The Mighty Logo

The Promises I Made That Will Help Me Put My Health First This Year

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Recently I had a conversation with someone who struggles with a different autoimmune disease. She expressed that sometimes reading what I write helped her feel less alone and more like someone can kind of gets it. Not every fight is the same, that is for sure — but knowing when you’re in a fight, and someone else is too, offers you some sort of comfort. I remember reading the words of quite a few people when I felt lost, and learning a way back to where I needed to be.

Being in pain is hard. Not understanding what to do about that pain is even harder. There are times when everything is going right, then all of a sudden it’s all wrong and you are struggling to breathe. It doesn’t happen all the time, but it does happen often enough for me to mention it. There are times when you feel like you have done nothing wrong, but still struggle to get through what would be a normal day for anyone else.

When you are a mother and a wife it is hard, too. There are things that feel like they come before your illness. People. Appointments. Life. You compare yourself to the mother you were before the diagnosis and for me, sometimes it’s actually something I can’t get from under.

Sometimes there are things that should take precedence, and that is a decision each person needs to learn on their own. For me, it’s my daughter. I try to go to everything I can for her — regardless of how I feel or what I need. She knows that and appreciates that I care enough to put her first, even though she gets mad at me because she wants me to rest.

When you work full time, it’s hard. At one point I had pushed myself to the point of exhaustion, and it made me really sick. I want people to understand that work is work — it can be there, or it can not. Your life is so much more important than any job ever could be. It is really difficult to grasp that concept, but when I sat with an IV in my hand it became very clear. I can’t ever do that again, I can’t ever work myself into sickness (not that anyone ever asked me to, but sometimes it just happens), and I can’t ignore the signs that I am falling into that place again.

Time is very important. Narrowing out a bit of time for yourself, whether it is to sit someplace else, go outside, take a walk, stop and breathe — you need to choose you. Even that small gesture shows your mind and your heart that you are important. That your health, and the space they exist in, is not only important but necessary. Who is going to treat you like you’re important, like you matter, if you can’t carve out time to take care of yourself?

I promised myself in the new year to breathe fresh air every day. Even today, in the snow, I went out to see, and feel and “breathe” — if that’s what you can call it. I promised myself I would write more and try to care less. I also promised to love others, and myself, more fully. I promised to let go of things that aren’t good for me, and to hold to to those that are with all my might. I promised to try harder, to love stronger, and to never let go. I promised not to let it win, and to do the things that make me happy, no matter what they may be.

I made these promises to myself, and now to you. I hope you made some promises you intend to keep.

Getty image by amoklv

Originally published: January 6, 2018
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home