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My New Year's Resolutions With Chronic Illness

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It’s very difficult to realize that it’s almost 2022. And of course, with that comes the tradition of selecting a few—or maybe just one—New Years’s resolutions.

As someone with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) and a few other co-morbid conditions, thinking about how the next year will go seems a bit of an uphill climb, to be perfectly frank.

With chronic conditions, you’re never sure when your next flare will be, your next hospitalization or emergency department visit and other anxieties that many others simply never even have to consider. It can be exhausting and daunting.

However, I hope to provide you with just a handful of the resolutions I’ve created for myself to pursue in 2022. I’m never one for much rigorous holding myself to a particular standard so for me, these will involve more encouragement and affirmations. Life is too short to hold oneself to self-set rules anyway!

  • This year, I choose to be more kind to myself, despite whatever circumstances I’m undergoing.

I struggle with this a great deal, since kindness to self seems so difficult since I know all of my own mistakes and live with their consequences. That being said, my therapist has been working with me quite a bit on this… and I’ve been daily encouraged similar by my partner and fiancée, so it’s my main goal for 2022.

  • This year I will be patient with myself and allow myself to take extra time as I need it.

Patience is a virtue I daily strive to work on. Chronic illnesses can tend to slow us down in their own unique and challenging ways. We all simply deserve more patience, both with ourselves and others.

  • This year I will share my needs with my family and whatever I’m comfortable sharing about my experiences with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, as I have need.

This is more personal to me, as I tend to keep whatever I’m struggling with the most as close to my heart and my inner circle of friends as I can. Sometimes, though, family can surprise you with their supportiveness. It’s up to you if you’re willing and able to educate or explain intimate details with them, but sometimes it’s worth opening up, provided you are safe and have healthy boundaries.

  • I am worth treating myself to something I want. Not everything has to be for things I need.

Being a young adult in the world often means stumbling into situations where emergency savings are necessary. If you have the privilege to spend a little on yourself, I can’t recommend it enough. Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and other disabilities can be quite expensive, but you are allowed.

  • Stick to the advice of the proper doctors, physical therapists and specialists.

Chronic illness comes with its own grab bag of doctors—both good and bad and everyone else in between. I’ll be the first to admit I’ve had quite a few bad ones, so that tends to make me less than trustworthy of those I should trust. However, even sometimes with good doctors it’s difficult to listen to their advice. If you have good doctors, listen to them! And if you don’t and have the privilege to do so, find new ones. You deserve proper care.

  • Live within the moment.

It’s hard to stay focused on the moment when you’re being pulled in, out and around by my pain (and sometimes my joints too…which tend to go out more than I do…just some EDS humor for ya!) But it’s incredibly important to enjoy as much of every moment as you can. You never know which one will be your last.

  • What others think of me is not my business.

People are judgmental, and oftentimes, their judgment can be very hurtful when directed toward those of us with disabilities, regardless of our diagnoses. This year, I’m challenging myself to be far less concerned with what others think about me, and instead to concentrate on the positive, enlightened energies that I can put out into the world instead.

I hope that moving into the next year, you allow yourself to feel all the feelings that you need to while also taking care of yourself and looking ahead into the excitement of the future. You are valid, worthy and loved.

Getty image by franz12

Originally published: December 21, 2021
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