Do Not Lose Sight Of The Joys In Your Life
Q. I just heard on the news about Peter Jennings’ death. Everyone was saying how brave he was up until the end. I can’t help thinking that those with chronic illnesses are considered whiners and complainers. Is this the way we are thought of to others? And then today, Dana Reeves announced she was just diagnosed with lung cancer. The Television speaks of how brave she has been. My family doesn’t think of me as brave. I guess it makes me feel bad that because although I have don’t have a life threatening illness, my illness is invisible.
Rose: Interesting observation, and a frustrating feeling, isn’t it? Chronic illness can be invisible to others. And dealing with illness can be a lonely struggle. It is human nature to question that which one cannot see. It is almost as if our vision of something confirms its truth. This is a reality we cannot change. But what we can change, is how we view things deep inside ourselves.
Instead of seeing yourself as others view you, perhaps it is time to shift your sights on how you see yourself. Do you view yourself as a chronic complainer? Do you see life in a negative light because of your illness? Is that negative energy draining not only from your life, but possibly the lives of those around you?
It’s time to see your life in a different way, a sort of paradigm shift. What I mean is, it’s time to see the “flip side” of your illness. Do you have a family? Children? A partner? A home? A pet? Do you wake up in the morning and see the sunshine? Or do you concentrate on the chance of rain?
On Maturity & Respecting Your Energy
Whether sick or well every human being comes to a point in their life where they no longer weigh heavily what other people think. Some call it maturity. To a certain extent chronic illness speeds up this process. We must take care of us. We must still love our families. We must exist and function. We must eat, sleep and clothe ourselves. And we can search for answers, and ask family members to help with this. But we cannot erode the relationships we have with them with consistent negativity and despair. And yet sometimes it becomes hard to think of our affect on others, we are so busy taking care of ourselves. It is a fine balance, isn’t it?
Yes, our pain is important. Yes, our discomfort can sometimes if not consistently be overwhelming. These do become some of our truths. But do not lose sight of the other truths in your life. The ones that make you smile and give you happiness. The ones that make a day a beautiful day. The ones that give you satisfaction for a job well done. It is all about finding a balance.
The media draws attention to famous people going through adversities. Their intent on doing this is to show us how these people deal with them. Famous people however are not in the same situations as most of us are. They have support from not only their friends and families but from the public. And they have resources that most of us don’t have. Don’t get fooled into thinking you should be handling things the same way, or become envious of all the energy that surrounds them. For most of us living in this world, we must create our own energy. And we do this by loving others, helping others, learning, and seeing the good things in our lives, no matter how bad the pain.
Chronic Illness Is Hidden
Chronic illness is invisible. Some of us have learned to use that to our advantage. For as you get further on your journey, you don’t want other people’s sympathy, you want their respect. As you get deeper into relationships with others, you can choose whether or not to reveal your illness to them. This is the flip side of the undiscernibility of chronic illness….you can pick and choose who to share it with. It isn’t so overt that you get comments and sympathy wherever you go.
What’s the most important, isn’t whether or not you think others respect you, its whether or not you respect yourself. You are walking down a path that many people do not reach until old age. You are brave. Your journey means giving up your old life and building a new one. You are learning how to cope with this. And as I have said so many times before, you are already far along on your journey. They will need your help and expertise from your experience, when they will undeniably someday start theirs.