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9 Positives That Have Come From My Battle With Illness

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This month marks my second year out of employment due to illness, and I must admit it has made me reflective upon what could have been. Life has not been without its hurdles, some thrown cruelly my way though unrelated to my own personal health. But that is not what I wish to focus on. Although it seems a little PMA (positive mental attitude – something I usually have trouble maintaining as a staunch realist), these are the things I have learned.

1. Find a good doctor – and keep them. When I first met my current GP we didn’t seem to “click” and argued over many things (more on this later). I decided I no longer wished to see the doctor in question and requested an appointment with anyone but him. At the desk, the practice healthcare assistant picked up that I was unhappy and said she would speak to him. I reluctantly made an appointment for the next week with said GP, aired my concerns and was met with nothing but kindness and compassion from him. I can honestly say that since that day we have had a mutual respect and an excellent patient-doctor relationship. I truly believe our initial differences have made our understanding of each other better than they ever could have been. All this is owed to the healthcare assistant who went above and beyond.

2. I am no longer afraid to speak my mind. As I said above, had I been afraid to speak my mind, I would have never ended up with such a good patient-doctor relationship. This also applies to other aspects of my life. Having the realization that I am physically unable to please everyone 100 percent of the time and gaining the confidence to speak out when I feel that something is unjust are things I would have never have dreamed of prior to my illness.

3. I know exactly who I am as a person. Having spent many days alone with time to reflect upon life, the universe and everything, I have come to know my own brain very well. I have flaws, but that’s OK. I have come to terms that sometimes I can be irrational, moody and generally unpleasant to be around. I also know that the love I have in my heart is bottomless, my views of the world are uninfluenced by others and I am strong.

4. I have learned to accept help. As many of us know, physical illnesses can go hand-in-hand with mental illnesses. It has taken me a long time to accept that this is not something I have to deal with on my own (see point #1!). It does not make me weak or less of a person.

5. When you get your meds right it is like a gift from heaven. Alongside my practitioner, I have finally found the right combination of medication to enable me to live a more fulfilling life. The road getting there was not easy, and this may not be my combination forever, but the times I wake up in the morning feeling normal feel so much sweeter than the days when I took them for granted.

6. I know what I want to achieve from life. Having a break from the working world, I have been able to reassess my career choices. I have recently completed a course in a field I would absolutely never have even considered prior to my contact with the world of healthcare. I will not go on to earn the salary of a city banker, nor do I wish to. Happiness is the most important thing to me, and having the time to consider what I really want to achieve has proven priceless.

7. I am closer to my friends and family than I have ever been. As soon as I became unwell and lacked the “party girl” demeanor I once had, many friends somewhat fell to the wayside. At the time this was upsetting, however, I have come to the realization that the friends who remained (even just on the end of the phone) are the real gems. I have been incredibly lucky to have such a supportive family network and partner. The things they have done for me and the love they have shown me can never be repaid.

8. It has made me and my partner almost unbreakable. Life can be cruel – it can take and take with no remorse. The things my partner and I have been through have enabled us to cope with almost anything thrown at us. I don’t wear make-up as often as I used to and my hair can be a mess, but he still comes home every night and looks at me like I am the most beautiful woman in the world. Bearing in mind that we were only four months into our relationship when I had to quit work, I’d like to think that it’s a sign of good things coming.

9. I know I have been incredibly lucky. I fully appreciate the time and effort others have put into my care. I have witnessed the kindness and goodness of others first-hand. It has given me hope, and I am currently applying for part-time employment. We all need to spread a little love and happiness – you never know the difference it may make in someone else’s day.

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Image via Thinkstock.

Originally published: January 13, 2017
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