The Process of Accepting My Chronic Illness

This week has been all about acceptance. Acceptance of my life now I have a chronic illness, acceptance that my old life is just a memory, acceptance that I will have good and bad days. Acceptance of just about bloody everything!

You see, acceptance is where you need to be with just about everything that happens in your life that you have no control over. For some that’s easy, but for a control freak like me, it’s bloody hard work.

But I’ve been here before thinking I’d finally gotten through the grief of my illness, but I get scared that it’s a false sense of security.

I’ve flared for three months. Its been hard going. (The trial drug I was on, I think has a lot to do with that.) But this week I’ve only had two days in bed out of seven, which is pretty good going for me. It feels really strange saying that two days in bed a week is a good thing…It really isn’t!

I’m sure that many of those of you that are healthy are thinking, “Jesus, I’d love two days in bed every week!” Trust me you wouldn’t. When I was working I used to think I’d love to be at home in bed watching crap daytime TV. But now I’d love to be at work, being the old me again. I’d give anything to go back to that life – even though I moaned constantly about it. The old saying, “You don’t know what you got till it’s gone,” is actually spot on!

How do you get to acceptance? Well, I clearly have no idea because if I did I would of got there a long time ago. But, what I do know is that I feel calm about it all. I can talk about it and not cry. Someone once told me, Once you can tell your story and not cry, you’re over it.” So maybe this means I’m finally “over it.” Maybe it just means that because I’m finally getting some “good” days I’m feeling like I can handle more mentally.

I sat and chatted to my husband last night. We talked about all we have, rather than the crap we’ve had for the last six years. That regardless of what’s been thrown at us both, we are still here, fighting, pushing forward everyday and trying our hardest to have a “normal” life despite his mental health and my chronic illnesses. We can’t change what’s happened to us. But he said something really profound to me, and I can’t stop thinking about it.

He said, “In a way I’m glad I have bipolar. Don’t get me wrong, I’d not have it in a heartbeat, but I feel like it’s made me the person I am. I’m a lot more compassionate and a better, more understanding person for having bipolar. Its given me resilience. Everything happens for a reason. Maybe I was given bipolar for a reason that we don’t know of yet, but what will be, will be.”

Wow. That smacked me in the chops a bit. Why can’t I look at my illness like that? When did he get so wise about his condition? When did he get to acceptance? If he is there, why aren’t I?

Taking a step back and seeing the bigger picture, if I hadn’t of fallen ill, I would still be in the job I’d always done. I would of been to scared to leave. I would never of started blogging. I wouldn’t of realized how much I love writing and I wouldn’t of helped the people I have so far who also struggle with this rare illness. I’ve also massively changed as a person, for the better I think. I’m still determined to raise awareness about this condition and for chronic illness in general…Maybe that was my calling, who knows. But, I’m going to try and take the rough with the smooth and accept my new life. I am determined to make this into a positive.

After all, what will be, will be!

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