Finding the positives
Living with chronic illness
It is not always easy to stay positive amid dealing with life. Everyone has a story that is running through their head. We all have things about ourselves that we are not happy with and want to change. Maybe it is losing a few pounds or asking for that raise. For me, it is regaining my ability to walk, regain balance and proprioception, lowering my pain without increasing opioid medications, and being able to take care of and enjoying my family. When my life changed almost four years ago because of an Incomplete Spinal Cord injury, Chiari Malformation and Allodynia everything seemed hopeless for a time. But I was quickly reminded that although tragedy happens there are many positives all around us if you look the people and beauty around you.
One of the hardest things I deal with is pain. Chronic pain interferes with life on so many levels. It zaps my joy and energy. Physically it makes it hard to want to move let alone get out and do any physical activity. For me, the sensation that the skin on my torso is being stretched to the maximum and then ripped apart is enough to drive me crazy. Then my legs decide they want to burn like you have been bit by a thousand fire ants. Dealing with this daily is unbearable at times. It causes me to feel down and causes my anxiety to rise.
I have sat and cried out, asking, why do I have to keep hurting so much? On many occasions I have felt like I cannot take much more. It is difficult to find anything positive when you hurt, yet I know there is so much to be thankful for. Being chronically ill makes doing many things more difficult and scarier at times. Just getting myself bathed, dressed, and ready for the day drains me when my pain is at a 5 or more. So, the thought of going out to the grocery store or a movie is daunting. Heck just walking around the block is often difficult.
Yet, opening my eyes every day is a blessing. It means I get to have another day to enjoy my family to the best of my ability. I may not be able to run and play tag with the grandkids, nor can I play catch with them. Standing and making a meal for my family can be daunting and taxing on most days. But I have found that I can still play a board game, do a puzzle, or teach my grandkids to paint and create things. Best of all I can certainly love them. Of course, there is so much more that I can do.
Even so, it often gets lost in the frustration of living with chronic illness and pain. For me it takes deliberate thoughts of hope and continuing to have faith to keep me on the right track. Without faith you cannot have hope and without hope we get stuck and cannot move forward. Living with any type of chronic illness can drag you down, cause you to lose hope, leaving us felling like it will never get better. For me, I find that I have more difficulty controlling my pain and spasticity when I allow the negatives to take over. This is not to say that there are not real reasons for increased pain and spasticity, but our minds are powerful. The power of positive thinking is a good habit to get into, but that alone will not bring your goals to fruition.
Each day is an opportunity to "keep moving forward" and to seek out the positives in our lives. It may be difficult to see at times but taking the time to stop and deliberately seek out the good can help push us forward. Living in chronic pain can rob us of the precious moments, but we can seize the good even amidst the pain and tell a better story.
About the Creator
Almost 4 years ago, my life changed when I became disabled because of an Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury and Chiari Malformation. I continue to navigate life with chronic pain while regaining self-confidence and learning to be me again.
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