How It's Been Helpful to Think About Life With Chronic Illness in Terms of Resources
I’ve often heard people lamenting the things they took for granted before becoming chronically ill. It honestly feels cliche to say it, but I’m guilty of that too. Before becoming ill I dreaded things that now I savor: cooking, cleaning, showering and exercising to name a few.
Over the last several years I’ve learned to think about my life in terms of resources. When I see my friends starting families or achieving career milestones it’s helpful to remember that they are working with more resources than I am. When I find myself feeling jealous that my husband can clean the whole main floor of our house in one go, I remind myself that he is working with more resources than me. When a certain level of activity leaves me exhausted, sometimes for days afterwards, and those around me breeze through it like it’s nothing, I call to mind the fact that they simply started with far more resources than I did.
This mindset works for adding resources too. It can feel incredibly tiresome to go to half a dozen doctors of all different specialties but the truth is each of those doctors act as additional resources in my arsenal. Similarly, I used to be resistant of pharmaceuticals but now I can see that each medication is a tool towards a better quality of life. Support groups, both online and in person, are also great resource generators. They provide a community of people who understand at least some of what I’m going through. They also have tons of information, whether it’s book recommendations or the latest research updates. For me, eating healthy, staying hydrated and maintaining a regular sleep schedule are also very important for making sure I have access to all available resources and tools.
Now here’s the trick: find ways to increase the width and depth of your resources. If your only doctor is your family physician then you might depend on them so much that if something changes, say they go on maternity leave, you feel alone in your struggle. Alternatively if you have a team of medical professionals helping you and, for whatever reason, you lose one of them, you’re still OK. Having a number of people in my life to talk to on my bad days helps to make sure no one person feels like they have the weight of the world on their shoulders. The more resources you have in your reach, the easier it will be to weather the bumps in the road, and we all know there are a lot of bumps.
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