One of the biggest mental traps I fell into after being diagnosed with chronic illness was that life as I knew it was over. There was some truth to this. I was diagnosed with chronic illness about 20 years ago and my life has never been the same. But that doesn't mean I've let go of my hopes and dreams.
Life changes with chronic illness, sometimes drastically. There are new medications to take and treatments to undergo, an endless array of doctor appointments, too many sick days to count, changes in relationships with family and friends, managing your work or family life, and inevitably the circling cloud of depression. It can be a lot to handle for anyone. It was for me.
However, you don't have to allow chronic illness to steal your dreams, your aspirations, or prevent you from conquering the seemingly impossible. It's what Henry David Thoreau meant when he sought to "to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life". It's the stuff that makes you want to get out of bed in the morning. Without dreams, without goals, without desire, life becomes empty and meaningless. It isn't a glass half empty, it's just empty.
Self pity can be relentless. I've had more than my share of pity parties. It's okay to feel sorry for yourself and I believe that it's healthy and important to mourn your old self. The danger is if you wallow in it too long, it can steal your hopes and dreams, your reasons for living. It can make you feel helpless, as if nothing you do matters or will make a difference. This is a lie! Although your goals may change, you still have the ability to reach for your dreams. You are strong enough to cope with and overcome challenges that come your way. You still have the breath and gift of life. You can embrace the journey and the hand you've been dealt and live a happy and fulfilled life.
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