Okay, obviously this is a little exaggerated but how many of us in the chronic illness community often feel like an alien from outer space compared to everyone else who is healthy?
I often find that there are so many things I have to do to make it through the day that other people don't, and it often makes me feel isolated and weird. I take pills when I wake up, at breakfast, at lunch, at dinner, and before bed to manage my health so I can function. I have day time pajamas and nighttime pajamas for the days that I'm bedridden. And although I may not be on a gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, paleo, keto, vegan diet.... I often find that what I choose to eat (or not eat) can often make me feel separate and different than everyone else even though I do it for my health.
My point in this truth is this: DIFFERENT is not bad. Literally, everyone has their own quirks and idiosyncrasies. Maybe I have more than the average person, but that doesn't make me less of a person or less capable of living a full life. If you spend your day on IV's, taking pills, sleeping, eating healthy, and lounging in pajamas because normal clothes either cause pain or severe itching IT'S OKAY! You're not "weird" because of these things. In fact, it is the depth of our differences and the strength behind the differences that give those in the chronic illness community great beauty and elegance in how they live their lives. It's important that we all strive to remember that and to increase love and understanding, and decrease false judgment and ridicule.
Comment below if you can relate and something that you do as a chronic illness warrior that makes you feel different!
One of the greatest frustrations of the chronic illness community is when people assume that you're "faking" your illness for attention. Let's be real here: There is no way that a community that takes up almost 50% of America is all faking it. You're right, I don't look sick! But that's mainly because I spent two years looking sick on a constant basis, and who wants to look sick all the time?
There is an immense amount of truth in the phrase "Fake it till' you make it." And for the most part, I have to try to live life to the fullest and have as much happiness as I can despite the chronic illness. That desire and constant striving doesn't downplay how much pain I've experienced, or the constant battle I fight just to be able to get up and going each day. Some days are better than others. Some days awful. And some days are just plain frustrating! But that doesn't mean I'm going to give up any time soon.
Everyone's chronic illness life looks a little different as we're all striving to reach a point where we don't have to fake it anymore. But in the meantime, we strive as hard as we can to continue forward (even if that means spending a day in bed). And that's what makes each and every chronic illness warrior strong and resilient. We don't quit even when we're in the middle of the fire and feeling like we're being burned alive. There is grace and resilience inside of every chronic illness warrior, and that is something that we all must be reminded of.
Comment below what "faking it" looks like for you and how you manage to live despite the illness!
I'll never forget when I was at my worst and I would start my morning off with a handful of supplements and oils! I used to joke with my family about how I couldn't possibly see how there was a need for breakfast after taking so many pills! I still take quite a few supplements, but nothing compared to the 20 different capsules I used to take three times a day!
I think when you're healthy and strong, it's common to take for granted so many things in life! Since I've been chronically ill I've realized there are so many little things I have to do every day to be able to function, and it blows my mind to think that I used to exist without supplements and essential oils when I was younger!
Being sick has definitely taught me not to take the little things for granted, because someday you may not have those things, or someday you may find that you have to add a lot of extra and difficult things to your routine in order to survive. The chronic illness community knows exactly what I'm talking about, and this is your friendly reminder to take time to take care of yourself every day. Because if you're chronically ill, self-care is crucial to survival. And if you're healthy, you won't realize just how crucial, until you're chronically ill!
Comment below if you relate to taking exorbitant amounts of pills, and comment other ways that you practice self-care!
It's very common for someone who suffers from neurological Lyme disease or any other chronic illness that affects the nervous system to experience intense anxiety. It doesn't matter if I'm falling down a stair or if I'm falling off a cliff, it all feels the same to my Lyme riddled nervous system!
I often feel like I experience and feel things much deeper than the average person and wonder if this deeper awareness of things is a blessing or a curse. I remember when I was at my worst, my heart constantly seems to be pounding out of my chest, and I often felt like I had little bugs crawling under my skin. This constant feeling of distant danger would follow me everywhere, and these feelings often made me feel completely incapable of finding peace. I still have times when I feel desperate for the relief, but I've now learned and continually practice coping mechanisms for this intense anxiety.
I find my head spinning often about how I'm supposed to feel or react despite the fact that I have this hypersensitivity to my surroundings. I'm supposed to be happy, but not get overly excited. Hopeful, but refrain from getting my hopes up. Grieve and process emotions, but not for too long or too deeply. These mixed messages of how I'm supposed to feel do not help with the healing process and doesn't promote self-love or self-care in the least.
I've found that it is possible to find peace in this illness by grounding myself and shutting some of the voices around me off. Peace comes to me through daily meditation, and connecting to the earth and to God. It may seem impossible to find peace in an overly anxious body, but it's possible as we take time every day to heal our bodies, minds, and hearts.
Comment below if your illness makes you feel hypersensitive, and how you find peace through it all!
I literally just had a conversation with my brother that sounded just like this! I was chatting with him on a day that I didn't feel well at all, and he was telling me about how sore he was because he was playing basketball the night before, so I thought I'd be clever and respond with that! It gave us both a good laugh!
Anyone who struggles with chronic illness knows that existing in a broken down body can often be discouraging and make you seem obviously separate from everyone else. What inflicts a minor amount of pain on the average person often leaves me bedridden for a few days, as is with the rest of the chronic illness community. It's important to be sensitive and compassionate towards others no matter what, simply because you never know the inner batter that someone else is fighting.
I also want to point out that I often see a lot of posts on social media about longing to be like everyone else and have your life back again. The reality is that even when you are healed from this plague that is chronic illness, your life will not look the same as it did before you had the chance to experience the depths of this kind of pain. You'll be a different person who has grown and changed, and it's a beautiful change, not a bad one.
So it's okay to be different. It's okay to sit down in situations where someone who was healthy wouldn't. It's okay to say no to certain foods at social gatherings because you know they'll make you sick. It's okay to have bad days, and it's okay to be different than the rest of society. Being unique doesn't make you weird. It makes you absolutely beautiful! And that beauty is something that will penetrate into the hearts and minds of the right people with time. So live life to YOUR fullest, not everyone else's. And embrace being a little bit different. Because normal has always seemed awful boring to me anyway!
Comment below if you agree and how your illness makes you feel different but beautiful!
This is the biggest joke my family spills all the time! You have to realize that I live in a household of Lyme people, and conversations often go something like this:
Person 1: "How are you feeling?"
Person 2: "Like I'm dying!"
Person 3: "I don't think the phrase "live like you're dying" was ever meant to be taken this seriously!
It may be the lamest joke ever, but it keeps us laughing and realizing that there's always something to laugh about, and some good to see in every situation, even if the thought of any good in pain at this substantial of an amount seems insane.
The reality of this is that whether it feels like we're dying or not, it's important that we strive to live life to the fullest. I abhor some days. I can't stand the pain and I want to give up on days that I hate, but I have to remember that there is a reason for all this and that I just have to keep inching forward and putting one foot in front of the other. Every effort we make through this journey is counted in the Heavens, and life can still have great value through these great depths that we're experiencing.
Comment below if this gave you a good laugh and how you live life to the fullest, even with chronic illness!
We live in the self-care revolution! Everywhere we turn there are posts on social media about self-care and self-love, and how to practice it in our everyday lives, and I for one believe that self-care is a crucial part of healing and coping with chronic illness.
We live in a world where self-care is often portrayed as things we do that make us feel good in the moment. And don't get me wrong here, I have definitely been found guilty of eating a piece of chocolate cake in the name of self-care! (As long as it's organic and sugar-free right?!) But I just wanted to point out here that self-care doesn't always look like things that feel good or are convenient in the moment. It's not always convenient to take all of my supplements or drink green juice every morning, but it's what my body needs to function and to stay well, and those simple things are sometimes the best ways that we can take care of ourselves. Self-care isn't always nice and pretty looking. Sometimes it's grueling when you're fighting a chronic illness, but we resolve to keep doing it because we're fighting for our quality of life.
I also think it's really important to find balance in caring for ourselves and caring for others. It's important that in our efforts to practice self-care we don't become self-ish. And in our efforts to care for others we don't forget to care for ourselves. Balance is one of the most important things we can find in our journey to health wellness and as we strive for that we can find joy in our journey, no matter our circumstance.
Comment below what self-care looks like for you!
We live in a revolutionary period of time where a lot of judgment is placed on how we look.
Looking "picture perfect" on Facebook and Instagram.
Looking like we don't have any struggles when we really do.
Looking the way that everyone expects us to look, even if it makes us feel unnecessary pressure and undue stress.
I have always been a strong believer of waking up in the morning and looking the way that I WANT to feel. Not the way that I actually feel. I've done this from my teenage years, into my adult years, and it has helped me to feel confident in my own skin until I realized that when you have a chronic illness, most people don't believe you unless you "look" sick. What does "sick" look like anyway?
The bottom line is this: Just because somebody looks like they have it all together, doesn't mean that they aren't having deep trials and tribulations of their own. I have spent EXORBITANT amounts of time looking "sick" because I didn't have a choice. But on the days that I do have a choice, I choose to look as strong and healthy as I can because it makes me feel better when I take care of myself. So... it's important that we always strive to be KIND. You never know the invisible battles that someone is fighting every day, and when it comes down to it, how we look on the outside is never as important as how we look on the inside.
God knows our hearts, and we can seek to know the hearts of others as well if we live our lives in LOVE instead of in LOOKS.
Comment below if anyone has ever said "well you don't LOOK sick!" to you and how it made you feel!
Almost everyone I know who has a chronic illness has at one point or another been accused of looking for attention. I really think the only way that you can avoid being accused of attention seeking through your illness is if you never talk about your illness, EVER. For me, the problem is that it's not possible to never mention Lyme disease because it takes up such a large portion of my life! I talk about chronic illness the same way any other young person would talk about work or school, because it's such a part of me, and it's a full-time job to manage.
I can't help but laugh every time someone says that "I must love attention" because first of all, who in their right mind would love attention so much that they would make up a disease to get it? Second of all, most people don't even believe that Lyme disease is a real disease. So if I was really looking for attention, wouldn't I choose a method that is a little more effective? (P.S. I really don't like being the center of attention anyway.)
Here's the bottom line: I have been to places that a lot of people can't comprehend. I've experienced such darkness, pain, and isolation, that it grieves me to think that anybody else would have to suffer through this alone. For that reason, I choose to share my story and talk about what I've been through because greater love and understanding for this community of people could possibly change the world for the better. I've developed such a passion for raising awareness because NOBODY deserves to be alone in this fight. My illness has nothing to do with my desire (or lack of desire) for attention. It has everything to do with reaching for the hands that hand down in despair, and hoping that I can play a part in lifting them out of the darkness.
Comment below if you have ever been accused of attention seeking because of your illness, and why you choose to share your story!
I felt like this chronic illness truth was extremely necessary after the past month for me!
When you're in the fire at the moment, it's incredibly difficult to remember this and it's something that I think we all need to be reminded of. I often feel broken, exhausted, and worn down as I fight every day for my quality of life. It's easy to assume and wonder if I'm just weak and maybe I don't have what it takes to handle this trial. Lyme disease and other chronic illnesses DESTROY lives and it's our job to make sure that we don't let it, and that we continue to fight the good fight. That fight is a CONSTANT battle that can be overwhelming and intense.
I believe that it's so important to remember that as chronic illness warriors, we are living on levels of pain that the average person doesn't, and that is a massive victory for each of us. We are strong, beautiful, and capable people. Just because we have different challenges and disabilities, does not mean that we are useless or of no worth. Chronically ill people are some of the strongest and most beautiful people I know because we are laced with depth and drenched in compassion. We love deeply, and it takes everything we have to maintain faith and hope and yet we manage.
Each and every chronic illness warrior is a survivor and that is something to be astounded and amazed at. I for one am thankful for the strength that is demonstrated by those who are constantly in the fire but choose not to give up. No matter what anyone says, and no matter how anybody treats you differently because of your illness, always remember that YOU ARE A WARRIOR.
Comment below if you needed to be remined of this and if you've ever felt weak and useless because of your illness! Remember that you are not and you can do it!