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When Chronic Illness Is Like Getting Caught in a Storm at Sea

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Imagine for a moment: You are on the ocean. There’s a huge storm surrounding you. This storm isn’t kidding either. It beckons irate waves high above your head. You are being hit from every side by the rough waters. The rain is battering down so hard it hurts your skin. You can hardly catch your breath. You ask yourself if this is the storm that will sink you.

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To make matters worse, you aren’t in a sturdy ship – you are on a rickety old raft. Your raft is barely held together by the makeshift repairs you’ve made over time. Still, you hold onto this raft; you refuse to sink.

This is what my experience with chronic illness is like. It’s constantly wondering when the next big “storm” will hit – oftentimes, fighting one battle after the next with no time to catch a breath. There are times I spend more days in the hospital than with friends. I see doctors in hopes they can offer help. Sometimes though it just reminds me that this doesn’t get better.

As a person with multiple chronic illnesses, I’m always adjusting to a “new normal.” Every time things seem to be under control, bam, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome might decide to take the wheel. Just like that there’s something new about my body I have to learn. Then, oh wait, dysautonomia wants a turn, but EDS isn’t done yet. Now a big storm is coming.

Anyone with chronic illness will tell you it’s overwhelming at times. You think about your various diagnoses and see waves that rise high over your head. In fact, overwhelming is an understatement. Chronic illness is a storm.

The honest truth is, on the hard days, it’s OK to say,”I don’t think I can do this.” Just don’t quit hanging on for dear life to your little raft. You take it one breath at a time. Don’t let yourself sink!

Thinkstock photo via Wyshe.

Originally published: September 15, 2017
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