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9 Positive Aspects of Living With Chronic Illness

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The list of things that can go wrong when you have any disability is beyond long. Here are 10 positives that can come from our struggling. After spending my entire childhood and adulthood in and out the hospital, I’ve learned a few bits of wisdom at a young age.

1. Stillness. I’ve learned to be still in all sorts of situations. What’s important is that I’ve learned to stop and observe my surroundings. I’ve learned to observe people, and I learned to talk to myself. I don’t always need input, I just enjoy the quite within.

2. I tend to not dwell on time. While it is easy to focus on time lost due to chronic health issues, I’ve also learned to not focus too far ahead, and not to dwell too deeply in the past. I’ve learned to appreciate small moments of joy, a smile or kindness from a stranger.

3. I learned to laugh. Of course laugh, but most importantly at myself. Knowing that life is short and fragile, I don’t always take myself so seriously.

4. Social norms fly out the window. After being poked and prodded, naked and helpless, I tend not to care about social faux pas. Messed up eyeliner? So what. I’ve realize I am far from perfect, and have no expectations for others to be perfect either.

5. Empathy. Because I have been through the ringer a time or two, I am able to relate to others’ struggling in ways some may not. I’ve learned to understand others’ pain, because I too have pain.

6. Disabled parking. OK, I said it. It’s a super nice feature.

7. Adventurous in nature. While the world of health care may weigh me down, I tend to want to try new things. I know all too well that the next day may be too hard to get out of bed. Now, the ability to be adventurous may be something entirely different.

8. The will to live is strong within me. While I may feel like everything is a battle, even the simplest of tasks, my will to live is out of this world. I may be a three-legged turtle with one eye, but I’ll be damned if I don’t want to live. That is why I make sure to take care of myself, advocate and maintain all my visits and surgeries.

9. Friends in odd places. Because I spend a lot of time with the doctors, hospitals, home health, ERs and support groups, I tend to make friends in the weirdest of situations. It may be depressing that an ER knows me on a first name basis, but it’s also super comforting to have an alley when things are at their worst.

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Photo via paperteacup on Getty Images

Originally published: January 12, 2018
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