Look I know it sounds easier than it is to not create your own pity party and a black hole of emotions when dealing with Chronic pain. Who am I to judge? For so long I had my own head down and constantly though to my self, why me?
I have also had unhelpful people tell me to just “be happy” or offer not so useful advice like “You should try Yoga.” These people are not illmannered or bad people, they just don’t get it. The reason why these suggestions aren’t useful is that people cannot understand chronic illness unless they’ve gone through it– and if you have gone through it you know a one-off yoga session aint helping.
Chronic illness is no joke, it’s exhausting, and it affects every part of your beingness– which is what I think most people forget.
Your symptoms start to stack, and they begin to weigh you down like a ton of bricks. Your anxieties also begin to build up which adds on more weight and makes you feel like giving up. The worst part is that as a strong woman you know that your responsibilities are not going anywhere and that you have to work harder at being positive because you are the one holding it all together.
The silver lying to this negative rant is that along the way I’ve learned that even in the worst of situations there is a lesson to be learned. There is no right way to deal with these realities, but the things that help me be the best version of myself is to find support and positivity every day and to just simply chill out!
1. Finding Positivity
I begin my mornings by taking a moment to remember that I am alive! I’m still here, and I am beating my chronic illness by enjoying my life every day. I thank the universe for allowing me to open my eyes and I try my hardest to laugh, joke, smile, be happy, and enjoy life as much as I can everyday. At the end of my day, I try to find one reason why today was a blessing and why I was thankful to enjoy another day on earth. These daily reflections keep me more positive and force me to dwell less on the things that use to bog me down.
Staying positive also makes me feel better; Stress and anxiety are huge triggers for many chronic illnesses. I know when my stress/anxiety/depressions reach unhealthy levels because I go into a flare for a few days. I try to avoid these at the onset, but when I do feel these coming, I turn to my Endo sisters.
2. Seeking Support
Support, awareness, and education is the next important facet in coping and staying positive with chronic illness. Regardless if you are sick or someone close to you is, education is so important when needing to know how to cope with the process of illness physically and mentally as well as how to navigate all of the appointments and doctor visits that you will have to attend.
I have my own support group that I created for women who deal with Endometriosis, its called Endometriosis and Me. I always encourage people to advocate for themselves and be aware of the treatments, surgeries, and other information available to make an educated decision about their healthcare plan.
Knowledge is an empowering band that I feel is missing in many patients journeys. I have come across thousands of stories where patients have not been provided with all of the choices that could treat them. The most obvious one is cannabis.
3. Chill Out with Cannabis
Cannabis is another great outlet that I use to help me stay positive, and it is also an incredibly underutilized treatment. Cannabis is also under-researched; there is a lack of information about it and doctors are just not considering cannabis as an effective treatment for many illnesses. I can attest to the medical and therapeutic benefits of cannabis. It also just helps me chill out, laugh and sleep– which are all vital parts of the healing process.
Don’t be afraid to ask about getting your medical marijuana prescription, my friends at MMC help me and provide education to my endo sisters and me when we’re unsure about dosage or form. MMC makes the process painless, educational and helpful. MMC has minimal paperwork and doesn’t require you to consult with your general practitioner.
The bottom line is, it takes so much energy to be angry at the world constantly. I also had my pity party (for years) — so you are not alone. I was only able to finally move past my self-deprecating negativity by changing my outlook on life and using my unique situation to better others.
If you are someone who is comfortable telling your story about a chronic illness I urge you to do it. Tons of illnesses need research, recognition and the world needs to be more educated. Don’t be afraid to speak up and raise awareness for your cause. There are tons of other women in the same boat as you that are looking to be helped or give help.
Remember, it’s easy for you to get the care you deserve; you just have to remember that you are worth it– and I am telling you…YOU ARE WORTH IT!