Hey everyone! I have been working on an article called - Non Cliche Things you will Learn from a Chronic Illness. I keep seeing all these articles online regarding chronic illness and they are all so upbeat and cheesy. Please read and feel free to suggest a section for me to add or just give general feedback!
There has been two many articles to count with titles like "10 things I learned from a Chronic Illness"and "22 things my illness taught me about life". Most of these articles consist of cliche things about learning that life is beautiful, friends and family love you, blah, blah, blah. While beautiful things have come from my illness, in reality the things I have learned while suffering are typically depressing and bleak before they can be beautiful and freeing.
1. Life does not owe you anything.
I grew up living by the book of Karma. I believed that if you were good and kind then life would be good and kind right back. Up until I fell ill when I was 16 that was the case for me. I'm the type of person who smiles and says hello to strangers that look like they are having a bad day, the kind of person who will always donate that extra dollar, the kind who always makes sure that the loved ones in my life are happy and well. It took five years of tears are asking when life would cut me a break because I was a "good person". I had to realize that life does not owe me anything and maybe I know how to be kind because life has taught me how much you need to cherish it.
2. Not everyone will accept you.
One of hardest lessons for me to learn was that for every person that did understand there will be two or three who won't. Some friends can't handle the flakiness of a chronically ill friend and sometimes I don't blame them. A lot of these people will not know what to say to you when you bring up your illness, some will care but won't know how to help, and some will get annoyed. It's unfortunate but it is honest. There will be people who will tell others that you are attention hungry, they will secretly roll their eyes when you talk about your latest symptom or appointment and they will mock what you are feeling. There can't possibly be people so awful, right? Wrong. I have encountered many people who have done this to me and that I have seen do to others. These people are here to show you that the world won't suck up to you because you are sick, they will keep you humble and they will push you to embrace an emotional confidence that you never knew you had in you.
3. Your illness will disappoint your loved ones.
Remember that family vacation you took that where al the fun activities were ruined because you were sick? Your siblings had to take the brunt of that. Those grandchildren that your parents wanted? Those might not be a possibility. The boyfriend who wants to take you on that backpacking trips with his friends? His girlfriend will be to sick to make memories with him. As unfortunate as it is, there will be times where your illness ruins current and future plans that the people in your life wanted to enjoy. They will resent you and that will hurt. This is something you will have to communicate and until you can it will continue to hurt.
4. Your illness is like the death of the person you used to be.
You will have to give up things and people that you love. You will have to give up hobbies, passions and job opportunities. You get to watch the people in your life achieve your dreams while you are stuck in bed with a new diagnoses or that weeks flare up. You will have to accept that these dreams will have to die in order for you to be reborn. You will have to make new interests, new relationships and find a career that you can handle. If you can accept this, doors will start to open for you.
5. You will feel unlovable.
Who wants to love the sick girl? Who wants to spend in the night hospital with you when they have work in the morning? Who wants to spend a sunny day inside because they don't want to hurt your feelings since you are laying in bed crying out in pain? Your loved one will get frustrated and you will fight because they don't know how to save you. You will feel guilty for putting someone else through your pain. You will lay awake wondering why they haven't traded you in for a girl who can do the things they want and sometimes they will. You have to be prepared for the fact that not everyone can love you through it. But also you have to keep hope that when you do find that person that it will be a love that is strong because it takes to strong people to be in love with illness between you.
6. Your illness will kill you in ways you won't expect.
If your illness isn't terminal you are told you are lucky. That there are people in this world that are dying and you aren't one of them. What people don't understand is when you are laying in bed for the sixth day in a row, when you had to quit your job and you have to rely on someone else to take care of you, you will feel like dying. You will feel as if you are already dead. The world goes on without you when you are staring at the same ceiling for what feels like years. Research says that 1 in 10 suicides are done by people with a chronic illness, and somedays you will feel like being a statistic, but when you look back on the days on felt that way, you will weep. You will be outside on a sunny day and realize that you have made it and there is so much to live for.