Whether you are currently living with or are recovering from a chronic illness, it is only you who can decide where life will take you next.
Living with chronic illness can be a tough gig, and speaking from experience after having many of my own, such as Graves' disease, breast cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis, it can often feel like an uphill battle.
However, even though it feels this way, we often have more control over what happens next than we think, and it can be absolutely possible to bounce back stronger and healthier than you have ever been, both in body and in mind.
It poses the question of whether we will reflect on what went wrong and work at changing it, or whether we will blame it on bad genes or bad luck and bury our heads in the sand to try and forget. The latter is much easier, although is this really the best way forward?
In reality, as the well-known book written by Bessel Van Der Kolk informs us ‘The Body Keeps the Score’ and our past will always catch up with us one way or another. If we don’t look for and address the root cause of this dis-ease in the body, we will never completely heal.
It’s important to ask yourself these three questions…
Will I take this chance to delve deep into myself and find the cause of my dis-ease?
Will I take my opportunity to learn, grow, evolve, and change?
Will I see a glass half full not a glass half empty?
Bouncing back from chronic illness stronger than before can often mean that your life will look completely different from the life you once knew. Considering that something in our lives led us to this disease in the first place, I happen to believe this is definitely a good thing. Why would we want to return to a life that led us to a path of disease?
It is this uncomfortableness with change that stops us from learning about ourselves, making the necessary changes, and evolving, even when we know that change will make us a healthier and better version of ourselves.
Personally, for me, it was questions such as ‘What will my family and friends think?’ or ‘Will my friends accept the new me?’ And ‘What if this change is too hard to maintain and I fail, will I appear weak?’
Embracing change doesn’t have to mean you become a completely new person. It can though; completely change the way you view yourself and the world around you, leading you to become a better version of yourself.
Upon my own reflection, what I’ve come to realise is that it doesn’t matter what others think, what really matters is what we think of ourselves. Having the courage to dig deep into ourselves and taking those first steps to make changes no matter what the noise is around us is where the magic starts to happen. This is when we really start to heal from chronic illness.
What first step will you take to become a healthier version of yourself after chronic illness?