If you feel down and useless today: Chronic Illness and Chronic Pain
If you’ve been glued to your couch or imprisoned in your bed because of chronic disease or intractable pain…then you may feel trapped, hopeless, even useless. Are you getting tired of staring at the same 4 walls and know that you’ve been made for more?
Whatever you’re feeling right now, your feelings are completely valid given everything you’re going through. Whether you’re feeling depressed or hopeless, frustrated at doctors, even angry at God, all of those feelings are understandable and very difficult emotions to process.
You’ve lost so much in the battle with your health. It’s okay to grieve over your life, and grieve the loss of your health. You built a good life, and the threat of physical invasion is more mentally overwhelming than anyone around you could possibly realize. You didn’t choose this battle, but you’re in it nonetheless.
It’s important to give yourself permission to mourn the things you’re losing. That’s what people mean when they say “be kind to yourself” or “give yourself a break.” Self compassion isn’t the same as self pity. In fact, self loathing begins to dissipate when self compassion enters the picture. If you would show love and tenderness to your daughter or grandmother in your situation, then do the same for yourself. You’re worthy of that care. Dig deep and find understanding and patience for yourself (even if other people around you haven’t).
When we say chronic illness is a “battle,” that’s part of it. Being a warrior is choosing to treat your body with patience instead of anger- even though you may not feel your body deserves your understanding for how it has betrayed you. Being a warrior is giving yourself dignity simply because you’re human, and worthy of it no matter your health or ability status. Being a warrior is staying in this game of life, even when leaving feels like your only option. Of course, battling chronic illness refers to the rigors of healthcare and living through the “hell” in health, but it also refers to giving understanding to the people who don’t understand us in return.
Then, consider finding something constructive to do from exactly where you are. Whether that’s offering to moderate in your favorite online support group, or taking a free web course for something enjoyable (see Domestika.org), getting involved in a weekly Bible study online with a friend (see YouVersion app plans), an online book club over zoom, or getting into a new hobby that you can do laying down.
I know your brain is pushing back with all the reasons you can’t do it, and may already be making you feel that it’s a pointless cause, etc. That’s the same part of your brain that likes to tell you that you’re lazy, and says that no one actually cares about you– it’s just not true, my friend. You’re not lazy, you’re ill. People do care, but they may not know exactly what you need right now. That ugly little gremlin in our brains is a straight up liar.
Just find one new thing, and try it out temporarily. You don’t know where it will lead, who it will impact, and how one small change will help you in the long run.
Your job never defined you in the first place. You are still you and you are still on your journey ❤
You are loved. You are not alone. Please take good care of yourself,
Join us at the disabled art share group Chronically Inspired on Facebook where we share our adapted projects, and encourage each other to get back into doing the things we once loved.
Posted on February 18, 2021, in Hope, Inspiration and tagged #chroniclife, #chronicpain, #raredisease, Chronic Illness and Depression, chronicillness, encouragement, hope, Inspiration, mentalhealth, positive. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.
Oh my goodness you little angel on my wall, you! You are so bang on about what I’ve been going through the past few weeks. After years I’m pretty adapted to my life and yet right now I’m going through a depressive episode of lack of self worth, lack of control, I’m not as “healthy” cause it’s winter again, and the house feels like it’s never getting fixed cause I find issues to fix faster than I can repair them. And my way to deal with them temporarily is literally to tape them most of the time like I did last night for wood smoke that got in our house again due to the winter spell. It’s hard to always have to fix things to the best of my abilities (tape!) instead of being able to do the job properly like anyone else. And then because of that I once again wasn’t able to shower…
So thanks for all the reminders. I’m not bed ridden thank goodness, so I’ll keep the email post and reread it for sure. I’m going to try that shower now after waking up, see how that goes instead of worrying about the next thing that will take my energy away.
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I’m so sorry! Winter is brutal on the body, but especially tough where you are located and yet, you continue to amaze me with your resilience. Yes, keep re-reading and go through the “inspiration” and “hope” posts on the blog. That’s what they’re there for.
Thank you Mary,
Just what I needed to read this morning.
Linda Lochridge Hoenigsberg Helena, MT
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I’m so thankful for your kind comment. I hope today is a better day.