Surviving & Thriving a Chronic Illness

by Krissy Ward

      Living with a chronic illness is no walk in the park. When you’re sick with a cold or the flu, you know that eventually, you’re going to get better and life goes back to normal. A chronic illness is very different. It’s 24/7 and most likely may never go away. You have to reframe and redirect your life and thoughts to support a different narrative. Here are some tips to not only help you live a better life with your chronic illness, but help you thrive.

⁃Check Your HeadSpace

     Just like a car needs regular check ups, tune ups and oil changes, our mental capacity needs the same attention. You have to take the time to evaluate what you’re feeling and why. Regularly, you have to go in and see what’s going on. You have to check to see if any gears have gotten loose up there. You may find that one of your gears have started to wobble. You have to go in your head and tighten that up.

⁃Let Go of Guilt

     Guilt is a silent side effect of living with a chronic illness. Being so low causes you to worry about things the average person don’t even consider. There are no concrete reasons we should feel guilty. Thoughts of being a burden or how we could have achieved more; canceling plans or maybe you’re unable to spend as much time with your kids. Let go of the guilt. Your illness is not your fault. Think about if the roles were reversed and how caring you would be to your partner if they were sick. You would not want them to feel guilty.

⁃Learn to Say “No”

     Learn to say no without explanation. Sometimes a no is just a no and it won’t be the end of the world. Learn to be okay with saying no.

⁃Be Kind to Your Mind

     Speak nicer words to yourself. We tend to be our toughest critic. Learn to talk to yourself the way you would talk to a friend or loved one.

⁃Ask for Help

    It is so much easier on our loved ones if we just ask for help every now and then. We stress ourselves out trying to do it all, inevitably causing ourselves more pain and problems. Learn to delegate and ask for help when you need it.

⁃Comparison is the Thief of Joy

    It’s hard not to look around and see life and your loved ones seemingly going through life  without a care while you may feel stagnant. Things happen in their own time and it’s different for everybody. Comparing your life to others is dangerous to your psyche.

⁃Realize that EVERYTHING is Funny…Eventually

     You have to be able to laugh at yourself when you’re constantly sick. If you don’t find ways to laugh, you will eventually go insane.

⁃Learn to be Selfish

     Get into the idea that self care isn’t selfish. When you’re on a plane, the flight attendant tells you that in case of an emergency, put your own mask on before assisting others. This applies in all aspects of your life.