When is the last time you asked someone how they were and meant it? You really wanted to know how another person is doing? Physically and emotionally? Not asking out of politeness or obligation. Not asking so you can tell that person about your issues. What was the last conversation you had that was not about you?
It’s interesting with a chronic illness… chronic, it is with us forever. We begin to live in it 24/7. Not by choice but because we have to. We have to put our health first, and for many of us, it’s the first time we’ve ever put ourselves first. We learn to say, “No.” We learn what pacing is about, and take our medications on time, as prescribed. We do our best not to intentionally do things that make our symptoms worse. We eventually learn to live within our limitations. We also realize our chronic illness is the most important and time-consuming part of our lives. It has to be. To others, it is just not.
Have you become your own best friend or your worst enemy. Can you name three things you did today that have nothing to do with your illness? Just three. I’ll even give you one; watering the plants… if you are having a hard time coming up with three things, you have a bit of soul searching to do.
It’s time to separate the person (that’d be you) from the illness (that would be the little chronic illness monster that follows you around). Everyone needs some alone time! You are in there, the you that talks, laughs, smiles, and still enjoys the fun. Yes, you are still that person!
You know that one person who calls, you look at the caller ID and groan, do I have the energy to deal with him/her today? We all have one of ‘those people’ in our lives. Have you ever wondered what people think when they see your name on the caller ID? How much fun are you to talk to? How much fun are you to go out with? How much fun are you to live with?!?! You should be asking yourself these questions because your illness is never going away.
It’s not your fault you got sick! It’s not your spouse, partner, friend, parent, or child’s fault either. And. IT IS NOT THEIR JOB to be your constant sounding board as you play chronic illness vampire and suck the life out of all those around you.
For now, think about how you cope with your illness. Remember to be aware of three things you do daily that has nothing to do with your disease. Be cognizant of your conversations, are they always about your health issues? Are you genuinely concerned about other people’s lives?
Beware; if you are not aware of these things, you will become your disease.
No one wants that for you, absolutely no one.
Live your best life!