Everybody has something to deal with, whether it’s chronic pain, illness, injury, stress, or trauma. I have some limitations in my life due to chronic illness. I won’t bore you with all the details of how chronic illness is defined or what it means. I won’t explain the names of the illnesses with which I live. Everybody has their own problems, ailments, and other struggles that they live with. Mine are certainly better than some and, for that, I’m grateful.
Having said that, I feel that it’s also beneficial to raise awareness for the struggles that people live with, whether the limitations are physical, mental, or emotional. I feel like they’re all intertwined anyway. For sure, when I feel physically depleted, I also feel angry or depressed or sad (or all 3). Sometimes my thinking is adversely affected and I don’t trust myself to make important decisions or even drive. My anxiety ramps up even more than usual. Conversely, if I’m feeling down or thinking less clearly, it also seems to magnify the physical aspect of my conditions. Being affected like this means that I’m incapable of functioning at my best. Continue reading “Life with Limitations”
Throughout our lives, we come across times of change, whether we looked for it or not and whether we want it or not. Obviously, how we react to these changes will affect the next portion of our life.
Some changes are easier to react to than others. For instance, if we actively decide to make a change for the better (new job with better hours, more pay, or a better location or a new house/apartment, new relationship, etc.), the change is much easier to live with. You’ve made the choice yourself and you’re benefiting from the change in a positive way. Does this mean everything is rosy? Nope. Continue reading “Change Happens, Ready or Not”
At some point in our life, we have to stop assuming that we can “just” do whatever we want. Sometimes we can’t “just” run to the store or “just” pick up the house. Sometimes it’s a bigger deal to get it done. Sometimes we expect this change to happen and sometimes it takes us completely by surprise. No matter how it happens, it’s an adjustment that we are forced to make whether we like it or not. It’s just the reality of it.
I think, for most of our life, we go along doing what we want to do or what we have to do without thinking too much about it. We go to school, we go to work, we go to the store, and we go out with friends. All of these things are done without too much thought. We’re in the habit of doing things we have to do, like cleaning the house or going to the grocery store. Most of the time, we just think of these things as necessary and get irritated if we don’t have the time or don’t really feel like doing it. If we get invited to a party or want to go to an event, we decide if we want to go or not. Continue reading “Can’t “Just” Do It All Anymore?”
I’ve been thinking lately about how chronic illness affects people and was going to do an article about it. This is not about that though.
I realized when I first started thinking about this topic that the first two things that popped into my head were how all-consuming it can be and how people deserve compassion. Then I realized that these two things are not exclusive to people with chronic illness. They are, in fact, common to everybody and something that we should think about and be aware of when dealing with our own situations and when dealing with other people in any circumstance.
Think about it: everybody that we encounter throughout our day, from the cashier at the coffee shop to the person on the other end of the phone that we speak with, all have individual lives with problems of their own that they deal with.
New mothers are dealing with life-changing issues while being sleep-deprived.
Many of us have problems at work, either person- or issue-related that may be troubling.
Lots of people have financial problems that they are trying to resolve.
There are so many people with health issues ranging from acute and immediate to chronic and debilitating.
All of these, and so many more, are problems that keep us awake at night. We all have some type of problem that we’re working on. Some are obviously more critical than others and they may come and go, but the one thing we have in common is that we all have to get through something. We all have problems that require our attention.
Additionally, people all handle problems differently. What one person considers minimal, somebody else may interpret (and react to) as a monumental problem. Stress also affects each of us differently and would affect our reactions and behavior. Our individual history may also affect our situation. Who is to say that one problem is worse than somebody else’s? There is absolutely no grading scale on problems, reactions, or situations.
There are a lot of factors that can influence how our problems affect our situation. The one thing we have in common is that we all have problems that worry us, can sometimes consume us, and that can affect how we live, how we think, and how we act. Since we know this, we should also have more in common with each other: compassion and understanding for ourselves and for each other.
For ourselves, it’s important that we cut ourselves some slack. Many times, we tend to be harder on ourselves than on other people. We expect a lot from ourselves. Allow yourself the time and patience to heal, to grieve, or to work toward resolution of the problem that you’re dealing with.
When dealing with other people, no matter who they are, be generous with your time, compassion, and patience. They, too, are going through situations and problems that we are unaware of, situations that are consuming their time, attention, and patience.
I’m not trying to be negative in saying that we all have problems, but it’s a reality in our fast-paced world that we’re all stressed and experience negative thoughts or experiences. I would like to think that, by taking the time to remember that everybody else we talk to or interact with has similar experiences, we might be a bit more kind or thoughtful to each other. If we could do this, it might just make somebody’s life a little bit easier and, after all, how much more positive could that be?
Because I have a chronic illness, I’m forced to lie every single day. When you see people at work or at the grocery store or when you see a neighbor out front, our standard greeting nowadays is usually some form of “how are you?”. It’s at this point that I’m forced to lie, for everybody’s benefit. For the person asking, they certainly don’t want to hear how I’m actually doing. How am I supposed to convey the enormity of how this illness affects me every single day of my life? How could I explain the very real impact of how I feel physically, mentally, and emotionally? How should I explain my life to them when, nice as they are to ask, they really don’t care at all; they simply asked me to be nice, as a social greeting. For my own benefit, I’d like to continue to see that person and say “Hi, how are you” and make small talk after today, so I will continue to lie and say “Fine, how are you?”. How many of us do this every day without really asking how the person is? Continue reading “I’m Lying Every Day”
I’d like to talk about something close to my heart this month. As some of my readers are aware, I live with a few autoimmune diseases, as do many other people. Most of these diseases are not easily diagnosed and they are not well-known to the majority of people. I think most of us have heard the name lupus, but don’t know too much more than that. This is one reason that it is so critically underfunded. We need to raise awareness of the symptoms so that more people are diagnosed earlier and are able to seek medical help. I’d like to have more of us become aware of the impact that lupus and other autoimmune diseases can have on our friends, our family, and our co-workers and how you can help to support them. This is why I’d like to devote some of my posts this month to the issue. You will find these (and previously posted) articles under the category of “Chronic Illness”.
There is no cure for lupus. Many of the medications that are being used to treat the symptoms create significant problems in their own right. We need awareness and support to find a cure and better treatment options.
By posting a few informational articles, I’m hoping to increase awareness, to inspire support, and to raise interest in the subject. I am fully aware that this is just one of many causes that we’re all provided information on and we certainly can’t support everything. In addition to lupus and others, I always support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the American Heart Association for personal reasons. It is my hope that you will learn more about lupus and autoimmune disease in order to provide support as well as to help increase awareness.
Thank you for your understanding.
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