Even When Chronic Illness Makes It Difficult, We Need to Keep Trying
This week I started back at university.
It was one of the most anxious, most terrifying moments of my life.
I took some time off last semester due to a chronic fatigue flare-up. My life was put on hold, taking the time to rest and try to get back to a point of management. Then by the time I knew it, it was time to go back. I wanted to get back into it, I was willing to give it a go, regardless of what that looked like one unit, part-time or full-time.
Re-entering a world where I feel like I’m been thrown in the deep end, new content to take in, in a sea full of faces I don’t know and voices of others saying:
“You’ll be fine.”
“You’ll make friends.”
“This is you we’re talking about.”
The only way I can sum up my experiences so far of uni is like you are tossing an exhausted extrovert in the deep end with no floaties, with all the pressure and expectations that comes with uni and the clouded mindset of, “You’ll be fine.”
I totally get the concept of trying to think positive and not letting fear conquer you, but even after trying, when every anxiety and fear become reality and you are left feeling absolutely crushed, alone and freaking out, my only mentality is, “I want to quit.”
But going back this week, I forget how much energy everything takes, mentally, emotionally, socially, physically, everything… and it’s only day two.
I don’t think I’ve ever cried so much on the train home after hitting a wall.
It’s odd, even in these moments, how we forget our limits whilst remaining to have the courage to step out and try. We forget that trying to take steps is awesome, encouraging and worth celebrating, even when it results in us falling in a heap, your body crashing and crying out that we wish we just want to be like everyone else.
But what does that even mean anymore? To be like everyone else?
Even in the midst of how I am feeling right now, writing this from my bed. My weak, hurting and exhausted body just wants to say, “I quit.” I encourage you and I not to give up. At some point in our live’s we will be put to the test, struggle, fall, and have to fight for something. Regardless of if that is the result of illness or just doing everyday life. We will all have moments where we will fall and need to get back up again.
Regardless if you’re at a point where you’re bed-ridden and getting up is your goal, or if you’re just taking it day by day having a crack at working or studying. Fellow friend and warrior, let’s remember to stop, celebrate and not feel like we are drowning and defined by what feels like that our life and we are a complete failure and bogged down in our illness. Be encouraged that we weren’t created to be superheroes. It’s OK to try and fall, but with falling, never be afraid to get back up and try and try again.
Remember trying is not a reminder or concept of failure or weakness. Trying takes a butt-load of courage and strength, and regardless of what the end result may be, remember to try and try again.
I know I constantly have to remind myself of this every single day of my life.
But in the midst of the daily battle and fight please don’t quit, please don’t give up.
We are in this together, regardless if you’re journeying closely with your friends or if you are reading this article now from where you are. You’re not alone.
Hang in there.
If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “HOME” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.
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