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10 Things I'm Really Good at Thanks to My Chronic Illnesses

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Chronic headaches and narcolepsy have taught me a lot. Sleeping, staying in and modeling sweatpants are just a few of them. Thanks to my chronic illnesses, I’m really good at:

1. Sleeping

My spirit animal is a sloth. My favorite position is horizontal under my covers. And my favorite view is the one inside my eyelids.

2. Making plans and then canceling to stay in

Just because I hate doing it, doesn’t change the fact that I’m awesome at it. Sometimes I’m really really bummed that I can’t be out taking shots and dance-battling my friends on Friday nights. It’s pretty frustrating most times. However, I will admit that sometimes I’m happier with my “Friends” that show up when I turn on Netflix and my sidekick named Haagen-Dazs.

3. Collecting

I collect prescriptions, vitamins, test results and doctor business cards. I may or may not look like I run a pharmacy in my bedroom.

4. Talking

About anything — it doesn’t have to be health-related. I’m just really good at talking. But I do find myself talking in excess when explaining my chronic health issues to people who can’t relate. I’ve become really good at talking in front of groups, talking to strangers and talking when I can tell that the person listening wants me to stop. Hey, you asked, so I’m answering.

5. Showing compassion

Having endured years of chronic pain, health issues, emotional roller coaster rides, mental hardships and more, I find it really easy to feel compassion for other people and their journeys and struggles. I also just really like seeing people smile, so that’s more motivation.

6. Surprising people with my medical knowledge

With my unexpected knowledge of various medicines, methods, symptoms and diagnoses. What are the side effects of that anti-seizure medicine you ask? Oh don’t worry, I gotchu. What can I do for this kind of headache? I’m here to help! Need any OTC meds, ointments or vitamins? You’re welcome to browse my collection! But don’t worry, I promise I won’t walk in and pretend to be your doctor.

7. Enjoying time by myself

Because of how often I have to cancel plans or stay in and rest, I’ve learned how to truly enjoy and appreciate my own company. It actually kinda confuses me when people say they don’t like spending time alone. Like, I think I’m super cool, why wouldn’t I want to hangout with me?

8. Picking myself up after a fall

More often than not, I’m the only one who can get myself up again after I’ve taken a hard fall in my health journey. Everyone will fall down in life, but we only truly live when we’re getting back up again.

9. Managing pain

I don’t like to toot my own horn, but I’m pretty damn impressed by myself and my strength. Even when I’m smiling and laughing, there is some type of pain inside my skull either kicking my ass or just nagging me to pay attention to it. I have continued so many activities while enduring my worst-pain level headaches/migraines and I never know how I did it once it’s over.

10. Really enjoying life in all its beauty.

Life will never be full of only sunshine. There will be storms and we will get rained on. But each time the sun comes out, my smile gets brighter and my love for this world gets greater. Enjoying the simple things in life, putting more of my time toward seeing people who lift me up and doing more of what sets my soul on fire are all things I have seen myself get better at doing.

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Originally published: June 3, 2016
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