My journey living with a chronic illness...
I have been living with chronic illnesses for about 10 years now. I can say that I am functioning a lot better now than I was when it first began. That being said, I still struggle at times to do my daily tasks. I am severely disabled, so I am not able to work outside of my home. It's frustrating that I have had to adapt my lifestyle to fit around my illnesses. It can be done, but I have learned that while it's not easy, it is worth it.
My journey began when I was 26, which would put the year roughly around 2007. I won't go into all the major details as I believe I have posted about that before and I don't want to give you repeated content. It took me about 6 and a half years to regain any mobility, as I was partially paralyzed. I was unable to feed, bathe or clothe myself. Going from being 100% dependent, to relying solely on others to help me was a major struggle for me. I was wheelchair bound about 90% of the time. The only time I was not in my wheelchair was when I was beginning my physical and aquatic therapy. That's why it took me those 6+ years to gain even a partial amount of mobility.
Around 2012, I finally had my full motor skills back. Now, I know that I will never be the person I was before I began to suffer with these debilitating illnesses. That's not even a slight possibility. It's something that took me a long time to acknowledge. Now that I have accepted that aspect, I am able to live a more fulfilling life.
I still have my bad days, however, I don't struggle as badly as I once did. I can feed myself now, I can bathe myself again and I am able to walk without even using a walker. It was a lot of excruciating hard work. Determination to get stronger, not just physically but mentally as well is what got me through all of it. I do have to be sure not to over-do things and to pace myself, otherwise I pay for it later. But now that I have been able to accept my limitations, life is a lot better. I take notice and victory in the little accomplishments that I make. So if I am able to take a walk for 30 minutes, I celebrate that even though it's a small victory.
The thing I still struggle with at times is the emotional aspect. It can be emotionally draining when you are having to fight through living with this kind of lifestyle, whether it's one illness or several. Your wants sometimes control your mind. You have to do as much as you can to strengthen your mentality. I do my best but I am human after all and at times I do tend to slip into depression. I have my tiny "pity party", then I remind myself how far I have come, how much I have accomplished and that if I can get through all of those things from my past, I can get through anything.
My advice for anyone living with a debilitating illness. Just do YOUR best. We are all different, so what one person may be able to do, may be hard for another. Never allow another person to tell you what you should or shouldn't be doing. Only you know yourself, inside and out. You are very capable of knowing what your can or cannot do. Of course, you will have times when people think they are "just helping you out", but take what they say with a grain of salt. I say that because you are the only one that knows what you deal with day in and day out. You are the only person that knows what you struggle with every single day. So therefore, you're the only one that knows what and how much you are able to do. Doesn't matter what it is. You know your strengths and weaknesses. The ONLY thing that matters is what you think and what you feel.
If you are struggling and feel overwhelmed... find someone that can relate to what you're dealing with. Now like I said before, no one will ever know EXACTLY what you're dealing with, but they can at least relate to you on some level. Having a support system can help you gain more confidence in yourself, and you may end up helping the other person to gather the strength they need to push forward. You never know where you journey will take you, but as long as you can take one step forward, you're getting farther than you were the day before. Just take it all one moment at a time. It's the best way to celebrate those small victories. All I can do is tell you what has worked for me and hope that it will do the same for others.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I want to help motivate and inspire others that are dealing with difficulties in their life. I hope I was able to do that for you. 💖