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Surviving May Be a Daily Challenge, but It’s Also a Daily Victory

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When you’re living with a health condition, some days surviving will feel like the only thing you can do. Those days may make you feel disappointed in yourself, especially if you wish you were more productive or able to focus on other aspects of your life, but survival can be one of the most underrated victories in life with a health condition, and it’s about time we recognize it.

You may have moments when you’re fighting for your life, wondering if you can get through life-threatening health complications and make it to the other side. You may think back to times when your survival was at stake and wish you could focus on anything else as you move toward new treatments, surgeries and procedures. If you’ve faced a life-or-death situation in your medical life, whether or not it’s left you with a loss of function or a long list of medical complications, the fact you survived is worthy of celebration. Your body summoned all of its strength to get you to this point, so even if you wish it could do more after everything you’ve been through, you are conquering life.

You may have days when you feel disconnected from your body and mind — when it feels surreal they function the way they do. You may wish you could step out of your body or brain and into one that isn’t so complicated, especially if you long for a time before you were disabled or a life you’ve never had because of your health condition. You may feel like you’re dissociating to get through each day, and in moments when you’re a bit more grounded, you may feel sad or angry that this body will remain with you for life and you can’t experience the physical or mental sensations you believe will fulfill you. At the end of those days when you feel like you’re stumbling through life or wishing your health were different, though, remember you survived a hard day — and not every day going forward might be so difficult.

You may face times when your mind convinces you the world is better off without you or that you can no longer survive life’s trials and tribulations. Your thoughts may have such a hold on you that you genuinely believe life is no longer worth living, and in those moments, living and breathing may physically pain you. You may wonder how you can possibly survive the rest of your life when your mind, body and spirit feel exhausted, and as you fight your own mind, you may also berate yourself for not being more productive. But no matter what, your decision to take life one second at a time until it no longer feels so heavy is one of your biggest successes, whether you recognize it or not. Someday, you may even celebrate your survival and remind yourself how far you’ve come.

If you live with a health condition, surviving may seem like an everyday challenge, but it can also be one of the biggest victories in your medical life. No matter if you’re currently surviving physical complications, mental illness or your complicated relationship with your health condition, celebrating making it through your lowest moments can show you just how far you’ve come.

Unsplash image by Tamara Bellis

Originally published: September 23, 2021
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