I’ll start with the disclaimer that this is not intended to validate your frustrations as a chronic illness sufferer. It’s more of a rant stemmed from a place of love–tough love.
So here goes everything..
Dear chronic illness sufferers:
I don’t have sympathy for you. Well, I do. But no more than I have for someone dealing with financial trouble, relationship issues, stress at work, a deceased loved one, broken arm, etc. I do have empathy, of course–tons and tons of empathy.
Yes I understand where you are and what you’re struggling with, but no I don’t feel bad for you. Why should I? Why should anyone feel bad for you? Life is really hard for everyone. I feel bad that everyone struggles–some more than others–but we all have our own issues we’re working on.
Life is scary, unfair, lonely, dark, and even feels hopeless at times–and for those dealing with chronic illness, the dark can oftentimes outweigh the light. I know. But I’m here to urge you to stop feeling sorry for yourself and playing the victim of your disease, or weight, or anxiety, and start empowering yourself to overcome. Because no matter what the media or doctors or family tells you, nothing is forever–not even suffering.
I’m diagnosed with an ‘incurable’ illness, but that doesn’t prevent me from kicking its ass every single day with every thought and action I take (unless there’s chocolate around).
Here’s the bottom line–and remember this is coming from someone who gets it; someone who’s been there.
If you haven’t done your research, implemented a lifestyle to support your health and happiness, and done everything you can to feel better and improve your current state, then you should really stop complaining about your circumstances, because they’re just that..circumstances. Changeable circumstances.
Again, remember I’m totally empathetic…
As someone who searched high and low for 7+ years to figure out what was wrong with me, had multiple incorrect diagnoses, many ‘breakdowns’ and anxiety attacks, countless infections, lots of prescriptions, and two surgeries, I get it.. The struggle is real.
But here’s the thing.. The struggle may be real, but it isn’t permanent–at least it doesn’t have to be. Our sick-obsessed media and ‘health’ care system is just that…sick obsessed. You constantly read articles about how hard life is for those with chronic illness, how diseases are on the rise, how your illness is forever, and how this pill or that pill will at least numb the symptoms.
I call BULL SHIT.
Take that dark veil from your eyes and throw it in the trash, and take your health and happiness into your own hands. Accept and acknowledge your disease, pain, anxiety, weight, etc. and view it as an obstacle, not as a life-sentence.
Find your own facts- that’s what the internet is for.
Be your own advocate- there are so many amazing books, blogs, podcasts, and more dedicated to helping people empower themselves to take back their health and happiness.
Do your own experimentation- try different approaches; mindfulness methods and techniques, meal-plans, supplements, workouts etc. Know that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to healing
Implement your own plan for health- no one else can change your health but you. Not doctors, not friends, and certainly not pills.
Our healthcare system does not profit by telling you to implement strategic lifestyle choices that have been found to manage, reduce, and even cure diseases. It profits by keeping you in its pocket–telling you there is no cure, providing medication, and keeping you sick. It’s pretty disgusting….
I get zero gain from pushing you to empower yourself through knowledge–other than the simple fact that I care and I want my friends, family, and the whole world to stand up, fight, and stop swallowing the BS that our society is feeding us (pun intended).
It’s really frustrating when people are constantly complaining about their pain or weight or illness, fatigue, difficulty with life, etc when they haven’t even TRIED to make their own drastic changes. Or maybe they tried and failed and decided it wasn’t worth trying again. But really, what isn’t worth trying when you’re sick and tired for years on end?
And on a side note, I find it frustrating when people are constantly complaining about anything. No one wants to hear about how hard your life is..everyone has hardships, and all it does it just bum everyone out. Don’t waste energy on talking about what’s wrong, instead put energy into implementing action to change what’s wrong.
I went through the uncertainty, pain, anxiety, and depression associated with feeling sick all the time..I then went through sugar withdrawals, and gave up alcohol, I started listening to body and stopped partying, staying up so late, pizza…I gave up pizza, I spent my free time studying and reading about my disease and how to manage it, I gave up happy hour drinks, apps and ‘sserts, I stopped buying shoes and started buying supplements and healthy food, I gave up lazy Sundays for meal-prep Sundays, I started allowing myself more time for rest and recovery (a lot of it), and most importantly I stopped feeling sorry, guilty, bitter, and paralyzed.
So yes, I know what it is like to struggle.
But do you know what it’s like to struggle through your illness and to struggle through health? If not, I wish you would. Because struggling through health is infinitely more rewarding than struggling with your circumstances. No matter how much you have to ‘give up’, what you’re gaining is so much more–a sense of control, a feeling of normalcy, happiness, strength, knowledge, and the power to persevere even when the (temporary) veil of darkness sets in.
So remember: if you’re drinking and eating pizza every weekend (God, I miss pizza..) and you’re not sleeping enough, and not working out, or practicing stress-management techniques, if you’re not arming yourself with information on how to combat your illness/symptoms/anxiety, and you’re just simply absorbing it into your identity only to regurgitate its difficulties out to any passer-by or Facebook friend, please stop throwing yourself a pity party. There is so much more you can learn, and do, and think to propel yourself into health and happiness.
I’m still learning, growing, experimenting, struggling, resisting temptation, and trudging my way through life. But through my current struggle, I am now more inspired, excited, proud, happy and healthy every single day because I decided to take my health and happiness into my own hands and stop letting my illness control me.
Do you really think living in pain everyday is easier than embarking on a journey to health and happiness?
EMPOWER yourself. EDUCATE yourself. HEAL yourself. LOVE yourself. Work hard to control your illness, and stop allowing it to serve as an excuse.
If I can do it, I know you can too.