The Mighty Logo

Learning to Accept the Limitations That Have Come With My Chronic Illness

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Sometimes I have felt like my disease is taking over. When I first was in the midst of getting diagnosed, my life consisted of doctors, tests, procedures and medications. I was in a constant state of physical pain, confusion and hopelessness. It was a dark time.

Now things have slowly changed in some ways.  I am going to school. It is really hard but I am doing it. I have a lot of good things going for me. Still though, when it’s night and the pain has gotten worse throughout the day, I find myself feeling like the disease is taking over. Sometimes I feel I have lost myself with this disease. The reality is I haven’t. I have lost the ability to do a lot of things, yes, but I haven’t lost who I am deep down.

It is hard to accept that I cannot do the things I used to do. For example, yesterday I went to the mall. It had been raining outside, was cold and was night. These three factors can affect my illness tremendously. I could barely walk around the mall. It was a struggle and more than anything it was a battle internally.

Learning my limits has been a difficult part of dealing with a chronic illness, especially when you have a progressive disease. It is a necessary part though. I have to learn what I can do and when I need to take a break. As I mentioned in a blog post before, self-care is a necessary part of my journey.

Doing something fun is an important part of self-care as well. It is so easy to get caught up with doctor appointments, medications and procedures that I can forget to have fun. Doing something enjoyable helps when I feel like I am drowning from the illness. Doing something enjoyable for me means playing the guitar, watching a movie, reading a funny book and talking with a friend. It is important for me to have these moments, because for a couple hours I am not focusing on the pain but on the joy and the simple things of life. It’s a nice distraction. So when I feel my illness is taking over I try to do these things.

Honestly there are times I can’t and the best I can do is lay down with my heating pad. That is OK. Being gentle with myself has been essential. Finding some happiness amidst the sadness is what I try to do. It is OK to feel my feelings, to fight, to feel joy, to feel sadness. When I acknowledge that I am feeling these things it helps me not feel as alone. Chronic illness can be very lonely. The acceptance part is hard, and I have fought it kicking and screaming. Today I have accepted that I have this chronic illness and with that acceptance there is freedom.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Photo via patronestaff on Getty Images

Originally published: January 23, 2018
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home