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Activating Your Chronic Illness Superpowers During COVID-19

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The ground beneath your feet has fallen away.

The proverbial rug has been pulled out from underneath you.

These are moves you never saw coming, turning life as you knew it completely on its head.

This has likely not just happened once, or twice, but countless times since you’ve been diagnosed with your chronic illness.

Dare I say it, this is your new “normal,” and you’ve gotten pretty good at dancing on the shifting carpet.

Adaptable. Courageous. Brave. Resilient. Determined. Inspirational.

You are these words and so much more.

So I ask you, can you use your inner superpowers to be a beacon of hope to others during this COVID-19 crisis?

Can you share your story in a way that connects with people experiencing a situation you know oh-so-well, if only by a different name/disease/diagnosis?

Imagine what you can do in this space. How you can serve. How you can inspire hope and help to crowd out the fear. How you can help people to feel less alone in their struggles.

Many people aren’t sick and yet their entire world has collapsed.

Rug pulled out; ground disappeared beneath their feet.

The dark fear cloud has rolled in, blanketing out all rational thought and causing people to respond and make decisions in ways that their logical self will look back in more settled times and think “seriously?!”

A ripple effect of challenges that continues to fan out … physical, emotional, financial, spiritual, mental … there isn’t a one you haven’t already intimately danced with a thousand times over before COVID-19.

A banner promoting The Mighty's new Navigating Coronavirus Together group on The Mighty mobile app. The banner reads, Want to connect with others who are managing their health during the pandemic? Join Navigating Coronavirus Together now. Click to join.

Most likely, COVID-19 has pushed you into the dance again, because there are real implications for you living with existing chronic health challenges.

Remember, you already have the tools to bounce forward and rise that much faster. And help many others along the way.

You know what it’s like to try to cling to one’s old life when the wheel of change just seems to spin faster and get more out of control. To get caught up in “I wish things would get back to normal,” because at least that version of reality seemed stable and you knew how to deal with it vs. the current out of control events.

You know what it’s like to get angry; to cry at the injustice and unfairness of it all; grieve that which is lost in the past, present and future; to spend hours and days wishing for a return to normalcy that will never come, at least not in the form you remember it to be.

You know what it’s like to finally lean in, to accept, to decide to make the most from the roll of the dice you have thrown and put your problem-solving hat on.

To quote Robin Sharma:
“We grow so much stronger and resilient along the way. Inner strength and personal toughness are traits forged in hard conditions.”  

We tap into our inner superpowers. We stop living life on autopilot, stop staying in the “safe” zone, stop doing things we “should” do and instead start to take risks, embrace uncertainty, become brave and bold and connect to what is truly important.

Adapt. Pivot. Reframe. Navigate the new norm. Redefine the boundaries. Strategize and execute Plan A, B, C, D… whatever you need to do to move forward.

You understand isolation well. It’s been an interwoven piece of your life for so long. Partying in your pjs was a concept that you essentially invented and made cool.

You know what it’s like to be cautiously optimistic as the curve starts to flatten, to breathe in the feeling of hope that surely things are on the upper… only to crash back down to earth when a flare/relapse/second wave occurs.

You’ve found a way to stay connected, even whilst socially distanced, forging relationships and sparking conversations online with people around the globe.

You’ve transitioned to more flexible, online income streams that work with your circumstances.

You’ve found your voice and know how to advocate for yourself fiercely.

The list goes on.

I’ve said it before — you’ve done it all before COVID-19 burst onto the scene and disrupted the world.

You know how to deal with unprecedented stress, to survive, and even more, to thrive again.

If mastery of a skill is putting in a minimum of 10,000 hours then you are already there. Which means you have something of incredible value to offer the world.

  • What can you share with others to help them navigate this uncharted territory?
  • How have you bounced forward from adversity?
  • How do you choose to remain positive?
  • How can you simply be there for someone who is struggling right now?

Irony, silver lining, unexpected blessing, whatever you want to call it, chronic illness has prepared you for this very moment with a unique set of gifts and skills.

It’s your time to shine. To be someone’s beacon of hope, their superhero, during COVID-19 (and beyond)!

You’ve got this!

Getty image by Lyubov Ivanova

Originally published: October 16, 2020
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