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The 20 Life Lessons Chronic Illness Has Taught Me

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While I don’t consider myself to be an expert in chronic illness I can acknowledge the fact that living with multiple chronic conditions has taught me a lot. Today I share with you the most prominent lessons chronic illness has taught me.

Lesson #1: Trust your body (and listen to it)! If this means having to keep a symptom journal, do it. The most seemingly insignificant thing your body feels can become extremely important to a doctor.

Lesson #2: Establish a trusted network of friends and physicians.

Lesson #3: It’s OK to spend all day in your bed when your body and mind won’t let you face the world.

Lesson #4: Lesson #3 becomes no longer valid when you can’t remember the last time you bathed, ate a proper meal or had human interaction.

Lesson #5: It’s OK to start crying sometimes for no apparent reason.

Lesson #6: Always try to follow a crying session with a good dose of laughter to balance things out.

Lesson #7: Always know your limits! Don’t let anyone else or your own stubbornness convince you to extend beyond them.

Lesson #8: Ask for help when needed, and don’t see this as defeat.

Lesson #9: Know that you are not a failure and you didn’t choose this path. But you are capable and strong.

Lesson #10: Try out natural remedies, such as diet change, and give them a solid attempt before passing judgment.

Lesson #11: Always remember to take your medication (even if you are having a “good” day)! You may quickly realize how it was your medication in the first place allowing you that privilege.

Lesson #12: Don’t take people’s comments to heart. When they say things like, “It could be worse,” they aren’t being insensitive on purpose. Just remember it can be hard for healthy family and friends to know the right words to say.

Lesson #13: Don’t ever let your recovery be hijacked because of your guilt.

Lesson #14: It’s OK to grieve the life you once had.

Lesson #15: Never grieve for long though, and hold on to the hope of the new life you are going to make.

Lesson #16: Choose your battles! Don’t waste precious energy on things that don’t serve your health or make you happy.

Lesson #17: Find suitable hobbies that engage you and keep your mind active.

Lesson #18: Never compare your worst to someone else’s. We only can feel what we have personality experienced, and it’s OK to not always remember that it could be worse.

Lesson #19: Cherish the healthy moments, but don’t go over-doing them (unless it’s totally worth the three-day recovery needed afterwards).

Lesson #20: Make as many happy moments as physically possible and record them (on paper, on the camera). I don’t mind being the friend who always takes photos and has a selfie stick in my bag because it means on the hard days I have some awesome memories to look back on.

Follow this journey here.

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Thinkstock image by agsandrew

Originally published: December 23, 2016
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