 2018

A Love Letter to Anyone Who’s Struggling Today

Hey struggling soul.

I want to tell you a secret. You are so much stronger than you think you are. Do you remember the last day that you felt this way? When you felt like you couldn’t take this anymore, or that you were just so tired of living life like this? You made it through that day. And  there’s proof that you can make it through this day too.

Whether you’re fighting your body, or your mind... or maybe both, you woke up this morning. Though you may not have a choice and these circumstances have chosen you, you are facing them head on. And you might feel like they’re overwhelming you, or like you’re not strong enough to handle them. But you will look back on days like this and be so proud of the way you surprised yourself. Just like you’ve surprised yourself before. Again and again.

It’s not fair that that life has dealt you this deal. It’s not. There’s nothing that makes it okay. But I hope you know you deserve to be proud. Because you go through things that other people couldn’t handle. You don’t even realize all the little achievements you’ve attained. Every single day, from getting up, to forcing yourself to bathe or shower, to pushing through the pain, and fighting for your life.

And though some days you might feel like you’re losing, the mere fact that you are pushing through is a little win. You are braver than you think. More of a fighter than you think. More fearless than you think. And no one knows. It’s a pretty silent battle. No one knows the little things you overcome in one day. 24 hours. Maybe today you felt pain all over your body. But you still made it through. Maybe today your mind was a mess. But you still made it through. Maybe today you were just tired. Exhausted. You felt like you had the life sucked out of you. But still, here you are, another day that YOU won over what’s trying to take over.

Please don’t underestimate yourself. It might feel like the score is 0 for you, and 1 for life, but you are so much more than you think you are. You have power over the pain the world has caused you. And you deserve every single ounce of that power, because you fought for it. And you continue to fight for it every single day.

So in case no one has told you lately.... I’m proud of you.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

10 Things You Become Grateful For When You’re Chronically Ill

1- Friends who don’t forget about you.

It’s so easy to become isolated and kind of forgotten when you’re chronically ill, especially when you’re stuck at home a lot or all the time.  Friends who hang on are special.

2- Low pain/High energy days.

When you’re chronically ill not every day is the same. Some days your illness will be overpowering, and sometimes you’ll get days where you feel pretty good compared to how you normally feel. Those are the best days!

3- The ability to eat.

Many of my chronically ill friends have either lost the ability to eat, or go through flares where they can’t eat normally. And so you become grateful for being able to eat. Even if you can’t eat completely normally, or pain free, you become grateful. And you learn that you should have always been grateful!

4- Being able to get around on foot.

A lot of us rely on mobility aids to get around because well, otherwise we wouldn’t be able to. Another case of you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone. So those of us who CAN get around on foot learn to not take it for granted. And those of us who can’t... brings me to my next point.

5- Mobility aids.

When you lose the ability to go where you want to go, it can be a huge hit to your independence. So sometimes we have to learn to be grateful for the tools that can help us live a fuller life. My wheelchair, as much as I wish I didn’t need it, gives me freedom that I had once lost.

6- Good doctors.

When you’re chronically ill, you usually end up seeing more doctors than you can count on two hands. But you can probably only count on one hand the ones that have made a big impact on your life. Complex chronic illness is a handful for doctors. It sucks, but it is. Many times they don’t know what to do with us, and will pass us off to another one of our specialists. Sometimes they’ll have no idea why something is happening but won’t want to admit it. But those special ones, the ones who fight for you, and don’t give up on getting you proper answers and treatment, they are something to be so grateful for.

7- Nurses.

Us chronically ill learn quickly that we spend far more time with nurses than we do with doctors. They are the ones who get to know us. Who advocate for us to our doctors. Who try to make sure we’re always comfortable. Who deal with all the gross things that go on, but don’t make us feel uncomfortable about it. Nurses are angels on earth.

8- Friends who go the extra mile in regards to your illness.

A lot of us say that one of the best and most comforting things a friend, or even a family member, has said to us is “I googled your illness.” Having that friend who wants to learn about your illness, so that they can support you, is something special. Especially ones who support you on awareness days, for fundraisers, or share articles. It just shows how much they care.

9- Functioning body parts.

When parts of your body malfunction, it’s pretty impossible not to become grateful for the parts of your body that work!

10- The ability to travel.

As young people, we have so many places in the world we want to explore. But sometimes traveling to those places becomes unrealistic or impossible due to poor health. There are periods of time where things are too unstable to take the risk of going on any sort of trip. So anytime we have the ability to visit somewhere new, it’s something extra special. Even if it’s visiting another place for medical appointments!