the tragic loss of self that comes from chronic illness – and how to be an overcomer

Struggling with any form of disease, especially for an extended period of time, can severely undermine your understanding of yourself and even your comprehension of your sanity. After countless white rooms and specialist opinions and side effect upon side effect from your long list of medications, there’s little care or attention given to your mental health and self-awareness after the fact.

So, how do we pull ourselves from the rut? How do we allow ourselves to find ourselves again? Our passions, new and old, that we may or may not have energy to care about anymore… or even just a motivation to get out of bed to use the restroom that day?

I struggled with this in the wake of nearly a decade of chronic illness, a traumatic pregnancy, and ppd/ppa. I literally forgot who I was as a person… it hurt.

I’m not going to lie. I am still finding that person.

But keeping all that hurt and confusion and rage inside hurt me. It made me sick. It confused me further. I felt like I fell down the rabbit-hole, not even sure of what day of the week it was.

In this post, I’ll be listing basic strategies I used to get out of the worst of it for any stage of life you may be in – bedridden, mobile, parent, single, coupled, etc.

We can always say “it is too hard,” or “we are too sick” to do something. But, that is simply not the way out. You reach rock bottom. The end of yourself. You are dark, perhaps. You are at your limits. So you give. You climb like hell until you see a speck of hope or light. This post is to help you find those specks.

Whether you’re bedridden, running around, busy with children, or simply by yourself, take sixty seconds in the morning to pray. Prayer can be meditation if you aren’t there with God yet. And that’s OKAY. TELL Him that. TELL Him of your trust issues. He is big enough. Get your brain in the proper headspace to take on your day. One of acceptance and peace with the fact that you can’t really manage to move for the day. One of forgiveness as you stumble through a busy day of appointments, work, school, kids… and exhaustion. It’s okay.

Try out hobbies like you would try new foods. Go into it knowing you may fall in love. Or you may be unable to do it/finish. Push yourself slightly and throw a party if you manage to get out the door and GO to the yoga/ceramics/painting/dance class or WHATEVER it is that sets your soul on fire. For me, that thing was yoga. I panicked the whole class because I actually let myself let go and relax – my brain wasn’t used to that. But it was easier as time went on.

Explore. See what your city or online services have to offer to keep your brain busy if your body isn’t in the space to do that much.

Remind yourself that your physical limits, temporary or otherwise, are a part of you. Make peace with that. Remind yourself that it is OKAY to feel sick. But it is even better to live as vibrantly and as active as you can! Self talk is MASSIVE in this.

Research what can HELP you. I don’t mean boards where people are chatting about how hopeless and miserable they are. I mean credible sources and topics to discuss with your practitioner.

Talk to a therapist, if you can afford it. Be sure to hire a therapist that has worked with chronic illness patients before.

Channel your pain into writing or art, if you can. This helped me immensely when I didn’t feel like talking.

Alternative modalities and therapies CAN help. I have lots of information on this that I am happy to share. A lot of them are proven and science-based methods of therapy such as aromatherapy or acupuncture.

Try to get some sunshine every day. If you can’t walk, open a window. Let the light in. If you can, take a small walk every day. Breathe. Take the time to deep breathe.

Listen to gentle acoustic or piano music – something wordless. This keeps your brain active as it studies the musical components as you just rest or do another activity. This can help brain agility and has potential to aid in calming you down if you struggle with anxiety.

Remember that this life is temporary. It is our duty to live to the fullest we can.

Remember thankfulness and happiness is a state of mind. I know it’s hard to swallow.

Remember that not all hope is lost, not ever. Just hold on and ground yourself in the NOW. Not the future.

These are just a few tips that helped me when I was in a similar place. I hope I was able to help you. x


Published by therenewedmamablog

Lover of coffee, cats, and rainy days. I enjoy reading, photography, and nature walks along beach paths. Poetry and writing are also passions of mine.

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