These Things Are OK When You're Chronically Ill

As someone with a chronic illness, I’ve had to learn to accept the new me. I’m not the strong, proud, independent person I used to be. I now rely on others more than I care to admit, even to myself. I also have to seriously limit my activities and expectations. I’m still trying to accept this, but I am learning… slowly.

Here’s what I’ve learned…

1. It’s OK to say “I can’t do it” and “I need help.” Those who truly love you and are dedicated to you will be ready and willing to help. They will not love you any less for needing them. It doesn’t make you less of a person to need help. Everyone needs help sometimes. We, as spoonies, just need help more often.

2. When I’m feeling my worst physically, I get into a funk of feeling bad for myself because I can’t always do what I need to do. I’ve gotten very depressed from losing my independence and I’ve even started to think that my family would be better off without me. Luckily, I don’t stay in that ugly place for too long. I let myself have a good cry, then I pick myself up and get on with life. Everyone needs a good cry sometimes. It’s actually quite refreshing. Seriously, try it sometime.

3. When I’m pressured by friends and family to do certain things like attend events, do more with my children, or to “be positive,” I’ve learned that it’s OK to just say no and not feel bad about it. I don’t feel the need to explain myself anymore. I simply answer that I am just not feeling up to it right now and they will have to just deal with it. I do what I can when I can and when I can’t, that’s OK too.

4. It’s OK that my laundry isn’t always done and my house isn’t always clean. It’s OK that we often order takeout because I’m too sick and/or weak to cook dinner. I usually feel like a failure when these things don’t get done, but I’m learning that it’s OK.

5. I am not helping anyone by pushing myself too hard, because it actually makes me worse. I’m still learning this hard lesson, but it’s OK. I’m accepting my limitations and I’m admitting defeat by my disease. It’s not always a bad thing to give in. We spoonies have to accept our limitations and it’s OK!

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

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 reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

Follow this journey on Surviving As Mom.

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