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9 Things I Do When My Illnesses Make Me Want to Scream

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Let’s face it. Chronic illness can be hard. It can also be annoying. Plus, it can wear you out when you’re trying to live your life and chase your dreams.

There are moments I really want to scream. I want to scream “Why me?” I want to scream “It’s not fair.” Especially when I feel like I’m doing every right and trying as hard as I can but things still aren’t going right — my body still isn’t cooperating with me. Which… happens a lot when you have a chronic illness.

And you know what? Sometimes, that’s what it takes to help me get through that moment. Occasionally it takes more than that moment. When I feel stuck in my emotions, I try to remind myself of things and do something.

1. I try to remember the influence of social and gender norms on my outlook and in life. A lot of this pressure I feel comes from that. I’m supposed to be a “productive” member of society who is supposed to say I’m fine even if I’m not. It’s a pressure we all feel, not just related to chronic illness. It feels heavier related to my chronic illness, but these are not the norms we have to live by.

2. Did someone say something to me? Made an ignorant or possibly hurtful comment? I try to educate the person instead of reacting harshly (which is what I typically did growing up). I also tell myself, Hey, you aren’t in elementary, middle or high school anymore. People aren’t as cruel — plus you don’t hear these comments on a regular basis anymore.

3. I remind myself that it isn’t about being better than everyone or being “extreme.”

4. Cry. Just as simple as that. I let it out. Crying is good for you.

5. Tell myself it’s OK to feel this way, but I need to pull myself out of it.

6. Is this happening a lot recently? Maybe I need to revisit counseling.

7. I engage in self-care depending on what I need. I aim to practice proactive self-care, but sometimes I need to go to town with it.

8. I let myself escape. If I’m not ready to process, I’ll hide in the pages of a book or watch my favorite movie. Maybe I need to just not think… so I’ll binge-watch a show. It’s OK to do this for a bit, but I need to make sure I’m not trying to run away from my emotions.

9. Back off from it. I’m not saying that I don’t take care of myself, but I don’t push myself so hard for a few hours or days — to manage my type 1 diabetes or try to find the right solution to my period issue for my polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis. (Can be easier said than done, but can also lead to a downhill spiral if I’m not careful.)

Maybe I can get out of the funk right away or maybe it takes a little longer. Some things work better than others. But! After I’m out of it, I feel even more ready to take on the world.

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Thinkstock photo by Grandfailure

Originally published: March 30, 2017
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