When the Good Days With Your Illness Come
We forget to talk of the good days when we speak about chronic pain. The days the pills for your depression actually work. When you leave the house without even thinking, and are so productive, you can’t even believe it. When you do something physical you haven’t been able to do for awhile. When your insides feel calmer, less stressed. When you see a friend without stressing about all the tiny details beforehand. When you get a good nights sleep.
Those moments when your heart feels so full and you feel so much self-love. When you feel strong, like you’re able to keep going. It’s a feeling of so much self-accomplishment, pride, pure, utter joy. Joy you made it through another day and that today, things feel easier. Good choices came naturally. You ticked everything off your list.
You feel like you again. You know, the you that existed before the pain began. The you that was once an 18-year-old in countries you couldn’t speak the language of, the you that stayed up until 6 a.m. dancing, drinking, smiling and engaging with friends without any problems. The you that knew there would be no consequences of doing what young people do. You can sleep until mid-day no problem and get up and go straight into work like you had 12 hours of sleep. You can rush into work, excited to see friends and your work family. The days when happiness, adventures and freedom ruled your world.
Well you know what, I am a better, more compassionate person now. I am stronger, wiser, braver than the “before” me. I am more willing to feel uncomfortable, more willing to make mistakes and own up to them. I am more likely to look at the consequences of my actions and adjust my decisions. I know what values are important for me to live my life. I know what I am willing to stand for. I am kinder, more open, more sympathetic to what people go through. I am more confident and I believe in myself. I know I’ll be OK, it’s just a period in my life that is teaching me lessons. It’s an awkward period of growth.
I don’t take my health for granted anymore. I look after my body and embrace it for what it can do, not what it looks like. Sure I’ve got a few rolls here and there, but I get stronger every day. Sure, I don’t get to wear high heels or the latest fashion, but I get to wear sweaters, tights and beanies. That is every girl’s dream. I don’t wear makeup as much. This is my face and I’m proud of all my imperfections. I let my hair be wavy and natural. I like that it’s messy and chaotic, it suits me. I trust in people and in the world more. I make more of an effort with my friends and family. I tell everyone I love them as often as I can.
Most importantly, I am grateful. And I really believe this is the most difficult thing I have had to learn. To be comfortable being vulnerable and loving openly. To never take your friends and family for granted. To tell them you love them often. To be grateful for the smallest of every day ordinary things. A cup of tea, a tough, real, honest conversation, meeting a stranger, a hot cup of coffee in the morning, laughter, a still, wintery warm day.
A day where I can walk, a morning when I get to go to physiologist and I feel strong. When I can ride my bike into the city or ride to the beach. A hug from someone I adore, a phone call with old friends, a Skype date with my brother, sister or overseas friend. A long shower, a good book, a beautiful sunny day, a swim in the ocean. Yoga, meditation, a new sweater. The constant love and support I get from those around me. A night of mischief with friends, a few too many glasses of wine, having time to learn languages, having time to focus on writing and my creative passions and lastly, my partner.
The one who has loved me for all my bruises, my scars, tears, hard lessons we’ve both learned, his unconditional love. His kindness on my worst days, his need to understand and help whenever he can. His encouragement and pep talks, constantly listening to the harshest of truths. His bravery and his strength whilst struggling to support me and look after himself too. His trips with me to hospital, to a billion appointments, for walks through the burbs, for every night he stayed in to help me recover, for carrying me in between the couch and the bed and outside on nice days. My wonderful man has made it all worth it and loved me throughout it all.
Some days are worth celebrating. These things make it all worthwhile, it has made me who I am and I will forever grateful to have learned as much as I have. Keep going pain warriors, it’s worth it. One day at a time. Anyone who is battling anything, or watching someone they love go through it, you are a bad ass. Keep doing you!
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Thinkstock photo via Sonya_illustration