Around six years ago I started to become very sick, I would constantly have severe sinus infections. This eventually developed into asthma and several other chronic health issues that often greatly impact my life. For example, I was hospitalized twice last year for several days a piece and have gone through three surgeries this year alone. I have a chronic illness that impacts my daily life, somedays more than others. I have had to come to terms with living with a chronic illness, knowing my life is now different than it was before and that it will never go back to the way it was.
This has been extremely difficult at times, but has given me insight into how some of my clients feel. Many of my clients have chronic mental health issues and have to go through the same process I went through, adapting to living with their chronic health issues. This, of course, does not mean that life is not enjoyable or filled with happiness; it does mean that life is different than others… maybe different than we had dreamed or prayed for.
Here are things I have learned through my journey:
– Self-care is essential!
– It’s the small steps that matter
– Adapting can be very hard, GET SUPPORT
– Give yourself grace, it’s okay to have bad days
– You will need people who understand your journey, find facebook groups, or support in your church, or wherever support is located and comfortable for you.
– Take your medication as prescribed, even when you feel “better” or “okay”
– You will feel like a nuisance to your doctors, family, and friends… know you are NOT! You are loved and though it may be hard on them, too, they are here for you. Tell them how you feel, be honest, ask for grace when you are not in a good place.
Living with a chronic health or mental health issues is not an easy process, but its more than possible. You can have a joy-filled, and fulfilling life. It may just take reframing what your life will look like, and that is okay.