Please welcome Sandy from Fighting Fatigue to the blog –
As someone who has suffered from chronic illness for almost 20 years, I know firsthand how difficult it can be to maintain a positive attitude while sick. But in order to survive, and because my illnesses are “chronic”, never going away, I have had to learn how to deal, adjust and cope despite multiple health problems.
I have been sick with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia and Interstitial Cystitis for most of my adult life. Being afflicted with just one of these illnesses can be disabling, but put all three together and life can be pretty miserable at times. I have had to give up my career due to my illnesses, but I refuse to let that stop me. Even though I am sick, I do not use that as an excuse to give up on life. I may not be able to do the things I once did, with the same energy and focus, but I am still alive and each day is a gift and I’m grateful to be alive.
I have seen too many people who are sick just give up and not try. I know that being chronically ill takes a toll on a person’s body physically and emotionally. But there are ways to keep from getting depressed and from living in the “pity party” mode 24 hours a day. I don’t want this to sound as though I think I’m better than anyone else who is chronically ill because I’m not. It has taken years of my own pity parties, depression, and mastering coping skills to get to where I am today. I still have times where I think “Why me? Why can’t I go and work like everyone else?” but I only allow myself a five-minute pity party and then I move on.
Here are some coping skills that I have learned over the years to help deal with being chronically ill and in chronic pain:
– Keep a journal and write in it daily what you are grateful for. I call this my “gratitude journal”. Even though I might wake up and not be able to do anything other than wash my hair, I record that I am grateful that I was able to do that small task. It helps through the difficult times and it makes you realize that even though things may be bad, there are still positive spins you can put on each situation.
– When you feel like complaining, smile! A lot of people are usually amazed when they find out how many health problems I have because I try not to let it show. When I am very miserable I am not able to be out in public, but I never feel good – ever. But I always try to keep a smile on my face because smiling just makes everything seem better.
– Read positive, uplifting books. I have found this to be especially helpful. When I start to feel a little down or depressed, I will go to my small library and choose a book that has inspirational sayings or quotes and I will read those until I feel better.
– Instead of becoming a victim of “poor me”, become a victor and learn from your experiences, grow and help others. I have used my struggles with chronic illness as a positive in my life by starting my Fighting Fatigue website and my Fighting Fatigue Forum to offer support and resources for others suffering from chronic illness. When we first become ill with a chronic illness, we feel as though we are alone. It’s important to have people to talk to who can share what you are going through.
– Never give up hope! One thing that keeps me going is believing that there will be a cure found for the chronic illnesses I suffer from. I always have hope and when you have hope everything looks brighter.
Sandy Robinson is 38, Female, live in the Northeast, married with a 6-year-old beautiful son. Sandy started the Fighting Fatigue website to help raise awareness and offer support to others for the chronic illnesses I Sandy personally suffers from: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, and Interstitial Cystitis.
Sandy also runs the Fighting Fatigue Forum and Message Boards for chronic illness sufferers to support each other about what they are going through.
Thanks for a fantastic post Sandy. All of us can benefit from the coping skills you mention. Please check out her website and message boards and if you know anyone suffering a chronic illness be sure to point them in that direction.
And remember, you can get out of your niche too – all bloggers are welcome. Just contact me.