Thursday, April 25, 2013

U...Unbreakable, Unshakable, Unstoppable You

Sometimes we get so caught up in how our chronic illness hinders our lives or has harmed us that we can’t see beyond all the negativity. Yes, our health problems have robbed us of so much and make our lives incredibly challenging. But I want you to set that all aside right now and consider how it has inadvertently made you stronger. So many people are ashamed to admit that they suffer from a chronic illness. They are afraid that others will assume that they’re weak and pathetic. In reality, though, chronic illness is never for the weak. Because we must come back fighting every single day, we grow stronger and better in spite of it.

Since I’ve been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I’ve noticed that my strength of will and determination have greatly increased. I decided early on that I wasn’t going to allow a chronic illness to ruin my life. I am far too young and I have too much potential to bow down to fibromyalgia. It would be so much easier to just stay in bed and not push through my symptoms. But what kind of life would that be? I don’t want to go to my grave knowing that I never really gave myself a chance to live.

Fibromyalgia has also made me a more caring and considerate person. With my health problems, I see every day just how difficult life can be and how much pain someone can be in while still looking normal. I can now truly understand other people’s pain and struggles. And now I have the desire, more than ever, to help people, especially those dealing with fibromyalgia and other invisible conditions.

The fact is life with a chronic illness is never going to be fun. We are forever going to wish that we could be well. However, we have a choice whether we will allow it to make us bitter and resentful or we will choose to let it make us a better person. I know it is difficult to focus on the positives in life when you’re constantly in pain. Believe me, I struggle with it as well. But I choose each day to make the most of the life I’ve been given. Sometimes that means taking a timeout, reassessing my reactions and attitudes, and then forcing myself to see beyond the negative. On my better days, this can take little effort. But on my worst days, it can be a constant battle.

Ultimately, it is up to you how much you allow your chronic illness to dictate your life. It may affect you in many ways, physically, mentally, and emotionally. But don’t allow it to steal your entire life. Reach for your dreams. Live hard. And enjoy the blessings of life.

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