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To My Fellow Chronic Warriors: Remember This If Illness Has Made You Feel 'Less Than'

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Whether you’re in pain day after day, too fatigued to join the land of the living or dealing with continuous insulin or multiple sclerosis injections, I’m talking to you. If you can’t support your own body through an errand, can’t seem to level out your thyroid or find yourself lost in a sea of no diagnosis, please hear me out.

Living a life of chronic illness may seem to strip away our outer personality, and leave a hardened shell of who we used to be. Walking these streets with a body that feels lifeless may make us think we’re less than our surroundings. We may find ourselves perseverating on what has been lost – our distant dreams and goals from our old lives.

But don’t forget – we are human. Our lives are intended to be rambling and complicated. We are capable of overcoming hurdles and finding a new path towards slightly altered dreams ahead. A life without struggle is a life without learning and growth.

If you’ve lived with chronic illness for some time now, you’ve likely noticed the hidden benefit of being able to see the sparkle in every day. Once you’ve lived with a body that dishes out pain and disorder, you learn to appreciate moments of peace. Maybe you noticed the perfect fall breeze blowing through your hair. Or your legs held up through an entire food shop. Or perhaps you’re stuck in traffic and instead of yelling at a stranger, you smile and take in the moment of peace. These are moments we can now appreciate; they were there all along, but we may not have seen them previously.

And always remember one thing: You’re worth it. You’re worth love. You’re worth happiness. You’re worth taking a chance on. As a partner, as a friend and as a family member. No one is perfect. If chronic illness is our “thing,” then let’s take advantage of what it has taught us on this long, winding journey. Take care of yourself the best way you know how, and teach others to see the simple beauties that lie in front of our eyes each and every day.

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Photo via jacoblund on Getty Images

Originally published: January 23, 2018
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