Everyone with a chronic illness is a chronic illness warrior. Remember the day you were diagnosed? Do you remember the mixed feelings you had about your diagnosis? Do you remember feeling relieved to have answers and upset that you have to deal with being sick for the rest of your life? Do you remember feeling scared; yet happy to know it all was not inside of your head?
Of course you remember and that day you were diagnosed, was also the day you set forth on a journey. This journey wasn’t your typical journey; it was a mission. A mission where you became a chronic illness warrior. As you became this warrior, you learned a few things along the line that you hope sharing with others will make things easier for them and their warrior mission.
If you are new to your journey of being a chronic illness warrior here are some things others before you have learned that could help you. This isn’t just for the newly diagnosed either; seasoned warriors might find this useful as well.
On The Topic of Junk Food
Say good-bye to sugary cereal, chocolate, and other junk foods. Modifying your eating habits will play a role in how you feel. When you are sick it is true, you are what you eat, and if you eat a bunch of bad foods, you’re going to feel worse. Is it fair that food affects those who are sick differently than whose who aren’t ill? Of course, it is not fair, but forget about others. Be selfish. You deserve to be that way.
On The Topic of Suffering
Being ill isn’t easy. It takes work, everything from getting out of bed to doctors appointments to flares to medications can all take a toll on someone battling an illness. So, remember that it is okay to be selfish and take care of you. Don’t be afraid to talk about your illness too. Your advocacy can and will help others who are suffering.
On the Topic of Respect
Just because you feel like crap, you do not have a license to be a jerk. Everyone deserves to be respected and just because you are cranky doesn’t mean you need to take it out on your loved ones. You might not be able to control how your illness affects you, but you can have control over how you respond to your illness. Accept your illness for what it is. Denial has a tendency to compound the problem and make people grouch and in turn, causes them to be mean. Do not be that person. Respect yourself and others.
On the Topic of Self-Love
Also, there is nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to your illness. Everyone has things they don’t like about themselves, and that is okay. You are tougher than you think. You deserve great things in life. Embrace yourself with self-love, and you will shine as a person despite your challenges. You get out what you put into this world, so practice self-love, and you will get love back. Hold yourself accountable. You are a good person.
On the Topic of Advocacy
Not only is it important to be your own advocate, but it is also important you have loved ones who can help you advocate. Do not be afraid. Ask questions. Demand answers. Network with others who have your illness and compare notes. Do not be ashamed of your illness get empowered to advocate and get the answers you need for relief.
After it’s all said and done, remember that you are worth the fight. Everyone deserves happiness, kindness, and love, including you. Your illness doesn’t define you. You decide who you are and you can get ahead by taking control of your illness. Practice healthy habits, self-love, advocacy, respect and stop the suffering now.
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