Accepting Your Chronic Illness
First off I want to say sorry for being absent for a little while! The holidays got busy, and then I went on a vacation, and I’m still trying to get back into my routine at home. So I’ll be trying to keep to my schedule again!
I find that one of the most important things you can do for yourself as a person with a chronic illness is to accept it. Personally, it took me a few months of crying daily and Googling everything I possibly could about AS in order for me to come to a place of acceptance. I know for others it can take much longer, or much shorter, everyone is different in their journey.
Something I often talk about is how important it is to be self-aware. Whether you have depression, diabetes, arthritis, anxiety, or any type of health issue. Back when I first became depressed, I tried to run from it for years. I told myself that I didn’t need help and I could handle it on my own, I don’t need someone else’s advice. As I thought that, over the years it started to build up more and more until I finally accepted that maybe I did need help. The things I used to do to make myself feel better weren’t working anymore, and life just became too much for me to handle. The best thing I could have done for myself was ask for help. I know it’s scary, but it’s 100% worth it.
So in the context of AS or any chronic illness, it’s so important to just accept it. Be aware that you have it, and that sadly, it’s not going to go away. Once you do that, life gets A LOT easier. Trust me.
Before I came to accept myself as a newly sick person, I was living in fear. Fear of what would happen to me, how people would see me, what my friends and family would think of me, etc. Fear is a big part of getting diagnosed with a lifelong illness. I can say that it never totally goes away, but once you do your research, and connect with people either in support groups or online, it becomes a lot easier to deal with.
Once you start doing your research, you can find an exercise plan, a diet plan, and make schedules for yourself. This stuff isn’t easy, and I still haven’t completely found a set schedule for myself yet. I’ve talked about it before, but the fatigue is the real kicker for me, it sets me back a lot, and on most days I still get frustrated and wonder how I’m going to live my life like this forever.
Finding in person or online communities is so important for your health and mental well being. I can’t tell you how amazing and included it makes you feel to find people that are going through exactly what you are, and are dealing with what you deal with on a daily basis. For example, the Instagram chronic illness community is an amazing thing to be a part of. I’ve made tons of connections and new friends through Instagram and it makes it so much easier when a bad pain or mental day does happen. There’s always different perspectives and advice to be given because these people go through exactly what I go through. It’s incredibly freeing to be able to talk about my day to day chronic pain struggles and actually be understood.
Once I accepted that I have AS, and I have it for life, a whole new world opened up. One that was accepting, loving, understanding, and forgiving of myself as a human being. Having AS has made me realize that I am strong, and I go through what I go through because this is what the universe wants for me. I started TotallyChronic to be that voice in the darkness for someone who needs it, and I hope to be part of the support system for someone that needs it when they think they’ve hit rock bottom, because I know I did, and I was totally wrong.