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Things I Cherish as a Person With a Chronic Illness

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I believe every day should be filled with gratitude for blessings both big and small. Living with a chronic illness can be challenging, so I like to focus on the blessings. Here’s a list of things I cherish as a chronically ill young woman:

I cherish the relationships in my life that allow me to be whole and completely me.

I cherish relationships where I am free to be open about my ideas, thoughts and feelings without fear of retribution.

I cherish friends who let me to say “I have a heart murmur” just as openly and freely as “I passed my class!” I can say “I’m seeing my therapist” just as openly as “I’m seeing my cardiologist” or “I was denied disability” just as openly as “I love you.”

I cherish the moments in life where I feel completely safe, completely whole, perfectly me and confident. I know those moments are worthy of being cherished because it doesn’t always happen to me. Right now, I’m so confident and so happy. I know it is something worth cherishing because bipolar doesn’t always agree with those feelings. It will tear down my confidence and self-esteem until I’m scrambling in the dark for a little ray of light. It will make me feel worthless, helpless, hopeless, unlovable and so much more. It will make me hate myself so much that I can’t even look at myself in the mirror. So I cherish the moments when I feel completely safe, completely whole, perfectly me and confident because it doesn’t last forever.

I cherish the times I have with those I love. I may be young, but I have seen a lot of heartache in my life from the loss of loved ones. I know the pain all too well. I know the pain of wanting so badly to see someone, just to hear their voices and knowing that for an unidentified amount of time you have to learn to live without them. It’s pain and pure agony, no matter how much faith you have. So I cherish the moments, whether good or bad, I have with those I love and care about.

I cherish my health. I live with a chronic illness. Every day my body is fighting a war it can’t win. After all, how can it win if it’s fighting against itself? So I cherish my health.

I cherish the days my body fights an infection and wins.

I cherish the days when my body stops and actually attacks the virus instead of itself.

I cherish my mental health and the fact that I have been able to fight my health with such faith and sense of direction.

I cherish my health and the fight that I am winning. 

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Image via Thinkstock Images

Originally published: November 10, 2016
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