I know what you’re probably thinking, “How can your Chronic pain/Illnesses teach you something?! Pain is pain, there’s nothing good about it!” And to be perfectly honest, I’ve struggled for years with trying to accept my illnesses. For years I let myself focus on the bad parts, the bad days, the medication overload, the sleepless nights due to pain. I couldn’t see that despite it all, my Chronic Pain has taught things about myself. Good things and bad.
These last few months, I’ve been dealing with some extremely hard personal challenges. Its been emotionally and physically exhausting. But I’m still doing my best to move forward.
Here are some lessons my chronic pain has taught me.
- When I was first diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis, Endometriosis and PFD, one of the first things I did was search out some support groups. My ‘family’ now is spread across the world and I haven’t met most of them in real life yet. But we stand together and support each other.
- My pain has taught me how to listen to my body and learn my limits. In the early days of my ‘journey’ I tried to keep the pace I had before I got sick and more often than not I ended up in bed for days after.
- There is a joke, but not a funny one, going around the Spoonie communities. “Want to know who truly cares about you? Get diagnosed with a Chronic Illness.” There are only a few people in my life but they have continued to lift me up and help me because they truly care.
- My Chronic Pain has taught me to believe in myself again. Being confident in what I can and can’t do has helped to allow myself to believe I can do anything, I just have to be careful and usually spread out over a week or more. But I do get things done.
- My illnesses have also made me want to learn all I can about my illnesses and others that people I know have. I know it may seem strange but learning about other illnesses is a kind of hobby for me.
- Just because I could do some walking around and hanging out yesterday doesnt mean I can do the same tomorrow.
- The person hardest on me is myself. I judge myself harshly, put myself down for the things I can’t do. I usually end up pushing myself too far because I want to try and have a life outside of my illnesses.
- I’m learning its okay to ask for help.
- I want to help others like me who suffer from Chronic Pain and Illness. I even starts my own in person Chronic Pain Support Group here in my town.
- I think one of the hardest things my illnesses have taught me is how to be patient with others and not become annoyed when they find out I’m sick but look fine on the outside. They all give you ‘the look’ of disbelief and some even come right out and call me a liar. It hurts.
- There are a lot of ignorant people out there who think they know me and my illnesses better than I do based off a 2 minute internet search.
- I’m learning to take life one day at a time, sometimes an hour at a time. And thats okay.
- My experiences are different than those of someone with the same illness. No two people have all the same symptoms.
- There are many others who suffer from Chronic pain and Illness, as well as invisible illnesses. You are not alone. I am not alone.
- Taking care of myself is not selfish. Its a necessity.
- I’m much stronger than I give myself credit for. My illnesses take a lot from me mentally, emotionally and physically. But somehow I still manage to push forward each day.
- I have to become my own doctor as I know my body better than anyone. I’ve spent hours researching to find different treatments and ways to make my life a little easier.
- I no longer try and justify my illnesses to others. I’m sick and while I’m doing the best I can, I should never have to feel the need to prove how sick I am.
- I can no longer do what I used to, but I just do my best to adapt and find a way to still have fun.
- You have to be truthful: you have to be open with loved ones about your condition, pain and feelings. So then you don’t battle alone and everyone knows the score.
What have you learned through your own journey of Chronic Pain and Illness? Let us know in the comments.