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When Your 'New Normal' With Chronic Illness Feels Not So Normal

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If I could go back and tell myself one thing when I first got sick, it would be to find a new normal. And to try and accept the new normal.

Sleeping all the time? That’s OK, that’s your new normal.

Can’t walk without limping? That’s OK, it’s just a new normal.

Using a wheelchair? New normal.

Recently I was told to look into a new disorder as a possible answer. I wasn’t phased at all, started doing research, and then it dawned on me… after almost three years of constantly being sick, this is my normal. And I’m OK with that.

So if you’re just getting sick or are struggling with something, find a new normal. Don’t forget the old one, but try not to expect your body to be capable of it. It’s impossible when everything changes, especially when that change is drastic, healthy-to-sick in a short time. I could have never imagined three years ago my normal would involve researching rare diseases and administering meds through a feeding tube… but it does. My normal is not what I would have wished it to be, but it is one where I can live and thrive and be happy. “Normal” is after all, a very relative term.

And if your new “normal” feels not so normal at all, remember you are not alone. And remember that things do get better.

After all, I’m certainly still here.

The Mighty is asking its readers the following: If you could go back to the day you (or a loved one) got a diagnosis, what would you tell yourself? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Originally published: April 30, 2016
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